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Tag Archive: NADA Convention

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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Paul Faletti

Three Ways to Build an Innovative Culture


Our offices are abuzz with excitement about the upcoming convention this April. We’re finalizing travel plans. (If you still need help, just contact our Travel Solutions office and they’ll take care of you. Tell them that Paul sent you.) Our experts are putting the last touches on their product demos and workshops. And the Marketing team is rounding the corner to the finish line.

In other words, things are busy.

Even with the rush to get everything done, preparing for the event has given me a few precious moments to reflect about NCM Associates and how our tradition of innovation has created a dynamic, versatile company. It’s a model, I think, that any business can follow … and creativity can mean the difference between success and failure.

When you stop creating, you stop growing.

The digital era is defined by innovation. The internet offers us unusual opportunities to disrupt traditional business models and communicate directly to consumers. This is great for companies like Airbnb, but I think it’s more challenging for an established, mature industry like automotive to find its way—especially when so many of the new models are dedicated to dismantling the old ways.

Trust me, we get it. NCM Associates is nearly 70 years old, and our primary service, the automotive 20 Group, was invented shortly after World War II in 1947. That’s a very mature product. So, let me share the secret to our success.

Innovation isn’t a thing; it’s a culture.

You can’t just demand that people innovate. Instead, you have to build a business—and, yes, a dealership—culture that encourages people to do more than the everyday. You also have to show employees that new and unusual ideas aren’t just tolerated, but welcomed.

Here are three of the ways we make this culture happen.

1) Let’s do this: Get everyone invested. NCM Associates is a 100 percent employee-owned Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Each and every individual in our company has a personal investment in our organization’s growth and performance. They feel the impact, every year, when our business is valuated. This approach means that we all work together to propel the company forward.

Now, not every company is an ESOP. (But I encourage you to learn more about them). However, I challenge you to think of ways you can encourage your employees to feel a strong and deep-rooted commitment to your business. Consider events that encourage camaraderie and collaboration. And, if all else fails, performance-based bonuses are a tried-and-true motivation method.

At NCM, we like to focus on teamwork as a motivator. Each of our associates has this little sign on their desks:


“Let’s do this” is important to me. I’d like to take credit for the statement, but I didn’t invent it. (Sadly, I also can’t recall where I first read about it, so if you know the source, please comment below!) Another writer, Matt Frye, has a great explanation of what it means.

To me, “Let’s do this” is a good reminder that successful businesses are the result of every person working together as a team to achieve a particular goal. The more creatively we can accomplish this, the better.

2) Share your knowledge. The cornerstone of NCM’s business is information and experience. We require that all our moderators, consultants and instructors come from a solid background with many years spent at the dealership. And we have the best minds aggregating member information to create the best benchmark data in the industry.

Even though we keep lots of things private, the true value in knowledge comes when you share it. Our experts travel throughout North America to present their knowledge at conferences and workshops, and many of them write thoughtful articles for this blog.

We’ve recently launched our NCM Fundamentals whitepaper series, which includes insights our clients have used to successfully address many problems commonly encountered in the dealership. More books are in production, because we believe it’s important to give everyone an opportunity to improve their business and create an accountability culture. If you’d like one, sign up for one of our product demos or mini-workshops we’re hosting at the NADA Conference. Every attendee will receive a complimentary printed copy.


Now, few dealerships have the resources to write whitepapers. But there are lots of ways you can share information. Encourage team members to discuss new ideas during daily roundups. Support training for your employees, and offer a monthly book club that encourages them to better their personal and professional lives. (And, please, supply the books!) Consider writing an article for one of many industry publications and, if you have a team member you plan to groom for management, encourage them to write about and share their successes with others.

And, speaking of knowledge sharing, no community has done a better job of collaborating than 3D-printers. That’s why we’re so excited to announce that NCM has partnered with Ultimaker, a 3D printer developer and manufacturer, to offer a complimentary 3D-printed business card holder or moveable car for visitors!

Stop by booth #3013C to pick one out and see the 3D printers work. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll see:

3) Take risks. Have you heard about NCM axcessa®?  I remember the day I signed the papers establishing a partnership between NCM and ReverseRisk, the developers.

There was no question that the product was remarkable, but I certainly didn’t know how the market would react to this innovation. While NCM axcessa offered an entirely new level of transparency and accountability for dealers, it would require a significant change in dealership culture to be the most effective. Would people be willing to do that?

A few years later, here we are! NCM axcessa has exceeded all our expectations, and we’re proud of giving our clients such a useful software solution for managing their operational and financial needs. In 2016, NCM will be launching the NCM LiveAudit® dealership payables monitoring platform that allows you to dive deep into your payables activities to watch for unexpected expenditures and fraud, as well as manage recurring contracts. You can test it out at our booth at NADA, too.

How can you take risks as a dealer? Remember my suggestion to encourage idea sharing during meetings. Invest in one of them. Try a new marketing strategy. Offer a new promotion. Whatever the idea, make a small investment in testing it and see what happens. The results may surprise you, and your willingness to try something new—even if it fails—may drive the next big thing in your business.

Ready to innovate? Come see our creativity at Booth #3013C this April in Las Vegas. We hope to see you there.

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