After completing an acquisition of three competitive dealerships in late 2015, Holt Ag Solutions upgraded its business system to the robust and feature-rich CDK IntelliDealer in the Cloud. As a result, business data flows smoothly among the stores and provides highly detailed performance reports to better control costs and improve operating reports, says Eric Williamson, vice president. In 2015, Williamson and some of his teammates began strategizing a friendly spin off from Holt of California, a Caterpillar dealership. Holt Ag Solutions would create new revenue opportunities for the parent company, HOC Holdings, in the farm-rich Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Holt Ag Solutions began by acquiring three agricultural equipment businesses in Merced, Modesto and Woodland. After migrating the stores' business systems to IntelliDealer, they were rebranded as Holt Ag Solutions locations and opened for business in January 2016
Holt Ag Solutions offers a wide variety of agricultural products. The company also sells and services an extensive selection of implements and work tools that further enhance customer equipment to meet a variety of agricultural applications.
Holt Ag Solutions acquired its Modesto store in 2011 and the Merced and Woodland locations in early 2015. That spring, the migration team evaluated IntelliDealer, which was already in use in Woodland. "We liked what we saw, and we started system conversions in late April," said Kim Lightfoot, strategic services manager.
At the time, both the Modesto and Merced locations operated on another business system independent of each other. "We knew that that platform was not what we wanted," said Williamson.
The migration team ran into unexpected challenges based on processes and procedures put in place by the Woodland store's previous data management.
IntelliDealer runs everything in our dealerships, and for the first time in five years, since we started this growth, I have all my businesses on one system. That's a huge plus, because never before could I get the true picture of inventory or parts or other key activities across all stores. ” - Eric Williamson, Vice President, Holt Ag Solutions
"A first step in systems migration is determining data quality and what data you want to appear in the new system," Lightfoot said. "In this situation, before any data could be migrated to Woodland, Woodland's original data had to be cleansed to address garbage data, errors, formatting issues, and problems that poor systems oversight in the store had created in both data quality and quantity. For a growing company like Holt Ag Solutions, standardizing the way data is entered and used is critical if the dealer also wants that information to be easily accessible, without data duplications, across multiple sites. That's essential for customer contact and marketing."
Once data cleansing was completed, data mapping from the other acquisitions systems into the clean and reformatted Woodland IntelliDealer system began. At this point, Holt Ag Solutions converted to IntelliDealer in the Cloud.
During the migrations, CDK support teams were on site and online to ensure that the company's 60 users would become familiar with and confident in using IntelliDealer.
Total migration was completed in about 90 days. "We wouldn't recommend that pace with so many system migrations," Lightfoot said, "but our objective was to be up and running with Holt Ag-branded locations on January 1, 2016."
"The Dashboard gives me snapshots of key indicators so I can manage our business more proactively, such as providing insight into inventory aging, dead stock and slow moving stock," he said.
IntelliDealer's deep reporting has eliminated the need for spreadsheets, printing, emailing and mailing of reports necessary on Holt's previous dealer business system. Because IntelliDealer features a built-in CRM, it also has eliminated data re-entry tasks and the potential for entry errors.
Pleased with how IntelliDealer in the Cloud has provided him with better management insight, Williamson is next going to use CDK Heavy Equipment's ID MobileAccess solution to bring similar advantages to Holt Ag Solutions' field technician services.