Inventory Management


Ask any dealer what their biggest challenge is they are likely to say inventory control. ASPEN has many tools pervasive throughout the system to help dealerships stay on top of inventory to minimize their on-shelf investment and maximize turns. Following are just a few of the ways you can use the ASPEN system to increase your inventory profits.


ASPEN inventory tracking tools put YOU in control of your parts inventory—you’ll always know what’s in stock/on order!


  • Keep stocked parts prices current & instantly view manufacturer pricing for non-stocked parts
  • Use ASPEN’s special pricing tools to control margins by customer and by part
  • Streamline parts lookup with supplier ordering integration
  • Set parts as stock or non-stock with reorder levels
  • Generate and track parts orders
  • Easily view parts sales history by month
  • Improve fill and reduce freight with viewable on-hand quantity for all forward and back subs for all locations.
  • View parts on order for all locations, pending invoices, work orders, and overflow bin to immediately procure parts for a customer.
  • Link old parts to the new equivalent for fast liquidation.
  • Upsell related parts, add-on services and misc charges. Just set the system up to associate related items them to the core part or unit and print as suggested items on the customer invoice.
  • Set min & max stocking criteria for reordering
  • Automatically reset parts reorder codes rely on ASPEN’s suggested ordering wizard to hep forecast inventory needs.
  • Advanced parts department performance analysis
  • Track service truck inventory separately from store inventory
  • Use A.I.M., (ASPEN Interactive Mobility) for parts receipting, shelving,  and physical counts, view parts information,  and create lists of parts and units from the mobile device for use on invoices, work orders or rental contracts


No more guesswork! Know what you have and when you have it, how it’s configured, how much it costs, and when it begins to bear interest.

  • Track key dates for units including received date, warranty expiration and interest bearing
  • Link attachment inventory to corresponding base machines but still maintain them separately
  • Associate and track set-up and shop costs related to a piece of equipment
  • Track all shop work and ownership history on each piece of equipment
  • Set reminders on Unit records such as “last date to sell” to help push sales or to alert when interest begins to accrue,
  • Always have up-to-the minute inventory reporting at your fingertips so you know what you have to sell
  • Associate attachments to the base unit record to boost sales when selling a unit
  • Use A.I.M., (ASPEN Interactive Mobility)  to view detailed unit information such as options, comments, meters, attachments, rental rates and general information including status (in-stock, expected, etc.).



Don’t let the initial response of emotional panic to price increases detract from the joys of what can be a financially rewarding outcome!

A dealers’ typical response to supplier price increases is generally one of loss of control over the pricing process. This is generally followed by a sense of aggravation about the required actions to support the increases.


Dr. Albert D. Bates, President, Profit Planning Group agrees that when pricing changes are forced upon the dealer, some angst is inevitable. “The operational aspect of making changes in the dealer management information system to reflect the changes in cost, updating pricing information and the like can certainly be an irritant,” says Bates. Dealers also experience anxiety about explaining the increase in pricing that you now have to pass on to customers, who have seen too many price increases before.

In his article, “Supplier Price Increases Are Your Friend,” which can be accessed through the AED’s Construction Equipment Dealer magazine, Bates helps dealers to understand the economic impact of price changes by breaking down dealership expenses into two components; fixed expenses and variable expenses. He also explains the positive impact of a supplier price increase on dealership profit margins, despite the increase in variable expenses. In all, Bates feels that dealers should actually thank the supplier for their actions as they now have potential to make a lot more money, and, blame the price increase on the “idiot supplier.”

In addition to the warmth of knowing that a price increase will ultimately make you more money, using a dealership management system that provides flexibility with pricing is another way to stay positive and maintain control over supplier price increases.

