GE Capital Improves Sales Monitoring Tool

GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) is enhancing its online business intelligence tool, Analytics Online, for technology distributors and manufacturers of large-ticket durable goods. The tool provides detailed metrics and real-time reports on retailers in more than 10 industries, including marine, motorsports, electronics and appliances, and lawn and garden.

“Manufacturers and distributors are operating in a slow-growth, cost-constrained environment today,” said Jeff Malehorn, President and CEO of CDF and a GE company officer. “These companies are very interested in using data and technology to help them drive efficiencies through their large dealer networks.”

Analytics Online, a complimentary tool that premiered in late 2010, allows manufacturers and distributors to more effectively monitor the sales, inventory, credit use and other important performance drivers of each dealer. Launching in the second quarter and with enhancements that will continue to be rolled out through the end of 2011, the advanced analytics tool will provide expanded historical data, more metrics and added data filtering and customization.

Don Heidemann, the treasurer of recreational vehicle maker Winnebago Industries, Inc., Forest City, IA, believes the data could be a useful input when making decisions about production or inventory distribution. “If we find that models that used to sell in less than 30 days are sitting in the dealer's lot for 60 plus days, it might make it easier for us to decide to speed up production of one of our top-selling models while cutting back on less popular ones,” he said.

Analytics Online also allows the manufacturer to determine in real time which dealers are performing according to expectations by examining the upward and downward trends in outstanding dealer invoices. Based on this information, the manufacturer might reach out to the high-performing dealers to benchmark their sales techniques or take note of their product mix, then use those findings to help the struggling dealers in its network.