Sonic Automotive: Continued Growth Requires Process Automation
to Drive Cost Containment in Risk Management
Sonic Automotive, an $8 Billion Fortune 500 company and member of the Russell Index 2000, is one of the largest automotive retailers in the country. In the past three years, Sonic has realized a savings of over $9 Million incurred in Workers Compensation, decreased incident reporting lag time by over 95%, and has seen a decrease in employee accident frequency by well over 20%.
"Sonic Automotive has over 150 dealerships throughout the US, so to manage that number of locations truly is a task. One of the challenges that we faced was to understand our true risk exposures, to get our arms around, from a risk management standpoint, what those exposures are: understanding the depth of our risk and property exposures, providing a safe work environment for all of our associates and customers to shop, ensuring our dealerships are environmentally sound, making sure we're exceeding our OSHA requirements,"' says Sonic Director of Risk Management Tim Hallice.
That prompted Sonic Automotive to embark on a new initiative: implementing Emerson Software Solution's Risk Management Information System, eRIMS2, to manage and automate all processes and data under the risk management umbrella.
Positioning for Growth
The implementation of eRIMS2 required a shift from a departmental to an enterprise-level approach. Sonic Automotive's risk management team began working to implement multiple processes that would be tracked and automated within eRIMS2. The modular and customized approach of Emerson's software allowed Sonic to set their own priorities and roll the system out according to those priorities. Emerson's cloud hosted, web-based software delivered multiple features and functions that were needed in order to execute Sonic's ambitious risk management initiative, which included:
- Simplify Incident Reporting: There is not a limit to the number of users who can use eRIMS2, which allowed Sonic to implement the Incident module in all of its dealerships where Sonic associates can use the First Report Wizard to easily enter details of associate accidents. Since eRIMS2 interfaces with Sonic's HR application, the amount of demographic information required is minimal.
- Streamline Claim Reporting: As soon as an accident is reported, Sonic Automotive's Third Party Administrator receives a notification of the accident immediately. This has had a direct impact on the significant drop in claim costs, which are measured by importing claim data from the TPA on a weekly basis.
- Incentivizing Safety: Emerson's Allocation module was flexible enough to allow Sonic to build in their business rules created to incentivize a culture of safety at their dealerships. By providing an avenue for financial reward based on adherence to safety processes, their dealerships have taken ownership of safety improvements, as well as quickly reporting employee accidents. Within the first month of implementation, Sonic saw a decrease in reporting lag time of well over 50%.
- Property Management: Being able to accurately track data on over 150 locations is quite a task. The eRIMS2 Property module allowed Sonic to bring everything together in one location, including: COPE Data, Annual Values (tied to RS Means), Building Improvement, Lease information, Environmental Data, Safety Audits and Automation and much more.
- Performance Scorecard: Turning all of the data into useable information has been the critical factor for Sonic in getting their return on investment. By being able to drill down into their data an analyze trends through dashboards, they are now able to make smarter business decisions moving forward.
- Risk Management on the Move: Sitting behind a computer to manage risk at over 150 dealerships is not an option. eRIMS2 Mobile allows Sonic Automotive's Loss Control team to easily conduct field audits, take pictures, send email notifications all from their iPhone.
Telling a Story
In spite of the effort involved in establishing the processes that now flow through eRIMS2, the effort was well worth it. eRIMS2 is now a single source of information for Sonic Automotive's Risk Management, Safety, Purchasing, Franchise and Lease departments. With all of the data in a single warehouse, Sonic is able to see a clearer picture of not only their historical cost of risk and exposure information, but also of a forecast of a culture of safety and lower risk management costs.
Sonic Automotive's upper management utilizes the eRIMS2 dashboards and analytical reporting features to help make smarter decisions on moving the company forward. By tying into the company's corporate goals and metrics, Risk Management has become a key player in helping to drive corporate initiatives that provide a pathway to profitability and growth.