Author: Pinewood

Pinewood extends remote DMS access amidst COVID-19 crisis

The next few weeks will be a challenging time for our industry, with the impacts of coronavirus likely to affect us all. We want to reassure our customers that we’re doing all we can to maintain the highest levels of support to keep you up and running.

Our dedicated customer support teams and online portal will continue to operate as usual – ready to resolve any of your DMS-related queries. There will be no change to our opening hours as our team continue to maintain exceptional quality service.

Helping your team to stay safe is paramount. We’re giving all customers the chance to extend their VPN connectivity without charge. This will provide some additional resource to facilitate home working, so your team members can continue to operate as efficiently as possible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Stay safe and we will continue to keep you updated!

Nissan announces Pinewood as preferred supplier for eVHC

Pinewood Technologies has been selected as a Nissan Preferred Supplier – making them the only DMS vendor selected by Nissan for eVHC.

“Dealers could save around £2,000 per year with our integrated eVHC solution,” says Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood. “There’s no need to purchase additional software with the expense and hassle that entails.”

“As a business, we’re keen to adapt to evolving manufacturer requirements, optimising processes for dealers so they can boost efficiency. Pinewood DMS is constantly updated with new features and process improvements – our eVHC and many video capabilities, being great examples.”

Nissan reviewed a range of eVHC systems, evaluating their video capability, marketing and reporting, with a goal to “maximise future workshop upsell opportunities.”

In Pinewood DMS, Nissan and multi-brand dealers can identify areas of upsell, using standardised manufacturer checklists. Data collected is automatically submitted to the manufacturer via monthly feeds. Finally, dealers can trigger branded marketing communications at stages throughout the VHC, informing customers about the status of their vehicle and requesting customer work authorisations.

Pinewood’s eVHC tool will help support Nissan dealers to maximise future upsell opportunities.

Pinewood Technologies ‘Triathlon’ raises over £1k for a great cause!

Over £1,000 was raised by team members at Pinewood Technologies, as they held a triathlon-inspired fitness fundraiser in support of Prostate Cancer UK.

The triathlon-style event encouraged team members from across the business to get involved – taking half an hour during their working day to walk, run, cycle, or row in Pinewood’s onsite gym – all for a great cause!

To boost donations and get more people moving, team members could also nominate a colleague to take part, by donating to the charity.

The fundraiser was organised by one of Pinewood’s business placement students John Palmer, raising a grand total of £1,120 for Prostate Cancer UK. Collectively, team members ran the distance of 8 triathlons, cycled the distance of 5, and rowed a further 20!

During their year in industry, Pinewood’s business placement students are required to complete a checklist, which includes organising a company-wide event or fundraiser, allowing them to practice their project management skills.

“We challenge our placement students to hold fundraisers throughout their year with us,” explains Kiran Kundra, HR Business Partner. “It brings team members together, who may ordinarily not get the chance to interact – whilst allowing us to raise money for a host of fantastic and worthwhile causes. The triathlon was a huge success and we were proud to see so many team members take part – raising an incredible amount for Prostate Cancer UK!”

Technicians boost efficiency with Pinewood’s Workshop Planner

In the present challenging industry circumstances, more dealers are looking to their aftersales operations to boost profits. Pinewood DMS helps dealers achieve this through more efficient management, using a part of the system called Workshop Planner.

It helps dealers improve productivity, by allowing them to optimise the way they manage their technicians’ time. Users can visualise and allocate work using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Bookings can be reviewed and amended as they arise and with a real-time view of the technicians’ and service team’s workloads, service advisors can allocate jobs to available technicians.

“Workshop Planner also allows dealers to ensure that specialist technicians aren’t being misallocated to generalist jobs – a common error which stifles the potential revenue they could be generating from more skilled work,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood.

“By segmenting technicians into service teams and splitting them by skill category, it makes it simpler for management to allocate work according to the proficiency of technicians.”

Specifically designed for technicians to focus on work that requires attention, jobs in the planner change colour according to their status.

“The colour-coded planner makes it really easy to see which jobs need attention. Technicians can see exactly when work needs to be finished – allowing them to ensure the job is completed within the allotted timescale, or communicate delays with the customer. As a consequence, dealers have found that customer satisfaction has increased.”

Workshop jobs can also be accessed in Pinewood’s mobile app for technicians, Tech+, where they can seamlessly move through operations, speeding up technician clocking processes.

