On the industry news front, it was a busy fourth quarter for LKQ, with the launch of its all-new Parts Via system at Keystone and acquisition of Topline Systems Inc.—very different initiatives that will prove equally valuable to both the shop and consumer experience.
Topline Systems Opens New Doors
We’ll discuss both at length, but for now—the latter, Topline Systems. It’s a dealer and retail software development company that specializes in dealership/shop management and point-of-sale products that include comprehensive sales, service, and parts management modules. In fact, wrote The SHOP Magazine, “Topline’s software was developed at a dealership with a retail store and a service/installation shop—for that business, by that owner, according to the company. The same daily decision-making process used to run the business was engineered into the software and has applications well beyond the market it was initially intended to serve.”
Though originally conceived for the RV market, the software is a fitting transition into the specialty automotive aftermarket, “where the foundational programming solutions that Topline Systems has developed can apply to businesses in other markets with similar needs,” said Bill Rogers, Keystone Business Leader.
As for disruptions to the current state of business for existing customers, you ask, “there are hundreds of dealers in North America using the Topline program today, and we intend to keep things business-as-usual for them. They will experience no interruption in services or be required to work any differently than they have in the past,” added Rogers. “In fact, our intention is to operate Topline Systems independently to maintain the existing securities and confidentiality that all of Topline’s customers and business partners have enjoyed.”
Benefits to the Automotive Aftermarket
Good things come in the form of collaboration, and Keystone and Topline Systems are no strangers to that arrangement. Both companies have partnered up for various projects in the past. “We are excited about continuing our work with Keystone in a much more significant way,” said Steve Karafas, President at Topline. “The availability of capital and other resources they bring to the relationship will result in expanded features and benefits for existing users, and help our emerging presence supporting customers in new markets as well (such as the automotive aftermarket),” he continued.
The key to any successful partnership is capitalizing on each other’s strengths. “After hundreds of customer visits in the markets we serve, we determined that inventory management, procurement, sales processes, and fundamental reporting and analytics were areas that many of our customers struggle with,” Rogers explained. “The options available to them are either complicated and expensive, or too simplistic and ineffective. We felt a robust and easy-to-use alternative was needed and found Topline’s suite of products a perfect fit.”
For more than five decades, the Keystone and NTP-Stag names have been synonymous with customer commitment. That goes beyond providing the broadest and deepest inventory selection and world-class fulfillment capability and includes offering end-to-end marketing solutions and innovative e-commerce solutions. “The addition of Topline allows us to continue to offer new ways to help our customers grow and succeed by providing value based, high quality, state-of-the-art business solutions, including dealership management, point of sale, service and parts management,” concluded Rogers.
What’s clear is that shop customers are worth the investment. Visit us in a few weeks as we break down the all-new Parts Via program available to consumers through Keystone!