Ford Sets New Standard For Dealer Communications
Ford is launching its next generation dealer portal, FMCDealer.com, to improve communication and reponse time for Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers. The all-new dealer portal will combine the three current Ford, Lincoln Mercury and Ford Customer Service Web sites into a single dealer portal for improved efficiency.
"Ford's new portal will continue to lead the industry in information sharing and help our dealers run their businesses more effectively," said Francisco Codina, Ford Division general marketing manager. "Our portal will raise the bar and set a new standard in dealer communications."
Ford led the industry in July 1998 with the launch of its first dealer Web site portals for Ford (FDealer.com), Lincoln Mercury (LMDealer.com) and Ford Customer Service (QCDealer.com). These sites quickly became key tools for the divisions to communicate with its dealers and provide the information to help dealers effectively operate their stores.
Since then, several manufacturers have launched their own dealer Web sites. Ford is taking its dealer portals launched in 1998 to the next level using the latest technology available.
In addition to features previously available, the new site is integrated enabling users to log on to just one site versus up to three sites today.
While the entire site has a common look and feel, page views are tailored to specific user's job roles and content is targeted based on the unique needs of each user to provide only relevant information.
"Instead of having to view every piece of information available, the site's content is tailored to the user's job role. Technicians will see relevant service information, sales managers will see sales-related information and dealer principals will see information relevant to running their stores," said Codina.
FMCDealer.com provides dealers with information such as contests and incentives, vehicle ordering and pricing guides, new product specifications, regional communications, service parts data, field service actions, warranty and customer satisfaction information as well as access to the Dealer eStore for ordering accessories.
The new portal provides improved response time and search capability, direct access to Ford's "e-Tools" suite including a dealer-to-dealer vehicle locator, customized dealer Web sites and an Internet Lead Management System. Division users now have the ability to post documents directly on the site without relying on a development team to post the information, greatly reducing posting time.
Content on the current dealer portals has increased from 40 pages in 1998 to more than 100,000 pages today. The number of users for the three sites has gone from 1,000 in 1998 to approximately 130,000 today and the number continues to grow. The sharp increase in usage and amount of information contained on the sites resulted in the existing sites reaching their technological limits.
When development of the new portal began a year ago, a cross-divisional team from Ford Division, Lincoln Mercury, Ford Customer Service Division and Ford Information Technology (IT) conducted interviews with more than 100 dealers to define the content requirements and the new site's look and feel. Ford validated the design of the site throughout its development with users from dealerships of various sizes to ensure the site was meeting expectations.
The new FMCDealer.com site was developed and is hosted in-house by Ford IT. The portal is the result of a partnership between Dimension Data, IBM and Ford IT. The portal uses Plumtree portal software and Microsoft's CMS Content Management System – the first time that Microsoft CMS and Plumtree have been combined in a portal.