 ASPEN provides several options to let you be the boss of pricing and have control over your margins:

  • Price file subscriptions keep you on top of pricing changes for the brands you carry and can easily be entered in to the system to update impacted parts.
  • Choose to flag a specific part in the ASPEN system to NOT update from an updated price file.
  • You can also control pricing levels for different types of customers by specifying pricing groups in ASPEN for customers and parts. For example, set special pricing formulas for customers, contractors and employees by brand/supplier or as an overall group. You can keep your best customers happy by letting them know they are getting a “good deal,” if you choose, the dealer list price will show on their invoice!
  • Override MSRP by setting your dealer list price to calculate by margin percent, percent of published cost, or markup percent plus a designated amount. For example, apply a different markup to your remanufactured parts as than your new ones.
  • Adjust parts pricing to vary by location.
  • Use ASPEN’s mass update function to reduce the need to individually maintain parts, such as an update in tax information or to apply a price group.

Price file updates for your dealership management system take the aggravation out of managing price increase. In ASPEN, you CAN receive price file updates from your suppliers, and still stay in control over pricing!

Request the PDF of Bate’s formula for successfully passing on a parts price increase to your customers.

Find out more about ASPEN Price File updates.


New features to ASPEN Customer Portal in the latest release! Customers can now order parts through the portal. Incoming orders automatically create an invoice in ASPEN.

The ASPEN Customer Portal also provides your customers with read-only access to their information including addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses on file, as well as the ability to see and reprint invoices as needed.


Customer Portal provides dealership customers the ability order parts and access their account information using any Internet-connected device.

More and more dealership customers are looking for this type of “self-service” functionality to eliminate time spent waiting in line at the dealership or on the phone.

Customer Portal is included in ASPEN at no additional charge.






Track and Monitor Top-Performing Units and Market Segments with ASPEN

  • Determine when adjustments in your fleet are needed by creating a custom “rental report card” for each fleet’s performance.
  • Track rental revenue by market segment, equipment type, and other configurable categories to see what areas of your business generates the most revenue.
  • View utilization of each fleet by month, calendar year, last 12 months and life-to-date. Drill-down to details for each unit‘s service history, rental transactions, and more directly from the ASPEN report.
  • Get insight on corrective action needed prevent further loss by recording, classifying and analyzing lost sales by lost reasons.


Rental Financial Utilization


Make wiser, more timely decisions. ASPEN’s robust financial utilization reporting helps dealers decide when to expand or transfer units out of the rental fleet.

Stay on top of unit depreciation. Whether opting for scheduled depreciation, on-demand depreciation, or depreciation as a percentage of rental income, ASPEN monitors that cost basis never goes below the designated salvage value.


Prevent revenue loss. Record and classify lost sales from ASPEN’s rental calendar or rental contract screen, to take immediate, corrective action or further analyze through Lost Sales Reporting.

Increase rental revenue. Use ASPEN’s Customer Vision tools to monitor customer purchasing trends and identify sales opportunities.

Check out our short online videos on Recording a Lost Rental Sale and Using Customer Vision to Identify Rental Opportunities.





The parts department is a major part of your dealership’s “bottom line” profitability, so to ensure total support of the store’s overall operation, you must view and operate the parts department as its own separate profit center. To do this, you will need to analyze current performance, establish marketing goals, and react on the areas that need attention. Your parts department can become much more profitable by other means than just simply raising prices.

Download our Free Parts Department Optimization Guide to Learn About:

  • Accurate Departmental Accounting
  • Financial Accountability
  • Measuring Parts Stocking Performance
  • Ideas to Increase Sales Volume

Guide to BMS



If you have dusty old parts and used equipment taking up space, upload that inventory to the ASPEN Community for other dealers using ASPEN to see and purchase!

Share inventory availability with a simple “click”!


Community is a parts locator service included in ASPEN at no extra charge!

This free service allows Charter Software dealers to fulfill their customers’ immediate needs by accessing one another’s inventory availability.


Uploading images to your Unit Records in ASPEN:


-Provides ability to view unit inventory from the field

-Facilitates faster inventory uploads to web sites

-Can assist with recording damage to units

Add multiple images to a record, and crop & zoom with easy editing tools to feature a particular part of a unit!




Improve fill and up turns!

View parts fill percentages, turns and other details to evaluate your parts performance by location and manufacturer and more.

The ability to track and analyze parts by subset gives you the power to correct your stocking logic within that subset to improve your parts performance.


By providing the ability to evaluate parts performance by location, manufacturer, etc., ASPEN’s Parts Analysis tool empowers dealers to correct stocking logic to improve fill and increase turns.

