As the CEO of Cumberland International Trucks, Terry Minor’s roots with Navistar run deep. He joined the company as a Parts Sales Manager in 2000, eventually working his way up to Vice President of Sales. In 2007, Navistar offered him the opportunity to purchase an International dealership in Nashville, and he leapt at the chance, renaming it Cumberland after the river that snakes through the Tennessee capital and as a nod to his own military roots. By focusing on customer centricity, transforming the organizational culture, and living the values of honor, readiness, victory, and loyalty, he has grown the business from a single dealership with 83 employees into a nine-location enterprise spanning multiple regions and employing nearly 400 people.
Transforming the Culture and Putting the Customer First
When Minor purchased Cumberland, he inherited a challenging, siloed culture, so his first point of order was to transform it into one driven by a core set of values, and most importantly, that put customers first. Minor explains, “Customers are the center of our universe. Everything we do centers around what is beneficial for them. We’ve worked hard to break down departmental silos and eliminate internal competition so we can work together effectively for the benefit of our customers.”
Minor describes his formula for bringing about this change by saying, “It’s no secret—I ask the team to represent our core values and live them daily. I set performance standards attached to those values and recognize and reward people internally every year based on the way they embody them. I put less focus on responsibility and more on accountability, and prioritize being transparent and direct, while of course, taking time to acknowledge and celebrate our successes.”
It’s clearly been a formula for success. Not only has Cumberland achieved explosive growth, both the organization and Minor have been recognized many times over with industry awards. Minor was named International Trucks North American Dealer of the Year in both 2018 and 2017, the only dealer to win back-to-back awards. He was also a 2019 ATD Dealer of the Year finalist.
Although Minor appreciates the awards, he takes far greater personal satisfaction from the success of his growing team. As part of succession planning activities, the organization prioritizes developing new leaders from within and preparing them to helm the dealership in the future. He has also made investing in leading-edge technology a priority, noting that it plays a critical role in attracting and retaining future leaders and servicing customers both now and in the future.
Implementing Excede, a Modern Dealer Management System
When Minor first took the helm at Cumberland, implementing a new DMS was another of his top priorities: “Our existing system was a single point of failure in our organization. It was very old and wasn’t designed to be broadly used across the organization, so information was siloed. People in each department knew their piece of the system, but it took months to train someone new, and only one person had a full understanding of how it worked.” In addition, the system was not fail-safe, and Minor had concerns that someone would make a fatal mistake.
“As I researched dealer management systems, Excede DMS was the most user-friendly and the most identifiable with what I saw as a modern enterprise resource planning system. It looked and felt like the software we were all familiar with in other areas of our lives, and at the time, that was a big differentiator. The other systems on the market felt like taking a step backward,” explained Minor. “Implementing Excede was one of the first big, material changes we made here at Cumberland, and it was instrumental in helping us come together as an organization.”
Transparency and Visibility Enables a Giant Leap Forward
By implementing Excede DMS, the Cumberland team was not only able to streamline processes, they also gained much-needed visibility into their business that enabled them to make more strategic decisions about how to run it most effectively. “Once we were through the learning curve, the biggest difference we saw was the transparency and visibility of the business,” explained Minor. “With Excede, we gained a much better understanding of our successes and opportunities, and this enabled us as an organization to take giant leaps forward in areas that needed our time and attention.”
Implementing Excede DMS has also had a significant impact on Minor’s ability to recruit new talent to his team and makes it easier for them to get up to speed: “Excede is so user friendly, I can put people to work after just a day, and I don’t have to worry about them making any fatal mistakes.”
Cumberland has grown considerably since the organization first implemented Excede in 2008, and with each new acquisition, Minor and team have been able to onboard the new branches seamlessly, because, as Minor explains, “Excede is designed to allow for growth.” He goes on to describe just how essential the software has become to the company, saying, “Excede is now core to our business—the business simply doesn’t function without it.”
Procede Software, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has also grown in that time frame, and the Cumberland team has played an important role in supporting that growth. Over the years, they have showcased Excede to prospective new users countless times—an effort that the Procede team is deeply appreciate of. As Minor explains, “I was the second International dealer to implement Excede, and the first exclusively International dealer. Many of the International dealers who have implemented Excede since then have come to Cumberland to view the software system in action.”
Minor is happy to report that although Procede has grown, their commitment to their customers has remained consistent, saying, “Both Procede Software and Cumberland have grown exponentially, but I appreciate that it still feels like a small company in interactions with the team. They still take a personal approach to the relationship, and that is important to me.”
The Value of Best-in-Class OEM Integration
One of the things that Minor values most about Excede DMS is the deep integration with Navistar: “Integration with Navistar is more than important—it’s a critical requirement in my world for the primary business systems to integrate with manufacturers and other essential third-party systems,” explains Minor. “With all the data tools the OEMs now have for everything from accounting to tracking customer satisfaction, they are not able to work with every provider to build integrations. Since Procede is a certified DMS provider for Navistar, Excede is fully integrated with their systems, and that provides a necessary competitive advantage.”
Looking ahead, Minor foresees the need for DMS providers to have even tighter integration with OEMs, saying, “Technology will play an even more critical role in the future of commercial vehicles. The industry is headed in a direction where massive amounts of data will need to be pushed back to the manufacturers, whether that’s information about the performance of the vehicle, service tickets, or for other reasons. Ultimately, OEMs, customers, fleets, and individual trucks are all going to need to communicate. Going forward, OEMs will want to work with partners who can change and adapt quickly to keep pace with that. In my opinion, Procede Software is doing a very good job of hearing and responding to that.”
A Winning Combination: Cutting-Edge Technology and Listening to Customers
Minor is excited about the future of the industry and the big changes that are on the horizon: “It’s an exciting time for our industry with all the new technology being brought to market. I recently had the opportunity to follow an autonomous truck as it drove through Tucson, and it presents an interesting way to address driver shortages. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds in terms of autonomous vehicles and electrification, but as I keep on eye to the future, I am balancing it with the needs and opportunities of the present.”
In closing, Minor talks about the alignment in values between Cumberland and Procede Software, particularly around customer centricity, saying, “First and foremost, Cumberland is focused on the customer, and I would put Procede Software in that category as well. They do a great job of listening to their customers and responding. That doesn’t mean they are able to deliver everything we ask for, when we ask for it, but I always know we’re being heard and that they are giving consideration to our input.
Minor concludes the conversation with this final thought, “Excede DMS is a comprehensive technology solution that significantly improves dealerships processes, makes it possible for them to identify opportunities to become more profitable, and enables them to be more customer-focused.”
For our part here at Procede, we admire Cumberland’s customer focus, and hold it up as an example in our own business. We’re also grateful for the kind words, but more importantly, for the partnership with an award-winning International Trucks dealer.