As every indirect seller of goods and services knows, channel relationships are critical to financial success and require careful attention to ensure that goals, benchmarks and rewards are well understood by manufacturer and reseller. Because resale agreements between independent parties always include a bit of natural tension when it comes to product pipelines, expectations and performance, reliable shared data is the best unbiased arbiter of a healthy channel relationship.

The automotive industry offers a good example of a high-value resale channel. The Chrysler Group for example is built of DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, its Mexican and Canadian subsidiaries and other international affiliates. These companies build cars and trucks under the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands, offer parts and accessories under the Mopar brand, and sell these products in the U.S. through a network of more than 3,800 independent dealers. At Chrysler, the idea for a dealer scorecard arose as a way to measure and improve dealer performance at the corporate level, encourage collaborative efforts across the network and build better relationships all around. This is not a setting that requires any sort of near real-time information cycle, but a trustworthy monthly report that could be drilled into and used by all parties would be a valuable tool. An early iteration of the scorecard launched at Chrysler Group in January 2004, but the static PDF report was quickly found inadequate. That is when the mission fell to Freda Bane, Director, Dealer Relations & Development, Chrysler Group, and a new project commenced almost immediately.

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