For example, using selected criteria from within the ASPEN, dealers can compare metrics of a subset of parts against the manufacturer as a whole, view parts fill percentages, turns, and other details to keep parts performance on track.



Four Keys to Improving Parts Profitability
1. Measure lost sales

Classifying the parts that flow through the department is a critical component to having a strong grasp on whether the right parts are being stocked. If you classify everything as a stock order, you can’t measure what is coming out of your inventory upon initial request and what is being special-ordered for a customer.

By having an accurate measurement of parts that are sold but not in on-hand inventory, you have a better grasp on if you are stocking the correct parts. If you don’t have the part on hand, it should be categorized as a lost sale. Remember that your lost sales report is not telling you that you didn’t sell a part, it is telling you that you didn’t sell it from your on-hand inventory.

2. Use your business system reports

Your business management system is full of reports that can be used to help improve the profitability of the parts department. Many managers look at the turn ratio report, which is important, but equally important is to evaluate where you have your inventory invested. Are the bulk of the dollars invested in inventory represented by fast moving parts? What percent of the inventory is obsolete? Are you coding your parts properly so that the popular parts are reordered and those that are slower moving are marked as non-stocking so they are not mistakenly ordered only to be later returned?

3. Keep an eye out for obsolete parts

Perhaps one of the biggest drains on a dealer’s inventory is obsolete parts. While there is no way to eliminate all obsolete parts, there is a way to keep them to a minimum. Keep in mind that any dollar you have tied up in obsolete parts is a dollar that can’t be working for you otherwise.The biggest reason for obsolete parts, other than improper phase-in criteria, is special-order parts that are never picked up by the customer and were not paid for at the time of the order. I encourage all my dealers to require at least 50% payment on any part that is a special order. That way, if the part is not picked up, you have dollars available to cover the handling, freight to return and restocking fees that might apply from your vendors. The most important thing is to send it back and don’t add it to your inventory. The cost of holding a part can run up to 20% of the cost of that part on a yearly basis.

4. Evaluate your pricing strategy

Many parts managers use a broad-based pricing strategy that is applied across the board regardless of the part or the vendor it comes from. Bob encourages all managers to break inventory into smaller segments and price those out accordingly.The same holds true for parts sold over the front counter compared to parts that are sold through the shop. It makes no sense not to charge the shop a few percentages more on parts they install. The overhead costs for the dealership are higher. Think about this: When a customer walks into your dealership to pick up a part, he or she is furnishing at least 50% of the labor and time over that same part being sold to the shop. In the shop, someone has to look it up, pull it and deliver it to the tech. Why not add 3% to the cost of the part to help recover some of the overhead?

The same holds true with high-value parts versus maintenance parts. Why not charge a slightly higher percentage on an engine part than, say, a fuel filter? In probably 80% of the cases, the engine part will be installed by your service department while the maintenence part is installed by the customer. Again, you don’t have to add a lot, but a couple of percentage points of gain can add valuable net profit dollars to the dealership and have little, if any, impact on the customer.

Find out how our ASPEN Business Management System can help you achieve improved parts profitability using the four keys outlined above. Call us now 303.932.6875 to speak with a sales expert!

Bob Clements is president of Bob Clements International Inc., consulting firm specializing in creating high performance dealerships and is not affiliated with Charter Software. Visit for more information.


Equipment and golf car dealers rely on rentals for revenue stream, as well as a means to stay competitive and to accommodate customers’ needs when their equipment is down. The ASPEN Rental Component allows equipment dealers to diversify their business, accommodate existing clientele, increase business and stay ahead of the competition.

ASPEN’s Rental Component Provides dealers with:

  • Flexible payment and deposit options
  • Quick and easy adjustments
  • Flexible rental rates

Using the Rental Component, dealers can:

  • Easily rent units not in rental fleet to meet customer demands
  • Manage complicated use tax issues
  • Bill recurring rentals for repeat business

Email us to request detailed information about the ASPEN Rental Component.

Read more about ASPEN’s features in our ASPEN Tidbits series!

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customervision_crop (2) Rental Customer Vision