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Category Archive: NCM Associates

NCM Associates

By the Numbers: NCM Data Processing

NCM Associates is known for its industry-leading composites and Benchmark data. But those numbers don’t just crunch themselves! Our Data Processing team works tirelessly to ensure that NCM’s clients get the best possible analytics to make their business decisions. It’s also one of the key reasons our clients trust us—we don’t outsource their data; everything is managed in-house.

Whether entering operational data—sometimes even keying numbers by hand—or verifying benchmark results, this nine-member team makes sure it all happens accurately and on-time. Get to know this unsung NCM hero with the infographic below.


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Alissa Bridges

The Automotive Life: From Ford Kid to NCM 20 Groups

Wedding (2)

Friends as close as family – My Ford family came in from all over the country to celebrate my wedding day in July.

By the time I was 15-years-old, I had called eight different cities (a total of two countries and five states, but who’s keeping track?) home. As I started each new school (three elementary, two middle, and two high schools—but again, who’s keeping track?) and teachers and fellow students learned my moving history, I was always asked, “Are you a military kid?”

My response always took them by surprise. “Nope, I’m a Ford kid.”

Ford Kid

Well, a Ford Motor Credit Company kid, to be exact. My dad started with the company in 1983 and still works for Ford today. It’s through him that my affinity for the franchise took root when I was young, first learning to identify and associate the blue oval logo with him. I visited him in the offices he worked in and over time asked questions about what he did and how it all connected to the Ford dealers, both locally and nationally.

When I started driving, my nickname jokingly went from “Ford kid” to “Ford princess” among friends since I was lucky enough to call quite a few cars “mine.” I showed off the features the different cars had and offered “test drives” to anyone interested. (Not surprisingly, the Mustangs received the most interest in this opportunity.) If anyone had a question about purchasing or leasing a car, I would pass them onto my dad, who in turn directed them to the best dealer based on what they needed.

Ford Family

As time went on, Ford started to create more than just business opportunities for my family because of the places we lived and the people we met. When we lived near others with a Ford connection, kids quickly became as close as siblings, and adults became surrogate parents. Our extended Ford family got together for nightly dinners over summers, celebrated holidays and personal milestones together, and provided an extra support system during tough times. This relationship continued even when moves took us other places. Thanks to cell phones and social media, we all continue to stay in contact on a near-daily basis. I can say that Ford turned into more than just the company my dad works for and into a force that helped shaped who I am today.

My extended Ford family encompasses Ford dealerships and their employees, such as the General Sales Manager at Walker Ford in Clearwater, Fla. Already a friend of the family, he heard about an accident that totaled my car and knew that I wouldn’t want to deal with a full-on search for a new car. He worked with me to find out what car model I was interested in, the color and other details. Less than five days later, I was on my way to the dealership to pick up the car he found for me and fill out the paperwork. At my wedding in July, I told him that it’s still the perfect car.

20 Group Families

Given my background, I suppose that it’s no big surprise that I wound up working for the automotive industry, in a round-about way. During my time with NCM, I’ve learned that our 20 Groups have the same family mentality that I have with Ford.

Twenty group members don’t just meet three times per year to discuss best practices and leave it at that; they are there for each other every day. Members offer advice based on their own experiences with DMS changes and training processes, support and coach one another up during tough times in their markets, and celebrate each other’s successes. They also send out words of encouragement and prayers during personal times, such as when Hurricane Matthew evacuations caused dealerships along the East Coast to close down for the storm.

The reason that I feel so at home at NCM is, just like with my Ford family, the NCM family of employees, 20 Group members, and moderators are all here to help each other succeed.

Are you going to NADA in January? Visit us at Booth #4931 to find out how you can become a part of the NCM 20 Group family.

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: What’s the hardest job at the dealership?

Salesperson? GM? Dealer? What’s the most difficult job in the dealership? Robin Cunningham’s answer might surprise you.

Find out if yours is the hardest job:

Have another for Robin or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below!

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Kory Suppes

NADA Recap: Bringing Innovation to Vegas

NCM Associates had a fantastic time in Las Vegas last week. As a member of NCM’s marketing team, I flew into the convention early and had a chance to explore. I wanted to share my photos with you.

