In 1974, Mr. Brockman designed the first parts invoicing point-of-sale system for a car dealership, which represented an early product breakthrough for Universal Computer Systems (UCS). The program ran on an IBM 360-40 mainframe computer and carried 64K of core memory on the main box – with another 64K of add-on memory that, by itself, weighed more than a thousand pounds. With a total of 128K in memory, the parts invoicing point of sale program was launched. "For the day, that was a big step forward," Mr. Brockman said.
In-Dealership Computer Systems
In 1982, the next wave of UCS companies installed their first in-dealership computer system, making use again of IBM mainframes of the day. Throughout the rest of the 1980s, UCS installed several hundred of these systems for large dealerships and dealership groups.
Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) for Dealerships
"I've always believed software utilization is what's important to drive the software system's value in the dealership. The best level of utilization occurs the day after installation; from then on, it goes down without consistent training. That's why I developed Computer Aided Instruction for our DMS systems." Reynolds Chairman|CEO Bob Brockman
Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) was developed in 1989 to fill a training need for UCS customers. At the time, UCS had only one training site – its Houston Headquarters facility – with most of its largest customers spread throughout major metropolitan areas nationwide.
Sending employees to Houston for training was an expensive proposition for many UCS customers. As a result, dealerships were sending as few people as possible.
At the same time, as the UCS software become more sophisticated, the need for effective training became more and more necessary – as UCS could see from monitoring customer system utilization after new software releases.
UCS had the data that told them a customer is likely to be a very good user of the system during the first year; however, with each new software release, utilization did not keep pace.
Out of this need for ongoing training, the CAI system was developed. It paid immediate dividends for the company and for dealerships – in better trained users who were getting more out of the software, in more loyal users who appreciated all that the software could do, and in fewer customer support issues.
Mr. Brockman: "Well, I knew there had to be a way to keep our customers using system features and to help the dealership to train new employees. I also knew that a customer who uses the system fully was more likely to stay with UCS than one that was not getting the most out of the system. So, over the Thanksgiving holidays in 1989, I conceived the CAI approach for POWER. Less than a year later, the CAI system was ready for release to customers."