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One benefit of the information age

Lucas Deal April 23, 2013

Remember when we saved everything we did on a computer to an external hard disk?

It might seem like ages ago, but it really hasn’t been that long. I can remember using hard disks to save files in the late 90s and early 2000s, and regularly saving documents on USB drives after that.

Admittedly, I’ll still use a USB now and again to back up a small file only located on my computer, but for the most part the work I do is saved on a server, or to a cloud-based folder like Google Drive.

This can take a little bit more time than a quick save to My Documents, but doing so assures me that no matter where I go and what device I use, I can access that work at any time.

It also defends me against a crippling computer virus that could wipe my hard drive or even worse, the legitimate destruction of my computer and the files saved inside.

Campbell Freightliner experienced that terrible nightmare in real life last month when a fire leveled its New Windsor, N.Y. location last month. Six fire departments spent more than 14 hours fighting the blaze, and when it was all over the entire brick and mortar dealership was destroyed.

Fortunately, its customer data was not.

Because Campbell Freightliner was using a cloud-based dealer management system (Procede’s Excede DMS) at its location, all of its sales, service and customer information was saved from the destruction of the horrific fire.

“The next day we had two computers and phones in our Edison (N.J.) location selling parts and communicating with our customers. Our recovery plan went perfect. We are dealing with a lot but loss of data is not one of our issues,” says John Craft, CFO at Campbell Freightliner.

Campbell Freightliner still has a long road ahead to repair its New Windsor facility, but with its customer information safety stored online, one thing the company doesn’t have to worry about is starting fresh with its customer base. That’s a huge advantage.

It’s also something you should think about with your dealership.

How much of your data is available online? If you suffered a natural disaster like Campbell Freightliner and lost your computers, you could still service your customers?

If that answer is no, maybe now is the time to look into using online-based dealer management systems in your business.

A disaster can take down your walls, but don’t let it take the information you’ve acquired within there as well.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at lucasdeal@randallreilly.com.

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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