At Procede Software, we recognize the important work our dealership customers, such as Roberts Truck Center, do to keep drivers and their vehicles on the road, and we’re proud and humbled to support them in that mission. It’s a driving force behind everything we do, and our customers see that manifest through our commitment to their success.
When the pandemic hit, and we were called upon to work in a very different way, the Procede team pivoted and prepared for a remote Excede DMS implementation at seven Roberts Truck Center locations across Texas and New Mexico. Our team partnered closely with the Roberts Truck Center team, virtually collaborating to ensure each location was ready for a successful go-live and could continue in their vital work of keeping truck drivers on the road.
A New, Model for Delivering “White Glove” Service
Over the years Procede has developed a comprehensive, “white-glove” implementation service model to ensure users are up-and-running on day one of go-live. The model consists of extensive, pre-implementation training delivered both virtually and in-person, as well as robust, onsite support throughout the actual go-live. The experienced team at Roberts Truck Center was completely aligned with these practices. They understood the importance of upfront training and were well on the way to seeing it through. Because of this, when the call was made to take the implementation remote, perhaps the biggest challenge both teams faced was how to compensate for having people onsite who could look over users’ shoulders, guide them, teach them shortcuts, and importantly, provide extra attention to people who were struggling.
Ultimately, we took a multi-pronged approach: in addition to regularly scheduled check-in calls that covered both pre-planned topics and allowed time for open questions, Procede team members were on the line at all times to troubleshoot in real time. As Allan R. Ash, President and Chief Operating Officer, Roberts Truck Center, puts it, “The Procede team was there every step of the way—albeit, in our case, remotely. We made arrangements for Procede personnel to have access to our employees’ computers and prepared our staff to work with the Procede team via telephone, instead of having them onsite and able to look over our shoulders.”
Further, Roberts assigned a subject matter expert from each of their departments who could answer questions directly or level them up to the Procede team. These people also stepped up to be our eyes and ears on the ground—looking out for users who were struggling and connecting them with Procede resources to get them on their feet.
Lessons Learned from a Remote Implementation
While we learned many lessons large and small throughout this process, there are a few key takeaways that are worth noting. First, it takes strong leadership on both sides to drive success. As Ash expressed—and I echo wholeheartedly—“Every DMS conversion requires strong leadership at the dealership. Daniel Bilson, our CFO took the lead for us at Roberts. He ensured our team’s communications were robust and ultimately deserves credit for a very successful implementation and conversion.”
Second, preparation is everything. From the outset of the engagement, long before we realized this would be an entirely remote installation, both teams were committed to advanced preparation. Over the years, Procede has finetuned a focused, pre-implementation educational process. As part of this, we provided Roberts with a “sandbox”—a fully functional, simulated environment where users can practice their usual daily activities. The Roberts Truck Center team, for their part, made sure their employees participated in training and used the sandbox to make sure they had the fundamental skills necessary to do their job as soon as the software went live.
As Ash describes it, “Having been a part of several DMS conversions in my career, I knew how important the training and setup would be to our ultimate success. We beat the drum loud and often regarding making sure all employees participated in the training provided and completed their assignments prior to conversion. Having a live sandbox/test database in which to work prior to going live was a major advantage and contributed heavily to our ultimate success.”
Third, communication is critical. From the get-go, the Procede Software team engaged the Roberts Truck Center team in discussions and planning. The decision to implement Excede DMS remotely was mutual, and everyone was aware that it meant doing things differently. Open, honest communication delivered via check-ins, and the willingness to hear feedback and make adjustments were critical to the success of the endeavor.
Success Powered by Partnership
Perhaps the biggest takeaway that we want to share is the fundamental power of partnership. It’s the underpinning of any successful relationship, and a foundational tool necessary for a positive outcome in any implementation, but particularly one that is wholly remote. The Procede team is committed to this endeavor, but without an equal commitment, trust and understanding from the entire Roberts Truck Center team, this would have been far more challenging. We have deep gratitude for their exceptional partnership at a time when the entire country was in need.
Further, we’re happy to report that thanks to this partnership with Roberts Truck Center and the leadership and commitment of the Procede team, we have established a model that will see us—and more importantly see our customers—through challenging times in the future. We are proud to be a part of this industry and humbled to be able to support in some small way the important work our dealership customers do in support of their customers, both fleets and individual drivers.
And while much has changed, one thing has not changed—our commitment to serving you. If there is anything you need, the committed, creative individuals that make up the Procede Software team stand ready to meet you where you are, to pivot where necessary, and to do whatever it takes to help your business succeed, so that your focus can remain on your business and your customers.