Dealers’ using Pinewood DMS have found the Workshop Planner particularly beneficial. The ability to project a real-time display of activity in their workshop has provided clarity, and allowed them to react easily to changing customer requirements – improving flexibility and providing a superb aftersales experience.

Pinewood moves training fully online with launch of E-Learning

The increasing demand for self-paced learning calls for a different method to conventional classroom training. Pinewood Technologies have launched an online training platform, allowing users to learn at their own convenience – wherever they want, whenever they want.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood, explains how E-Learning has transformed the way people learn:

“Online training allows our users to access courses designed specifically for their job roles – on desktops, tablets and mobile phones. Ranging from showroom courses for salespeople, to workshop courses for technicians, Pinewood’s E-Learning is a simpler, more effective way to learn about Pinewood DMS.”

Video-based courses and quizzes teach and test users’ ability to carry out processes in Pinewood DMS. Learners can follow actions described in the videos on the DMS at the same time, cementing their understanding of various processes.

“E-Learning courses allow both current and new team members at dealerships to enhance and refresh their knowledge of Pinewood DMS,” Briggs explains. “Users can watch videos and test their knowledge in areas of the system they have most contact with. Moreover, they can track their personal course progress and gain certificates on completion.”

“Why so much paper?” – Running the paperless dealership

Eliminating the need to produce, scan, destroy, archive and recover hundreds of documents every day, is a huge opportunity to streamline processes and boost the availability, accuracy and security of information, as well as save the environment…and save money. So why are dealerships still filled with the sound of rustling paper?

Let’s look at the scale of the issue and the reasons why a dealership should address it with urgency. Firstly, by vastly eliminating paper in just one dealership – through digitising processes such as invoicing, test drive documentation, deal files and job cards – a dealer can expect to save around £200,000 over five or six years. That’s over £30,000 per year saved on toner, paper, on and off-site storage, shredding and secure disposal.

Now let’s look at the impact on processes, efficiencies and customer experience. To save money and protect the environment, this first requires a workflow of paperless processes to be embedded throughout the business. Pinewood DMS, from Pinewood Technologies PLC, offers a solution for this.

For example, in the purchase ledger, dealers can scan, authorise, code, match and attach supplier invoices to postings in Pinewood DMS, flagging them for electronic authorisation. This eliminates relying on printed documentation reaching the correct person for authorisation, to be filed or scanned into the DMS, reducing paper consumption and administration.

Mobile, role-based apps, deliver an improved user experience, allowing users to work more efficiently and deliver excellent customer service through fully paperless processes. Pinewood’s card payments app, Pay+, reduces inefficiencies resulting from paper-heavy processes. Mark Lambird, Managing Director at Eastbourne Motoring Centre, explains the impact Pay+ has had on his business. “Previously, we would write out a daily till sheet and someone was running to and fro trying to put the payments and the transactions together. It all integrates so easily now, you can take deposits and payments and it goes straight to the job number, so it’s made life a lot easier having Pay+.”

In the workshop, technicians can use the Tech+ app to conduct a VHC entirely on their mobile device, use digital job cards, and capture a picture of any paper documents, which they can upload straight to the DMS.

Similarly, aftersales staff can benefit from Pinewood’s Host+ app, which is closely aligned with Tech+, to facilitate communication between service advisors and technicians. When the customer arrives at the dealership, a service advisor can approve the job, confirm the vehicle mileage, check the work requirements and amend the pickup time from their handheld device. Following this, they can record an arrival video with the customer, highlighting damage or areas requiring attention – along with capturing an e-signature for the work, which syncs to the customer record. Technicians can view these details in Tech+ as they complete the full VHC.

Outside of the workshop, Host+ also supports sales staff to provide a seamless experience from the first moment of interaction, through to the completion of a sale. Capturing an e-signature for test drive declarations is fast and easy, customers can sign on a tablet device, again saving it to the CRM record.

“This allows dealers to fully focus on their customers,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director. “Gone is the impracticality and hassle of dealing with a mountain of paperwork. A fully digital approach brings much more than just environmental benefits for dealerships.”

Stocktakes are also simplified and paperless. Dealers can use the Stock+ app to scan VINs using the camera on their mobile device, to log vehicle locations instead of using a tick sheet. They can also capture a picture of any paper documents, saving them directly to the stock card or CRM record, to remove the need for manual filing.

