image of man looking at computer switchboard

Midland Motors Starts Selling Less Than 1 Week After Devastating Fire

The Challenge

It’s 7 A.M. on a Saturday – the morning of your biggest day of the week. The phone rings… 

It’s the General Manager in Texas and he tells you that there was a fire last night, and that half your dealership has burned down.

What do you do next? 

This nightmare scenario came true for our client, Midland Motors of Midland, Texas.

The fire started at 10 P.M. on a Friday night, and because there were no fire alarms or smoke detectors, the fire had plenty of time to wreak havoc. The fire destroyed the service area, smoked out the parts department, data room, and the showroom. The fire got hot enough that the 2-foot tall I-beams for the roof were “twisted like pretzels.”

Paul Jensen, now Operations Manager at Qvale Auto Group, says “It was bad, and I knew we needed help. V-Tech was one of the first calls I made.” 

The power was out, the servers were down, and the entire dealership was completely shut down. As anyone in the automotive sales industry knows, every minute counts toward making a sale. Time lost is quite literally money lost.

Our client needed a game plan to get back online and operational ASAP.

When catastrophe strikes, there isn’t time to call around to multiple providers, wait on hold, or argue over the finer points of contracts about what’s covered – you just need help, and you need it fixed now.

That one phone call was all it took for us to get a technician on the next flight to Midland, with boots on the ground that same day.

 

The Solution

The challenge was clear, but not easy: get the dealership back online so they could start selling again. 

Many IT service provider companies can manage the day-to-day operations just fine, but handling an emergency is what truly tests a company’s mettle.

Our decades of experience with natural disasters like hurricanes, or cybersecurity emergencies like ransomware, means we have the knowledge, muscle, and practiced response to handle high-stress crisis situations.

Even though the servers were down and damaged, the dealership’s data was safe – it had been backed up to an offsite data center as part of our ongoing services.

The next steps were to reinstall power, get the internet back on, and acquire new equipment to access that data and get selling again. This couldn’t happen in the smoke-damaged and burned building, so we worked with Midland Motors to set up temporary trailers on-site.

New equipment was ordered and set up, and the service and accounting departments were up and running by Tuesday. New printers and computers hit the ground on Wednesday and were set up with temporary wiring out to the trailers.

The result? After a devastating fire, Midland Motors was only out of business for 3-4 days.

“We were fully back in business by that Friday,” Paul says. It could have easily been much longer.

“V-Tech was the point person – I didn’t have to be down for a month. The V-Tech rep was my eyes and ears on the ground. If we needed other vendors wrangled, they jumped in and helped.”

 And there was an unexpected silver lining to this situation: the Midland community and how they came out to support their local dealership. In the first days after the fire, the sales department sold around 20 vehicles on handshakes alone.

Once the computers were back up, every single one of those customers came back to officially buy.

“This speaks a lot about the trust that they have in that community,” says John Acosta, CEO of V-Tech Dealer IT. “That was the silver lining – that everybody rallied and stood behind the dealership.”

 

The Results

Even though the dealership was back online and selling in less than a week, there was still a lot of work to do, including restoration and rebuilding. 

Our technician was onsite for a couple of weeks after the fire and took multiple trips over the 18 months of repairs to ensure that everything – down to the cabling – was being done right.

“They were our IT company on the ground. We didn’t bring anyone else in, they did it all themselves,” Paul says.

While the customer was extremely happy with our performance, this is our standard operating procedure. “Even in the worst-case scenario, that’s when we really shine,” says John.

“Our sense of duty is to get the customer up and running as fast as possible after a critical situation. That’s what we promise and that’s what we deliver.”

Paul says: “I can call John anytime, day or night. If I have a serious issue, all I hear is ‘I’m on it’ and it gets fixed.”

 

Are you prepared if disaster strikes? Grab a time to chat about a free risk assessment that will clearly outline the vulnerabilities in your dealership’s IT infrastructure. Select a time here.