June 2011 - PITTSBURGH, PA - Guardian Protection Services, a super-regional based here, has launched new web-based services for dealers that allow them to sell and get funded electronically-saving both them and Guardian time and money.
The company believes it is the first to offer dealers such services, which include enabling dealers to upload contracts via the Guardian cloud, instead of physically mailing piles of paper documents to the company. Dealers also can get funding for their accounts more quickly.
"It doesn't seem like anyone else in the industry has gone totally electronic with their paperwork," Eric Aulbach, Guardian's senior vice president of information technology, told Security Systems News.
Dealers don't have to buy anything, or install any software; they just access the services remotely, Aulbach said. "It's a totally web-based application," he said. "All that's required is a user name and password and within the cloud you can access all of the services."
He said the new services are a collection of web-based tools known as D.A.R.T (Dealer Automation Real Time), which "automate the Guardian onboarding, account creation, account audit and funding process."
Guardian developed D.A.R.T. in conjunction with Guardian's dealer community, based on their feedback, Aulbach said. "It was built by the dealer community," he told SSN.
The company was telling potential new dealers about the new services at its booth at the ESX show in Charlotte, N.C. last week, but actually unveiled them in April to its existing dealers at Guardian's national dealer convention, held in Las Vegas during the ISC West show, according to Hank Groff, national director of Guardian's dealer division. He said that by early June the company had received very positive feedback from dealers who had been using the technology for about two months.
"We even got an email back from one of our dealers who said it's saving him tremendous time and money with his business," Groff told SSN.
Aulbach said D.A.R.T. now allows the company to interview prospective new dealers electronically, doing everything from interviewing them, negotiating with them and signing a contract with them via the Internet.
"From the very beginning of our experience with our dealers all the way through the process, they very rarely should have to touch papers with us," he said.
He explained that dealers traditionally have worked in a mode whereby they sold accounts for a week or more until they collected enough paperwork to "bundle it all up, hand it to UPS, pay the shipping charge and send it to us."
Now, he said, no matter how few or how many accounts they sell each day, they can immediately upload those contracts and the company gets them right away.
"They no longer have shipping charges, and we can immediately begin the audit and funding process for those accounts," he said.
Another benefit of D.A.R.T for dealers is transparency, Aulbach said.
Dealers can log in and view all the accounts they have online with Guardian and tell whether they've been audited or held up because of such problems as an illegible signature or lack of information.
The dealers can rectify such problems and simply upload the contract again, without having to spend lots of time with back and forth phone calls and emails with the company, Aulbach said. This helps both dealers and Guardian employees use their time more productively, he said. "It's definitely a two-way street," he said.
Dealers also can access the company's marketing materials and training information through D.A.R.T., he said.
In addition, it has a blog feature, telling dealers about the latest news and information, he said.