Month: June 2023

Embracing the Future for DMS in Today’s Dealerships

In today’s rapidly evolving automotive landscape, dealerships find themselves at the centre of transformative changes. The traditional car dealer model is undergoing a significant shift, driven by changing customer habits, agency models, and ongoing technological advances.

A forward-thinking dealer group cannot afford to rely on legacy solutions. By embracing the future and leveraging the capabilities of a cutting-edge dealer management system (DMS), dealer groups can position themselves at the forefront of innovation. When choosing a DMS or evaluating an existing system, several considerations should be taken if dealers are looking to survive in this changing climate.

Does the system embrace the omnichannel experience?

As industry and consumer trends evolve, it’s essential for dealerships to adapt too. The DMS must align with changing customer expectations by facilitating both digital and in-store touchpoints.

Pinewood’s role-based apps and digital tools have been instrumental in supporting a seamless omnichannel experience and select third-party partners play a role in this. The addition of secure account-to-account payments, eSignatures, and branded media tools have encouraged Pinewood users to digitalise their customer journey.

Will Webb, the Service Manager for Green 4 Motor Company explains how Pinewood’s digital tools have allowed them to remove paper in the Workshop –

“We haven’t used a physical job card for over a year. Pinewood enabled us to go paperless because it cuts out the need for a job card. You can sign everything on the tablet, the Technician can write everything they need to on a job card on their phone.

The job progress screen has everything on it that a job card needed. Which saves time. You’re never losing a job card. You will never lose a job. It also saves space, not needing to store paper in boxes upstairs.”

All-in-one solution vs. bolt-on systems: which is best for your business?

Whether operating a single site or a multi-brand group, dealerships require a DMS that offers value for money, ease of use and helps them achieve their goals. An all-in-one solution like Pinewood DMS incorporates all the necessary features and tools within a single platform. If a dealership has the right system for its needs, there will be no need for bolt-on systems.

Dougal Keith, Managing Director at DM Keith Motors, highlights the importance of a unified system –  

“Having one system to replace lots of different ones was fundamental for us. Pinewood DMS has revolutionised our workflows, fundamentally changing how we operate – more efficiently and effectively. With Pinewood, you’re constantly moving forward.”

Legacy systems that fail to provide one system for the entire business will not be equipped for the rapid changes happening across the industry. Not only will dealers be left behind with legacy systems, but integrating separate software components can complicate workflow. Dealerships must consider extra time and costs for training, relationships with multiple providers, subscription fees, and more.

Choosing a system that embraces innovation to avoid stagnation

Modern cloud-based systems are continuously changing and innovating, ready to react to the latest changes across the industry. In contrast, legacy providers require dealerships to pay for a highly disruptive yearly update – if they’re lucky.

As an industry pioneer, Pinewood is heavily invested in innovation – often features that other providers tease as ‘new and cutting-edge’, were released to its own users decades ago. It’s important to sift through the noise to identify which DMS truly delivers on its promises.

Denis Murphy, Managing Director at Blackwater Motors shares his thoughts on choosing Pinewood DMS –

“It was time to move on, time for a change, so we moved to Pinewood… We wished to provide our customers with an integrated digital experience, online bookings and payment facilities, and access to their cars’ progress through our workshops online. This makes our customer experience more enjoyable and paperless.”


Dealers must be prepared to embrace change and be supported by an advanced dealer management system. Third-party partners play a crucial role in the automotive industry, offering integration with non-industry specific tools such as digital signatures or payment processing. These partnerships provide added value and extended capabilities to DMS providers and their customers.

However, it is worth noting that DMS providers that rely heavily on partner integration for industry-specific applications might be compensating for shortcomings in their systems. While leveraging partnerships can enhance the overall functionality of a DMS, it is essential for providers to strike a balance between their core offerings and the reliance on third-party integrations. A well-designed DMS should ideally possess robust native features, minimising the need for excessive partner integrations and ensuring a comprehensive and seamless solution for automotive dealers.

See how Pinewood DMS is transforming commercial dealers

With the demand for online shopping, home deliveries and convenience only set for continued growth, commercial dealerships should be capitalising on this opportunity. From improving workshop productivity to improving the omnichannel experience for fleet customers, commercial dealers should be seeking new ways to squeeze extra revenue.

Flexible service communications

To boost the take-up of service bookings and aftersales revenue, commercial dealers must adapt their communications and follow-ups accordingly. It’s essential to find a DMS that supports custom checklists, amendable service intervals and flexible follow-ups depending on the vehicle type. Helping to target the right customers, at the right time and boost aftersales revenue.

Retaining fleet customers is even more essential than in a passenger car workshop, with multiple vehicles likely to require servicing at each visit. Therefore, commercial dealers need the tools to track the effectiveness of communications. With Pinewood DMS, leaders have access to data-rich reports, making it easy to share future communications and optimise performance.

Fully digital service journey

When fleets are being serviced, it is imperative for commercial dealers to maintain clear visibility within their workshop to ensure operations run as efficiently as possible. Digital job cards allow instant access to service details for leaders and technicians alike, reducing the risk of miscommunication. Similarly, digital workshop planners with drag-and-drop allocation ensure the right technicians are working the right jobs.

With a mobile app like Tech+, technicians can perform instant vehicle health checks with detailed service notes. Technicians can also report any urgent work needed, which fleet managers can digitally approve of remotely via eSignature – all in a matter of minutes. Additionally, as part of the digital journey, an online Job Status Tracker provides the fleet customer with a clear view of the vehicle progress in the workshop and off-site with subcontractors.

Working closely with manufacturers

Commercial dealers can also boost their service offering with Pinewood’s range of OEM integrations. Service contracts can be customised and created at sale allowing service invoices to charge into the plan, with the account’s postings all taken care of. Menu pricing is also available, which allows fleet managers to have their own predefined requirements to simplify the preparation request.

No matter the brand or type of vehicle they offer, commercial dealers can instantly benefit from Pinewood’s suite of digital tools. The digital features available in Pinewood DMS, provide customers transparency whilst boosting efficiency across the workshop.

To learn more about how Pinewood DMS makes handling fleets as easy as ever, contact our team today.

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