Finally, Pinewood DMS lets dealers submit VAT returns electronically, in line with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital legislation introduced earlier this year.

Pinewood will continue to focus on eliminating paper for their tens of thousands of users, increasing dealer profitability and helping to protect the environment.

Porsche dealers win back hours each day with new Pinewood integration

Pinewood Technologies has launched their latest integration with Porsche. Porsche Centres across the UK recently piloted Pinewood’s new integration with PVMS – Porsche Sales and Vehicle Management System – which saves dealers around half an hour of administration when ordering a vehicle.

The salesperson builds each order in Porsche’s PVMS online configurator, adding optional extras such as heated seats. Upon completion, a commission number is returned to Pinewood DMS, automatically updating the DMS with the full order details.

“It’s not unusual for a Porsche order to feature in excess of twenty additional options, so being able to import this saves significant time for dealers, who would otherwise manually rekey every item,” explains Neville Briggs, Pinewood’s Managing Director.

“It’s one of the best improvements I’ve experienced with Pinewood DMS,” said one user, a salesperson at Porsche Wolverhampton.

The PVMS integration automatically updates the price list in Pinewood DMS, ensuring that data is up-to-date and accurate. In addition, any amendments made to an order from the vehicle stock card in Pinewood DMS will automatically update PVMS – making the process faster and more efficient.

Pinewood are excited to offer this integration to Porsche dealers across the UK.

“Pinewood is taking our business into a new modern era”

Ashley Beecham, Financial Controller at TL Darby explains how Pinewood DMS has impacted business at the Volkswagen dealership:

“We are a Volkswagen dealership located in Burton Upon Trent, with around 70 staff members, providing new, used, service and parts operations. We transitioned to Pinewood DMS in April 2019 and the impact on the business has been phenomenal. The improvement on reporting has helped us to manage the business in a more efficient manner.

The CRM element has given us the opportunity to deliver an improved customer service, and prospect the database with more accuracy enabling bespoke marketing campaigns. The accounts function is now completely straightforward, well-organised and transparent. The system is able to adapt to our changing business needs and reporting desires, and perfect for auditing.

The implementation itself was well planned and supported throughout, plus all of the Pinewood staff involved went above and beyond to deliver a first-class service. With the use of Stock+ we are able to upload documents to stock records and even complete stock checks from mobile phones, and the system keeps on growing and evolving with new features and upgrades added consistently.

Pinewood is taking our business into a new modern era and myself and all at TL Darby would wholly recommend the system.”

To read more of our customers’ testimonials, click here.

Pinewood launches new app to improve the sales experience

Pinewood Technologies have released their new Sales+ app, designed to improve dealers’ selling processes and promote a fantastic customer experience.

Following its initial release, Sales+ includes all the great benefits of Pinewood’s meet and greet app Host+, in addition to several brand new features, exclusive to Sales+.

The new app introduces ‘kiosk mode’, allowing customers to safely and discretely input their financial details into the DMS in advance of a quotation or vehicle sale. Other highlights of Sales+ include the ability to digitally sign test drive forms, upload any relevant documents straight to the CRM record from the app, and conduct vehicle appraisals entirely from the salesperson’s tablet device. These new features will help dealers eliminate paperwork, removing the need to archive paper copies, whilst streamlining the sales process.

Read more about Sales+ here. 

Supercharge aftersales profits with Pinewood DMS

As new vehicle sales decline, there is increasing urgency for dealers to find alternative revenue sources, with many looking to their aftersales departments. Despite the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles and the reliability of modern cars – reducing billable workshop hours – Pinewood Technologies believe there are still plenty of opportunities to profit.

“We are learning from markets that are more advanced in terms of their adoption of electric vehicles. From our experience in these markets, such as the Nordics, we’ve observed that dealers capture more of the work that a traditional UK dealership might not pursue as actively. For example – tyres, smart repairs and even glass repairs,” explains Managing Director, Neville Briggs.

To capture every opportunity, Pinewood DMS encourages dealers to strike while the iron is hot, when customers are more likely to authorise identified work. “The best time to upsell is when the car is in the workshop, not when the customer has gone home and has the opportunity to shop around, or faces the prospect of having to revisit the dealership, which isn’t efficient for anyone,” says Briggs. “Our most successful and profitable customers are already aware of this”.