Continuing our Tradition of Innovation


This is a photo of our booth’s construction, taken a few days before NADA started. I flew into Vegas on Monday morning to supervise the arrival of all our materials—culminating months of planning!

A few days later, other team members from our home office in Kansas City arrived on site to make sure every bit of the 1200 sq. ft. structure was perfect; our largest booth ever! It was quite a job, but well worth the work to give you a chance to learn about the exciting new products NCM is bringing to market.


This year, in between the acrobatic madness storming through the aisles, booth attendees experienced sessions led by the NCM partners responsible for creating some of the most innovative software in the industry.

Above, Intelligent Dealer’s Frank Sheets answers questions about our newest product, NCM LiveAudit®. Next to him, NCM’s Director of Software Solutions Steven Banks listens intently.

Partnering with Ultimaker


Demos included latest products and services, such as axcessa and LiveAudit. NCM experts were also on hand to share the best practices of our most profitable clients.

With more than thirty demos scheduled, attendees experienced firsthand some of the advancements NCM is spearheading for the industry. And, they also walked away with one of our inventive booth giveaways, a 3D-printed car or business card holder.

Did you get a chance to watch the printers in action? If not, here’s a quick video showing the process.

Breaking it down

I enjoyed my time at NADA. Even with all the buzz, I found time to listen to attendees’ great success stories and how they began their career in the auto industry.

It’s thrilling to attend the go-to event for everyone in the auto industry. The three-day event featuring booths bigger than they have ever been, jumbo LED screens and more tchotchkes for your kids than could fit in your carryon. (Or, for yourself: no judgement here.) What’s not to love?


A big “Thank you!” to everyone who attended and stopped by our booth. We look forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans next January 26-29.

If you didn’t find the time to stop by our booth during the hustle and bustle of the convention and would like to learn more about NCM, drop us a line at or visit


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NCM Associates

NCM in Vegas – Sneak Peek!

We can’t wait to see you in Vegas this weekend! NCM Associates is located in Booth #3013C. Enjoy a free mini-class with our fixed and variable ops experts. And be sure to preview of our newest software solution, NCM LiveAudit®.

What else can you expect from NCM this weekend? Paul Faletti, our CEO and president, fills in the rest:

Don’t forget to enter to win a FREE DJI Phantom 3 Advance Drone! Just drop your business card, get your badge scanned or fill out a form when visiting NCM at #3013C. See booth for giveaway details.

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Lindsey Quinn

Interview with Randy Fluharty: Why “Fundamentals” are the key to success

Mechanics with merchandiser checking products availibility

We asked Randy Fluharty, NCM Associates Performance Partner-OEM Lead, to take few minutes out of his schedule to talk to us about the new Fundamentals whitepaper series. He shared with us insights on their creation and explained why, no matter how experienced you are, going “back to the basics” is an important management skill.

Randy Fluharty - Headshot

NCM: Hi, Randy. Thanks for joining us. You’re a fairly new member to the NCM team, so can you tell us a little about yourself?

Randy Fluharty: Sure. I’ve spent almost 30 years in the automotive business, doing everything from aftermarket to working with OEMs in numerous divisions and positions. And I have retail GM/Executive Manager experience. I draw on this broad experience while helping my clients identify areas of improvement and formulate a plan to correct issues.

NCM: Are you going to NADA this year?

RF: Yes! I’m looking forward to spending time in the NCM booth. We’re offering mini-workshops—really, a sampling of what the NCM experience is like—and I’ll be hosting several of those. Attendees will get a free 3D-printed gift and their selection of the new Fundamentals volumes. They are hot off the presses and we’re having to keep a close eye on them—all the moderators and other consultants are stealing copies for their clients!

NCM: We better be sure to lock those down! Now, the Fundamentals series was a massive project and clearly an internal success. What makes the Fundamentals guides so important?

RF: They remind us to not forget the fundamentals of the business, which are tried and true practices.  Compare it to practicing scales in music or practicing blocking or tackling in football … no different.

NCM: How were the books written?

RF: We took best practices that had been verified by our best performing dealers and industry experts and compiled them into this easy reference series.

NCM: Are these books for newbies? What value does Fundamentals bring to the experienced automotive professional?

RF: Right. That’s the question I get,Don’t we already know this?” Here’s the thing, though, without the fundamentals, nothing else works quite right. And surely not consistently!

