Month: November 2018

Dealers urged not to let Apprenticeship Levy funds go to waste

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy is encouraging more employers to focus on developing young people.

“It’s important that businesses are aware that there are funds to make use of – use them or lose them,” says Lara Mazzolari, HR Partner at Dealer Management System provider, Pinewood Technologies PLC. “There are thousands of pounds available for training the next generation of talent to help push your business forward.”

All businesses with an annual wage bill of over £3 million per annum are required to contribute 0.5% of their payroll towards this government levy, which subsidises the training and education of UK apprenticeships. In return, these employers are eligible to receive an allowance of £15,000 towards funding their own apprenticeship schemes.

The levy is not just restricted to larger companies or aimed at recruiting college leavers – businesses with a wage bill beneath the £3 million quota also benefit with a 90% subsidy offered towards the training costs of both technical and business based apprenticeships.

“We appreciate how difficult it is to find the right people,” says Mazzolari. “We have an ever-expanding team at Pinewood. This includes degree-level apprentices and Level 3 apprentices. The levy has let us develop the specialist industry knowledge and software skills we look for in candidates, adapting to our values and culture from a young age, so we can easily shape them into the ideal fit for each role. We have success stories from people who have worked their way through the business, who will continue to advance their career with us upon completion.”

Pinewood are committed to investing in future talent, fuelling the continued innovation and growth of the software business – a strategy that is paying dividends and which they urge other automotive businesses to consider.

Automotive retailers should be turning to this opportunity for a cost-effective way to recruit and train the next generation of vehicle technicians, sales teams or service advisors – there are apprenticeships available in all of these areas.

Dealers are missing out on winter profit

Nobody will forget the ‘Beast from the East’ bringing the UK to a standstill. With a likely repeat of the extreme weather we faced last winter, drivers will want to be prepared – providing dealers a prime opportunity to capitalise on the increased demand for winter tyres.

Dealers should be encouraging their customers to switch to winter tyres, having highlighted this revenue-generating opportunity for the upcoming season. Focused on boosting profits, Pinewood has developed a new ‘tyre hotel’ feature, promoting dealers to efficiently manage their tyre storage and servicing business, all within the DMS.

Introducing a ‘tyre hotel’ service generates revenue in three key ways; selling tyres, storing tyres and cross-selling to customers – who need to bring their vehicle to the dealership at least two more times than usual, in a twelve-month period. This creates an opportunity to uncover additional revenue more frequently.

“We’re constantly investing in new ways for dealers to capture revenue,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies PLC. “It’s a common misconception that UK drivers don’t need winter tyres. In reality, switching to winter tyres becomes useful when temperatures are 7 degrees and below, typical of the UK from October through to March. It’s an opportunity to generate additional revenue.”

Pinewood’s new ‘tyre hotel’ feature gives dealers the ability to capture tyre details using an integrated tyre catalogue. Dealers are able to generate and print contracts and invoices for the storage of tyres. Labels can be printed and stuck to each tyre, displaying the customer it belongs to, along with the details.

Customisable checklists can also be added to tyre inspections, highlighting key areas for technicians to check.

These features will help transform the typical small-scale tyre storage setup, into a scalable, revenue-generating business opportunity.

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