Pinewood DMS offers a built-in vehicle checking process to build trust with customers, who are more likely to authorise further work and therefore generate more revenue. To provide transparency, dealers can send a booking confirmation to the customer, with a video link explaining the arrival and check-in process. Service advisors can be pre-allocated to an appointment, so they are ready to greet the customer and begin the VHC process.

Pinewood’s app for sales and service, Host+, allows the filming of an arrival video from the convenience of a mobile device. Doing this with the customer present provides more credibility than if the dealer were to contact the customer later in the day and gives them more time to consider proceeding with the additional work. However, when upselling, dealers must have clear pricing and the stock required. Features such as menu pricing, inbuilt tyre catalogues, recommended ordering (based on previous ­supply trends) and automatic re-ordering of parts, address these challenges.

VHC video is a major highlight of Pinewood’s technician app, Tech+. Technicians can capture and send clips of damage to customers straight from the ramp, with a link to instantly authorise or reject the work. This has proven to significantly impact conversion rates and aftersales profits.

The past year has seen the release of brand new versions of all three of Pinewood’s aftersales apps; Tech+, Parts+ and Host+, for technicians, parts advisors and service/salespeople respectively. These bring a range of new capabilities, such as digitally signing documents to reduce paperwork, issuing parts on the move and barcode scanning.

A growing business

Pinewood are constantly growing their team to drive their customers’ businesses forward, this year hiring 27 new graduates. Additionally, the introduction of Live-chat and an extensive knowledge-base have proven immensely popular, enhancing the customer support experience.

These advancements will help dealers to truly make the most of Pinewood DMS’ ever-expanding features, enabling them to boost profitability and overcome market challenges.

Leading Netherlands IVECO dealer goes live with Pinewood DMS

The Netherlands’ leading IVECO dealer, Schouten, celebrated a successful implementation of Pinewood DMS with champagne and cake!

With IVECO Schouten in Veghel now live, the dealer group will continue to roll-out Pinewood DMS across the 10 remaining sites – another exciting step for Pinewood as the company continues to grow internationally.

“Every system we implement in the Netherlands celebrates with a specially-made cake,” explains Steve Meadows, Product Director of Pinewood Technologies. “We’re looking forward to keeping Dutch bakers busy, with many more Pinewood DMS implementations planned.”

The Dutch dealer group, who represent the IVECO and Fiat Professional brands, selected Pinewood DMS for their future-oriented approach to dealer systems, coupled with the significant advantages gained by having an all-in-one DMS solution, bringing flexibility and innovation to the forefront of their strategy.

“The features of Pinewood DMS fit well with the requirements of IVECO Schouten, fully supporting our business in all areas.” Pinewood’s cloud-based, multi-lingual, multi-currency, single system approach is unique among DMS providers, making it faster to create and deliver updates, integrations and enhancements for dealers across the globe.

Pinewood’s growth in the Netherlands is managed by their Dutch partner, Grayhams, who look forward to supporting the team at IVECO Schouten through a prosperous and profitable future.

27 fresh faces join Pinewood to shape the future of automotive retail

This summer, 27 undergraduate students have joined Pinewood Technologies, eager to pour their energy into a career in automotive technology, embarking on a year-long placement with one of the UK’s leading DMS providers.

Each year Pinewood carefully selects a group of undergraduates from the UK’s best universities to join their popular business and software development placement schemes (which in 2019 had over a thousand applicants), with the expectation that most will return upon completion of their degrees. This year’s intake is a record in undergrad recruitment for the global DMS business.

The business-focused students will work in a variety of roles throughout their ‘year-in-industry’, whilst software engineering students will be given development projects, working directly on improving the DMS and Pinewood’s role-based apps. Those who show potential, and add value for customers, can expect the offer of a role after graduation; their placement acting as a working interview.

As Pinewood continues the path of international growth, this demonstrates a commitment to invest in the next generation of experts.

“Hiring undergraduates is crucial for our business,” explains Kiran Kundra, HR Business Partner. “We invest time and effort to identify where they’d be best placed to learn the most and deliver optimum value for our customers. We’ve retained a skilled base of senior staff and people who are now leaders, who started with us on placement and now contribute significantly to the performance of our company. Today, 20% of our workforce are students, which brings our business fresh perspectives and helps us to keep our customers on top.”

Pinewood’s 27 undergraduates will learn how the DMS business is adapting to the rapidly changing marketplace. This provides young people with an opportunity to make an impact, by involving them in Pinewood’s latest innovations to provide dealers with new profit opportunities and higher margins.

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