Upward Management Group

User Experience focused Workflow tool for Rent-to-own Contracts

Upward Management's disjointed technology led to a segmented workflow. They needed a system that would handle contract management, support their different types of users, and securely handle financial information. Their software:

  • Consolidated a segmented workflow into a unified system
  • Customizable workflow for differences between manufacturers and state laws
  • Enables Online signature capability for contracts
  • Features an efficient UX with streamlined contract onboarding and integrations
  • Increased security for sensitive financial information

Upward Management Group—RoleModel Partner Spotlight

The Story:

Are you struggling with disjointed technology that hinders your ideal workflow? Upward Management Group was experiencing that problem with their contract origination process. Based in Salisbury, NC, Upward is a rent-to-own financing firm partnered with ten manufacturers and working with a network of dealers in twenty-eight states.

Upward had an older custom software from a different company that was adequate but didn’t solve all their problems; recently, the previous company decided they did not want to continue supporting development. They wanted to rebuild their custom software—creating something more sustainable and efficient, with improved sophistication and customization. They also wanted to build their system with room to grow and scale.  

RoleModel Software understood and empathized with their problem and showed Upward a vision of a software system that would unify their segmented workflow and position them to scale. RoleModel was happy to engage in the complexity of Upward’s business model. Their multi-step workflow was challenging, and RoleModel dove right in, collaboratively overcoming technical hurdles and helping their team navigate trade-offs in their solution.

Upward’s software needed different functions for different types of users; RoleModel delivered tailored software that added visibility to workflow and new campaigns and simplified the process for their office staff, dealers, truck drivers, and renters. 

“Other companies said, ‘We can build that for you.’ RoleModel said, ‘We’ve done this before.’ That difference of ‘we can do it’ versus ‘we have done it,’ is huge.”

Tanner Leibee
President
Upward Management Group

Overview

Upward Management Group is a rent-to-own financing firm for small, portable structures (i.e., sheds, decks, and carports). They are based in North Carolina and conduct business in 28 states through their network of dealers for manufacturing and sales, and truck drivers that are independent contractors. Their team’s workflow contains many moving parts, making streamlining their process a challenge. They wanted a unified system where dealers, back office staff, and truck drivers could communicate effectively and have pertinent information in one place.

Upward needed a new software system that unified their workflow into a more efficient system for their employees and contractors. While collaborating with RoleModel, they were also working through a specialty law firm to rework the rent-to-own contracts to standardize that part of the process as much as possible across states.

Problem

Upward approached RoleModel after their old software company decided that they no longer wanted to support their legacy software. Their existing system only met the bare minimum of needed functions, so they wanted to take this opportunity to upgrade the capabilities of their system. The system was designed for use with a single manufacturer, they were using it for three of their manufacturers, duplicating the system each time—they needed a tool that would support all of their manufacturers in a unified system. 

Their old system only handled contract origination, and Upward had developed various tools through spreadsheets that handled the rest of their process, but their workflow was divided. Upward wanted the system to manage contracts, expand their office capabilities, and handle their inventory and invoicing—all while increasing their accuracy by decreasing room for errors, building better reporting capabilities, and adding visibility to their sales initiatives. 

Upward’s dealers all function differently; some use other third-party platforms, while some want to use hard copies or PDFs, and some want to use the new app. Because of these variations, their new software needed to be able to accommodate the dealer's workflow. 

With so many moving parts in their workflow, Upward’s software project allowed RoleModel to learn their business intimately, working with their team to identify and build a solution to help their business operate more effectively. 

Solution

After partnering with RoleModel, Upward’s new system now handles contract signing in-house. Since they operate in many states, their system must adapt to each state's different requirements, with the form automatically matching the required specifications while providing an optimized signing interface for mobile and desktop.

They also wanted their new software to make things easier for their independent contractors, especially their truck drivers. The office staff needed a way to communicate with their drivers in their app, but the truck drivers often did not want to have to log into an app. The solution was to build a tool into the app where the office staff could communicate with the truck drivers through email or SMS using the app, but the truck drivers were not required to use the app if they chose not to. The drivers can also scan QR codes to complete their workflows rather than logging into the system. 

Throughout the project, Upward and RoleModel looked for opportunities to simplify and shorten workflows in the system. A great example of that is the integration with Upward’s backend accounting system (RTO Pro). Part of the project goal was syncing initial payment information to RTO Pro, but RoleModel also identified how to fully automate the import of new contracts into RTO Pro. The integration saved dozens of hours per week of manual data entry. 

RoleModel and Upward collaborated to identify that their custom software solution's biggest value was providing an easier process for their stakeholders, namely their dealers and truck drivers. The dealers need contracts that are easy to fill out while having the ability to imagine “what if” scenarios (i.e., What if we changed the dimensions? What if I took a longer lease?”). Their new platform makes it easier to go to new dealers and recruit them to sign up for the new platform. Additionally, their truck drivers have an easier time by including everything they need in the app.

In the end, RoleModel gave Upward a clean, modern, efficient workflow tool—a user-friendly software that made work easier for their front-end dealers and contained back-end improvements for active contracts.

Results

Upward has fully rolled out the software to reap the benefits of a combined system. The system's architecture allowed them to easily bring on a new partner shortly after RoleModel wrapped up initial development. 

The retrievals department has seen significant improvements since implementing the software. Their previous spreadsheet-based workflow, which took them 2 minutes and 17 seconds per pickup (they timed it), is now down to around 15 seconds, with better filtering, mapping, and reporting tools.

By working with RoleModel, Upward has streamlined their processes, and now they are excited to explore the opportunities their software gives them. Our partnership continues on new feature enhancements that continue to increase the return on the investment in their software asset.