It’s that lack of consistency that really gets experienced managers and dealers in trouble. When stability is lacking, we lose the ability to accurately determine that nature of the problem. It can result in the wrong fix being applied.

NCM: Who in the dealership should read the Fundamentals series?

RF: Every GM and department manager—NCM client or not. Really, every automotive professional should have a set of these on their shelves.

NCM: What’s the most important thing a dealership can do with these books?

RF: Use the 800# to call me! Seriously, though, it’s very helpful to get an unfiltered, outside prospective on your department or business. I’ve found that most businesses think all is well until another set of eyes starts looking at things and comparing them to known best practices.

An outsider’s view creates the context and perspective that causes businesses to find all kinds of opportunities. Translation? That means dealers are losing dollars due to inefficient and inconsistent practices.

NCM: What’s the number one takeaway you get from each guide?

RF: Let’s see … okay, for the Used Vehicle guide, you should ask yourself: What do you own your inventory for and is it the right inventory? On the Service side, I think the book comes down to the concern that, if we sell the work, too many advisors are discounting the profit away. And, when it comes to Parts, the biggest take away is process. Process, process, process. You can’t avoid it!

NCM: So, what’s next? Any more books coming?

RF: Sure. F&I is in its final edits, and we’re thinking about a volume for New and CSI fundamentals. We’re open to suggestions, though, so people should let us know what books they’d like to see.

Well, there you have it: The new NCM Fundamentals series gives a clear breakdown of each dealership department and the strategies you need for success. You can download the free digital ebook versions here. To get a printed version, just sign up for one of our mini-sessions. Attendees will get a 3D-printed gift, thanks to our partners at Ultimaker, and their choice of a Fundamentals book. Visitors to our booth—3013C—at NADA may also enter to win a FREE drone.

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Lindsey Quinn

A Tradition of Innovation: A Blast from NCM’s Past


Here at NCM, our employee-owners tend to focus on the future. Coordinators are always prepping for the next 20 Group meeting, while the moderators are busy combing through composites. Our NCMi instructors keep an eye on advancements in the field, all while making sure they are available for their students. As for our business intelligence team … well, join us at the NADA Conference to see what they’ve been up to!

Progress is important. But when we discovered a treasure trove of old 20 Group documents during our corporate headquarters move, we couldn’t wait to share them with you.

So, take a break from the future and enjoy this blast from NCM’s past!

20 Group Meeting – 1954

We don’t have a record of which particular 20 Group used this meeting pack, but in 1954 its members would have had a session with moderators from Central Services—the original name of our company.

You’ll see that members enjoyed a pretty short agenda … but that the information speaks to issues we face even today!

1954 Meeting Agenda

We sent the materials out to be “copied” – or, as on this invoice, mimeographed! This bill isn’t from the same year, but it gives you an idea of the cost.

Dealer Analysis Bureau, or DAB, is the name of our original 20 Group, Group 2001, which still thrives to this day. Those of you who’ve attended a class or 20 Group session in our new Kansas City headquarters should recognize the names—we honor our founders and our old company names by naming all our conference and training rooms after them.

1959 Copying Services Receipt

Going back to our 1954 meeting pack, take a look at this section “The Things We Neglected in 1953.” This group’s moderator made it clear that improvements were needed over 1953’s results. This handy checklist told dealers exactly what they should monitor in the coming year.

Things We Neglected in 1953 - Checklist

Any of these items sound familiar? We may not hand type them, but NCM’s experts continue to publish guides to help our dealers make the most of their departments. Thanks to new technologies and demands on dealerships, they are quite a bit longer!

In fact, we’ve just launched our new Fundamentals series. With three volumes currently available—30 Fundamentals for Used Vehicle Success, 35 Fundamentals for Parts Performance and 35 Fundamentals for Service Success—and several more in production, the series highlights our commitment to continuous improvement. Test drive our experts’ knowledge and get your choice of guide when you sign up for a mini-session at NADA. (You’ll also be entered into a drawing to win a free drone!)

It just goes to show that the more things change, the more things stay the same!

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Lindsey Quinn

Holiday Wishes from NCM Associates

It’s the season of good tidings and cheer! So, we asked NCM Associates to share their Christmas wishes with us.

Our biggest wish? That you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. 

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