Huron Tractor, founded in the 1960s, operates nine locations in Southwestern Ontario that market farm, turf, light construction and outdoor equipment. It enjoys over 50 percent market share for its lead product, large John Deere agricultural tractors, planters, combines and harvesters "the meat and potatoes of our business," noted General Manager Dave Fulton.
Huron Tractor has been a CDK Global dealer management system (DMS) customer for 33 years. As one of the first agriculture dealers to install the company's predecessor "green screen" system, it has used CDK's IntelliDealer™ DMS since 2005.
This product and its advantages have to be a core to any dealer planning to be more efficient and modern in its business practices going forward." - Dave Fulton
When Dave Fulton joined the company nearly five years ago, he, with an eye toward process improvement, surveyed various internal processes. "I looked at how we could maximize our use of IntelliDealer to streamline how we do business. We'd picked up some bad habits over time that were keeping us from using the system to its fullest," he recalled.
"For example," he said, "our payables processes had remained manual. Our manager would run checks, then staple checks to their respective invoices, which given the 700 to 800 vendor checks we process a month, consumed painstaking time," Fulton said. "Then she would send them upstairs to the executives' offices for their required two signatures before returning to her office, removing the staples from the checks and invoices, then filing the invoices and inserting checks into envelopes and then stamping each one. I knew there had to be a better way."
It was at this time that Huron Tractor's lead bank asked Fulton if he might be interested in setting up an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) process. Fulton told the banker he was, but said Huron Tractor's business system wasn't set up to take advantage of the convenience. Back at his office, Fulton called CDK to inquire further. "I was told it was indeed possible and CDK immediately began designing an EFT interface for us." he said.
This EFT feature is now available for all users of the CDK IntelliDealer DMS.
EFT's are accounts payable (A/P) payments made through an electronic means instead of printing a physical check. If the A/P EFT feature is activated, IntelliDealer now can be configured to generate an electronic file containing the EFT payment information in the format prescribed by their particular bank*. Once this interface is set up, the dealer simply transmits this file to their bank, which in turn will use the information contained in the file to electronically distribute the payments to the vendors.
When I look at quantifying savings from this investment, I know our return was about one year, given we're saving up to 600 stamps a month and eight to 10 hours of labor at $20 [CAD]. This product and its advantages have to be core to any dealer planning to be more efficient and modern in its business practices going forward."
Huron Tractor A/P now runs checks in two batches — one for vendors having opted into EFT payment, the other batch for those vendors who have opted out or wish to continue to receive payment via traditional paper checks. Fulton said over 80 percent of Huron Tractor's vendors have opted for EFT payment. "The system still gives us the flexibility to cut individual checks for those one-off occasions."
The EFT feature also includes the option to email vendors the details of the payment that will soon be deposited into their account. IntelliDealer supports several bank formats including the generic NACHA and CPA formats in the U.S. and Canada, respectively.
Huron Tractor uses the IntelliDealer EFT feature for direct payables for its employees' expense reimbursements. "We have over 200 employees who get expense checks, so we've set them up as vendors in our system for EFT as well," he said. For Huron Tractor, moving from old-school payables to modern EFT is part of its overall goal to be as paperless a business as possible. "EFT makes everything easier for us, and its optional automated reconciliation features save us time and trouble as well."
Top 3 reasons why Huron Tractor loves EFT: