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"Business Life at Reynolds"

5 Minutes with Rob Lewis, Managing Director

Rob Lewis recently took on the role of Managing Director of U.K. Automotive Sales and Operations at Reynolds and Reynolds. Rob first joined the company over six years ago following the acquisition of Contact Advantage and during these six years has continued to evolve and develop the Claro brand, our CRM and Lead Management platform.

Rob has always prided himself on getting beyond the initial client request and really understanding the underlying need. His extensive 30 year plus automotive experience and relationships with retailers and OEMs drives his focus to bring truly innovative solutions to the market.

We have asked Rob some questions to find out a little bit more about his vision for the future of the company and our range of platforms and products.

Rob Lewis recently took on the role of Managing Director of U.K. Automotive Sales and Operations at Reynolds and Reynolds. Rob first joined the company over six years ago following the acquisition of Contact Advantage and during these six years has continued to evolve and develop the Claro brand, our CRM and Lead Management platform.

Rob has always prided himself on getting beyond the initial client request and really understanding the underlying need. His extensive 30 year plus automotive experience and relationships with retailers and OEMs drives his focus to bring truly innovative solutions to the market.

We have asked Rob some questions to find out a little bit more about his vision for the future of the company and our range of platforms and products.

1) Tell us a little about your background and experience in the automotive industry?

I’ve worked in the automotive space for over 30 years in a variety of disciplines, including a number of senior roles within both large corporates and in more recent years a series of small start-ups. Following the acquisition of Contact Advantage, I joined the Reynolds and Reynolds team and continued to manage the platform now known as Claro. In simple terms, I see myself as a product person and this will be my prime focus in the coming years. During my time in the industry, when working closely with both retailers and OEMs it has highlighted the importance of reacting and adapting quickly in a fast-paced marketplace.
2) Looking ahead, how do you see the future of the company and products evolving?

It's important for any business to keep evolving and not stand still. One of my priorities will be to drive future growth with our software platforms and professional services to ensure they meet the needs of dealers and OEMs alike. Our 'Built As One' philosophy has been at the heart of product design, offering a single dealership-wide system through a combination of integrated in-house platforms and external best of breed third party applications through a series of deep integrations. The goal for us is to deliver an overall efficient process; remove errors, enable cutting costs and driving profitability while at all times optimising the customer experience.

3) Dealers often still use many different systems to operate their businesses, what is Reynolds doing to support them?

The utopia is having a single point of data entry no matter which platform is being used, whether it’s our in-house platform or that of a third party supplier. Our Claro platform shares data with our POWER DMS - there is no rekeying of data and this is how it should be. Our focus in the future will be to offer dealers increased flexibility by integrating our systems with more third party suppliers; it’s important for dealers to be able to pick their supplier of choice and not be restricted by their DMS provider. We are very open to third-party integrations and in the future we will continue to place emphasis on integrating to other applications. Embedded Solutions that work seamlessly together is a necessity for dealerships.

4) What do you see as the biggest challenges in the industry?
The last 2 years has changed the way cars are sold with a hybrid of online and offline. Customers are often more comfortable with completing large portions of the buying process at home. Without question, this is something that is gaining traction in the retail automotive market and something we need to embrace. The challenge is recognising the point when the customer wishes to move from th on-line experience to the physical dealership. For some customers they are happy to conduct the whole process online but most will want to move into the dealership at some point, the key is recognising this point and transitioning the sale in a seamless fashion. These changes are leading to a different commercial model between OEMs and dealers on new cars. I can also easily see how the next generation of car buyers will increasingly move from the traditional PCP, PCH or HP to a frictionless pay-2-drive subscription model that’s packaged in the right way. I think there will always be a place for dealerships, especially aftersales departments and as long as the industry embraces change, which I think it always has done, and these changes online sales doesn’t have to be a threat to anyone.

1) Tell us a little about your background and experience in the automotive industry?

I’ve worked in the automotive space for over 30 years in a variety of disciplines, including a number of senior roles within both large corporates and in more recent years a series of small start-ups. Following the acquisition of Contact Advantage, I joined the Reynolds and Reynolds team and continued to manage the platform now known as Claro. In simple terms, I see myself as a product person and this will be my prime focus in the coming years. During my time in the industry, when working closely with both retailers and OEMs it has highlighted the importance of reacting and adapting quickly in a fast-paced marketplace.
2) Looking ahead, how do you see the future of the company and products evolving?

It's important for any business to keep evolving and not stand still. One of my priorities will be to drive future growth with our software platforms and professional services to ensure they meet the needs of dealers and OEMs alike. Our 'Built As One' philosophy has been at the heart of product design, offering a single dealership-wide system through a combination of integrated in-house platforms and external best of breed third party applications through a series of deep integrations. The goal for us is to deliver an overall efficient process; remove errors, enable cutting costs and driving profitability while at all times optimising the customer experience.

3) Dealers often still use many different systems to operate their businesses, what is Reynolds doing to support them?

The utopia is having a single point of data entry no matter which platform is being used, whether it’s our in-house platform or that of a third party supplier. Our Claro platform shares data with our POWER DMS - there is no rekeying of data and this is how it should be. Our focus in the future will be to offer dealers increased flexibility by integrating our systems with more third party suppliers; it’s important for dealers to be able to pick their supplier of choice and not be restricted by their DMS provider. We are very open to third-party integrations and in the future we will continue to place emphasis on integrating to other applications. Embedded Solutions that work seamlessly together is a necessity for dealerships.

4) What do you see as the biggest challenges in the industry?
The last 2 years has changed the way cars are sold with a hybrid of online and offline. Customers are often more comfortable with completing large portions of the buying process at home. Without question, this is something that is gaining traction in the retail automotive market and something we need to embrace. The challenge is recognising the point when the customer wishes to move from th on-line experience to the physical dealership. For some customers they are happy to conduct the whole process online but most will want to move into the dealership at some point, the key is recognising this point and transitioning the sale in a seamless fashion. These changes are leading to a different commercial model between OEMs and dealers on new cars. I can also easily see how the next generation of car buyers will increasingly move from the traditional PCP, PCH or HP to a frictionless pay-2-drive subscription model that’s packaged in the right way. I think there will always be a place for dealerships, especially aftersales departments and as long as the industry embraces change, which I think it always has done, and these changes online sales doesn’t have to be a threat to anyone.
- + Disclaimers