Month: March 2021

Built-in versus bolt-ons – The DMS dilemma

With so many different systems on the market offering tools for every aspect of a dealer’s business, it’s difficult to know which route to take. Which bolt-ons to choose, and how many to add? If a Dealer Management System can’t do the job without bolt-ons, can it really meet your business’ needs – or are you left paying over the odds with only half the tools you require?

The ‘Bolt-on’ DMS Model

There are hundreds of additional systems on the market – you name it, there’s a system for it, generally offering features where the DMS provider has stopped short. This situation has evolved naturally over the decades, but as digitalisation has leaped forward in the last year, it presents a real challenge to providing a truly digital customer experience.

While bolt-on solutions may integrate to some extent, this all adds to the cost and complexity of managing dealer systems. The alternative is to look for an all-in-one DMS where every module is integrated and the essential tools are built into the system, designed to work entirely in sync.

Bolt-ons thrive when there are gaps between the DMS and the most effective business model, often showing the pathway to a fully digital business. Unless the DMS company is continually investing in closing these gaps, purchasing more and more bolt-ons becomes almost compulsory.

Dominic Threlfall, Managing Director of Pebley Beach explains:

“Dealers often use all these different systems, but they all have to be maintained. By having one system, the cost saving to the business is massive!”

The ‘Built-in’ DMS Model

Looking at a system like Pinewood DMS, common bolt-on features like workshop planning, VHC video, document storage and credit cards – they’re all included in the DMS. And because they’re built-in, they sync that bit better with what’s going on around them to create a fluid customer journey and a 360-degree view of the business.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains:

“With Pinewood DMS, everything is built-in – your tools and business areas are synced, so everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet. Of course, there are the manufacturer systems and selected third parties that will need to be integrated, but we hear from so many dealers juggling separate systems about just how challenging it can be! Cost is a huge factor, plus the inconvenience of constantly switching systems. Staff need training on every system too – it really adds up!”

Darren Lakin, Aftersales Director at Wessex describes his views:

“By taking away bolt-on providers, it has allowed us to integrate our VHC process and CRM management, giving us the whole package in one place. There’s no more double-keying, so it’s a much more efficient and streamlined process.”

By reducing the number of bolt-ons, the dealer team no longer need to switch systems or re-key information just to carry out day-to-day tasks. The leadership have a clearer view with just one set of activity information to manage and can focus on creating value, rather than managing dozens of integration points and commercial relationships.

The DMS Dilemma

More than ever, it’s on dealers to be brave and break away from old habits. If your DMS is technically behind the times and without a path to keep up, it’s impossible for you to stay on top of the game – and the more you compensate with bolt-ons, the more fragmented your processes can become.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because most large dealer groups now maintain over 20 different software systems and many are now realising that decreasing, rather than increasing this complexity, is the path to the digital future. And this means addressing the problem at its source by finding a DMS provider that’s ready for the journey.

Pinewood introduces more new Ford interfaces to their DMS.

After recently launching their Ford REACT! integration in Ireland, Pinewood Technologies have added more new features for Ford dealers. Working closely with the brand, Pinewood now better supports the repair order process – with new integration available for Uptime Management and Digital Service Records (DSR) coming soon.

Pinewood’s Job Progress Tracker works with Uptime Management to send automatic vehicle status updates from the Workshop straight to Ford, making it easy to identify any holdups as jobs are worked on and support with any tricky repairs. Dealers are boosting efficiency and improving customer satisfaction – with customers already having reported a “five-day reduction in VOR time” * as a direct result.

Pinewood have also improved Digital Service Records for Ford dealers – integrating with the FordEtis system. The new DSR interface can send service details over to Ford, making it easier to track and export service history. This saves dealers switching between systems – both are interconnected, making the process faster and clearer. Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains:

“When filling in a job card for warranty repairs, many technicians still print them, adding notes by hand before scanning them over to the manufacturer. It proves to be inefficient, especially now dealers are becoming more digitally focused, and oily fingerprints make them difficult to read. Dealers can now add notes to jobs digitally, straight from Pinewood’s Tech+ app, then send to Ford using the new DSR interface. It’s much faster!”

Pinewood’s DSR interface is currently in pilot, soon to be available for Ford customers alongside Uptime Management – extending Pinewood’s growing manufacturer integration suite.

 

 

*Paul Singleton (Operations Director) and Sarah Brettle (FCSD Director), Ford of Britain.

Pinewood customers boost VHC revenue with Bumper finance integration!

Pinewood Technologies has partnered with Bumper – offering dealers’ a built-in tool to boost VHC revenue. Motorists can pay for their Vehicle Health Check using interest-free monthly repayments, making costly repairs more affordable. Spreading payments has been a game changer, with dealers’ already seeing significant results.

Chris Taylor, Group IT Director at Cambria Automobiles PLC explains:

“Many drivers are worried about expensive repairs on their cars, especially in today’s climate – but Pinewood’s Bumper integration really makes the difference. Splitting VHC bills into smaller payments makes them more affordable, so more of our customers are happy to go ahead with extra work. It’s a win-win!”

Using Pinewood’s Tech+ app, technicians can record a video, showing any red (urgent) or amber (advisory) work they’ve identified. This can be quickly sent to the customer for approval – straight from the DMS, with the option to apply for finance at the same time.

Taylor explains – “We build trust with our customers by highlighting any issues we find on their vehicle in a friendly video straight from the ramp. Alongside this, the flexibility of monthly payments has led to a significant rise in the take-up of VHC work across our dealerships, all integrated within the DMS. It’s really helped us to boost VHC revenue.”

The process is seamless, taking just moments from end-to-end. The customers’ details instantly pull through to Bumper from the DMS, populating the finance application form. Once approved, the work is invoiced directly to the dealers’ Bumper sales ledger account, so payments can be quickly allocated with no fuss.

Bumper finance integration is now available in Pinewood DMS.

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