Month: September 2011

Paperless Contracts, Almost

At the conference this week, there was dinner conversation about the value of paper contracts for F&I products.   Provider Exchange Network will host forms for providers that do not have their own forms service.  We can also return images of the completed contracts – with signatures, where available.  I was encouraged to hear one of our larger customers declare that they don’t need paper.

As long as we receive the data and payment, that’s all we need.

This succinct formulation reminded me of Dr. Hammer’s pronouncement on accounts-payable matching – if supplies come in, and you need them, then pay the invoice.

Closer to home, it reminded me of my own experience with online credit.  When we rolled out the BMW InfoBahn, we wanted to receive credit application data – but not the faxed copies.  So, we arranged for the dealers to retain signed originals, subject to audit, for every application submitted online.

The car buyer will probably want a paper contract – to sign, for instance, where electronic signature is unavailable – but at least we can avoid mailing a copy to the provider.  Saving the rainforest, one ply at a time …

Providers Say No to Aggregation

My latest article is out in F&I Magazine, just in time for the VSCAC conference.  Thanks to Greg Arroyo for his fine editing.  The original “history and development of e-contracting” was not so pithy.  My thesis is that, while Dealer Track succeeded in driving dealers to a totally new process for online credit, this will not happen for F&I products.  With today’s technology, product providers do not need to participate in an aggregation portal.  Even the providers’ own portals are suboptimal, because they impose process change on the dealer.  The article gives additional reasons why providers won’t follow the Dealer Track model.

As I have written here before, the best place to present products is in a system that the dealer is already using.  Ideally, this means the DMS, but it could also include a menu or desking system.