I Did It Because I Could

“Because I could.” was the response given by former President Bill Clinton when asked by news anchor Dan Rather why he had become involved with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. I heard this just days after I had written an article for the July 2004 issue of Dealer Marketing Magazine, in which I suggested that there were just two basic causes that lead otherwise good employees to commit dishonest acts. These causes are: opportunity and the belief that they can get away with it. When these two conditions exist simultaneously, employees will commit dishonest acts just because they can. Hearing the former president’s explanation for his actions, so simply stated, confirmed to me what I had known for years–but only recently understood. Simply eliminating the basic causes can stop employee dishonesty of almost any type, including misuse and abuse of dealer demo plates.

Now, I don’t pretend to know enough to advise anyone on how to eliminate these causes in many of the complex operations of a modern dealership, but I am certain that if they were eliminated–or at least controlled to some degree–the losses due to employee theft would be dramatically reduced.

When it comes to solving problems with demo plates, I can assure you that the implementation of a quality demo plate control system, designed specifically for the purpose of controlling demo plates, eliminates both the opportunity to misuse or abuse the use of demo plates, in addition to the belief that such abuse or misuse will go undetected. When employees realize that demo plates are constantly accounted for and that they can no longer have a demo plate without anyone knowing who has it, where it is, or when it was last seen, they understand that they can no longer take advantage of a dealer’s assets for their own benefit.

Many dealerships have experienced serious problems caused by uncontrolled demo plates. In one example, a dealer’s insurers refused to renew unless measures were taken to rein in uncontrolled demo plates. In another case a dealership had more than 100 unaccounted-for demo plates and was at risk of being audited by the state. Installing and implementing a demo plate control system solved both of these dealerships’ problems.

In virtually every instance where a control system has been implemented, which did not rely on some person, employee, or manager for the integrity of its operation, the games with demo plates in the dealerships have stopped immediately. Our experience indicates that most salespeople who have worked in dealerships that used a demo plate control system preferred having such a system to not having one. Many salespeople and managers, when moving to other dealerships, encourage their new employers to install demo plate control equipment. These employees realize that their time is too valuable to waste babysitting dealers’ demo plates. They want to stay focused on selling, because that is how they and their dealer earn their living.

Bernard Boule, president of M-Tech, has designed and developed products for the auto retail industry for 20 years. He holds numerous patents, trademarks, and copyrights. He can be contacted at 800-642-4522 or at bboule@m-tech.ws.

Bernard Boule


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