Introduction

The team at Amari Consulting just completed a successful development project with UniCarriers Americas Corporation and here’s a short story of what we managed to accomplish.

UniCarriers Americas manufactures a full array of engine & electric-powered forklifts. The company develops more than 300 forklift models to fulfill the manufacturing and warehousing needs of a wide range of industries, growing more than a billion in annual revenue.

UniCarriers Americas, with headquarters in Marengo, Illinois, also comprises a dealer network of more than 140 dealerships throughout North, Central and South America. UCA relies on this large network to make sales of its products and it needed an efficient platform to work with.

The Challenge

Due to the complex working relationship with its dealer networks, UniCarriers Americas needed a solution that streamlined the process. The solution had to aim for efficient communication with a large network of dealers while also providing sales and marketing tools to work with.

As Jay Omanson, the UCA Marketing Manager, put it: “We needed a centralized portal that could be used by our dealerships.” The portal needed to be easy-to-navigate as well as being relevant to their sales and marketing needs.

Information that needed to be disseminated included:

  • Product Information
  • Product Announcements
  • News & Updates 

During initial consultation meetings, our team at Amari Consulting suggested building a platform powered by a full range of tools, later named the ‘Toolbox’. As part of the project planning, a phased approach was chosen that would take place in incremental steps over three years.

The Process

A phased approach allowed us to first design the initial platform template then incrementally add new modules, enhancements, and innovations that make the Dealer Toolbox so great.

For the front-end design, we focused on simplicity and ease-of-use. During the development, we used CakePHP, Node.js, and HTML5 for frontend templating with custom CSS to match the aesthetics. Each of the additional modules serves to improve work efficiency and power the Toolbox.

Toolbox Modules

Memos — a communication tool used to reach dealerships when needed. All the relevant information can be easily delivered to multiple dealerships at once. For extra flexibility, administrators have the ability to pick and choose exactly who can receive memos.


Memos Format

Files — a region-based file management system that lets admins upload files directly to the portal, only to be accessed by users who are authorized to see the files. This tool can be used to access files relevant to promotions, sales policy, warranty, and more.

Files Module

Calendar — a calendar tool built into the portal where users can track upcoming events and training courses that they can register for. It’s closely tied into our next module:

Courses — UCA needed a registration tool for their upcoming training courses, and this tool allows them to get the registration information to its dealers, including courses, location, hotel accommodations, and shirt size — all in one central place.


Calendar Module

Sell and Spin — a competition for prizes featuring a dynamic leaderboard based on sales where users can track their orders and make assignments to generate points. The ease of use for both the admin users and dealerships is what makes this feature so nice, especially compared to previous competition setups.


Sell and Spin Leaderboards

Reports —  a tool that gives admins access to reports about users and a host of other metrics.

Leads  — using the Hubspot API to bring in the leads and delegate based on region. The board uses Kanban-style set up for easy management allowing users to view leads, access archive and track everything in one place. The tool collects basic personal information such as email, company, inquiry, lead source, and more.

Forms — allows UCA to collect rebate data information from all dealerships with a few clicks of a button. The data is stored and sent over to respective parties automatically making the process streamlined. Admins can view the responses and download them in CSV format.

Inventory upload — the dealers had a need to show other dealerships what inventory they had available. This tool helps get that information across to all dealers, thus increasing sales and positive communication between the different dealerships.

Inventory Module

SSO — there’s now a single sign-on platform for all UCA related logins. The benefits include better security and compliance, improved usability, productivity, user satisfaction, and lower IT costs thanks to simplicity.

Results

So what was the end result of our development?

Once we launched the Toolbox, it was embraced by the dealer network. Communication between UniCarriers corporate offices and its dealerships reached new levels of efficiency which lead to more satisfaction and better sales.

There was now a single, centralized platform for communication that essentially eliminated the inefficient email communication. With the whole process centralized, both sides saw better resource management as well as the decreased workload.