Author: Pinewood

Pinewood DMS helps dealers go digital! Boost sales in Lockdown 2.0

The recent lockdowns have provided an unexpected motivation for dealers to revisit the abilities of their DMS and explore how to achieve an engaging, contactless buying experience.

Pinewood users have discovered a range of tools for creating a seamless digital customer journey and perhaps surprisingly, mobile apps are playing a big part in this. Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies explains:

“It’s been our mission to help customers uncover new ways of generating revenue. Our popular Stock+ app has been central to successfully taking the initial sales experience online. Salespeople can record and send a personalised video, show highlights of the vehicle up-close and answer any questions. It’s more engaging than a call or email and of course, more likely to convert enquiries. Being integrated into the DMS, managers can easily see that enquiries are being dealt with when working remotely.”

With the Stock+ app, salespeople can take high quality vehicle photos on their phone, which are updated to dealer and OEM web sites directly through the DMS. Pinewood have recently improved this and the upload process can now enhance images by automatically removing the background. As a result, sales teams can create professional-level content without the need for editing skills.

Mark Lambird, Managing Director at Eastbourne Motoring Centre explains: “Using Stock+, we definitely sell more cars! People buy the cars much quicker if they can see them in a video – we can talk over the features and benefits, it’s been a real positive.”

Personalised video has undoubtedly changed the game for car sales. From home, customers can benefit from the expertise and assurance of speaking to a professional in-store while taking a virtual tour of the vehicle. This can be followed-up with a convenient two-way SMS conversation, all accessible from the DMS customer record.

Pinewood are constantly updating the DMS with a focus on enhancing the digital sales experience. By making use of these tools, dealers can boost revenue with little effort or cost and it’s clear that contact-free tools are the way to go.

 

 

 

New Graduates remotely join Pinewood’s fast-growing team

After welcoming 10 new placement students earlier this year, for the first time learning and working entirely from home, Pinewood Technologies has recruited a further 10 graduates to join their Software Development team in November.

Thrilled by the results of their remote training plan, with undergraduates already assisting with real projects in their teams, Pinewood are keen to continue expanding. The introduction of new talent into Pinewood’s software teams will support the DMS business to achieve their ambitious growth strategy.

Katrina McTernan, Early Careers Recruiter at Pinewood explains: “We’re a hive of activity right now, with a huge focus on taking Pinewood DMS into new markets. Our developers have truly embraced the lockdown, focusing on delivering great new features that are benefitting our UK and international customers. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we grow our teams to accommodate. This is a fantastic opportunity for our new graduates to start their career in a fast-paced environment, embracing new ways of learning, to quickly become valuable members of the team!”

Pinewood’s graduates will follow a similar boot camp to that of placement students. Each graduate will be assigned an experienced mentor, whilst taking part in live daily workshops via Microsoft Teams, learning everything they need to become a Full-Stack Developer. Graduates will be given a checklist to complete, keeping their progress on track and encouraging them to boost their technical knowledge.

Katrina concludes: “It’s our priority to find the best, passionate people for our business – we’ve invested a lot of time in creating the best remote training plan and we’re excited to see what the future brings. With over 20 developers having joined us remotely throughout lockdown, it’s an exciting new chapter for Pinewood!”

 

 

Pinewood BI provides profit-boosting insights

Dealers have the tools to be smarter than ever in their business decisions. When Pinewood launched their Business Intelligence (BI), it gave dealers the potential to look beyond the standard DMS reports, bringing new insights to light. Leaders can access live data in seconds from their mobile, delving into every area of the business in just a few clicks, from anywhere worldwide. It’s never been easier.

After launching BI for Porsche Norway, Stine Hagen, Corporate Business Development Manager, explained how the mobile intelligence tool delivered immediate results: “Leaders went from spending hours on KPI reports to having them live on their computer and phone at all times. This is an excellent tool for all leaders to see what part of the dealership needs their attention in a hectic everyday life.”

From struggling sales teams to inefficient workshops, Pinewood BI can help identify why businesses are falling behind, highlighting areas of concern and indicating where productivity can be improved. Fully integrated with Pinewood DMS, Pinewood BI acts as a ‘behind the scenes’ detective, interpreting real-time data through easy-to-understand, visual reports. Even away from the dealership, leaders can maintain full visibility and control, accessing the entire reporting suite from their mobile – giving them a huge competitive advantage.

Hagen explains: We strive to give the best value and service for our customers, which can only be achieved through complete internal transparency and process control. Pinewood has given us the perfect tool to monitor and steer all aspects, from trade-ins to car sales, service and used cars. Combined with the financial capabilities of the system, we’ve reached new levels of process excellence.”

BI is available for any dealer groups using Pinewood DMS, offering a powerful tool for building profit and productivity-focused reports, fully accessible on a PC or mobile device. This brings the data dealers want to their fingertips, anywhere at any time, providing full transparency.

 

 

 

 

Pinewood Sponsors Birmingham Open Hack 2020

Pinewood Technologies proudly sponsored the Birmingham Open Hack event which took place this weekend, challenging students from Birmingham City University to an online hackathon. Students put their technical skills to the test in a competitive 48-hour online challenge, with other major sponsors including IBM, Santander and Microsoft. Pinewood were impressed by the passion, commitment and technical skills displayed, Katrina McTernan, Early Careers Recruiter at Pinewood explains:

“It was inspiring to see such energy from the next generation of our tech community – these students have set the benchmark, giving us a clear picture of the level of talent we can expect to be joining our teams in the near future.”

Pinewood’s challenge was to develop a Microsoft Teams Bot for remote classrooms, allowing teachers to create flash cards and questions to present to students, returning results back to the teacher. Pinewood were impressed by efforts from all candidates, viewing the hackathon with fantastic potential to bring new talent into their software teams. Katrina discusses:

“We invest a lot in early careers, hiring up to 20 Computer Science Graduates and Undergraduates each year to grow the best talent. Being involved in events like Birmingham Open Hack allows us to scout out new talent, it’s great to see so many students showing an interest in development beyond their course of study.”

Pinewood are recruiting developers to join their team, with roles for Placement Students, Graduates and Senior Developers. Birmingham Open Hack offered students the opportunity to get involved in simulation projects, gaining valuable experience and the chance to get noticed. Pinewood are keen to chat further with those who made an impression and look forward to meeting more tech-enthusiasts at future events.

 

 

 

Pinewood offer remote training and implementation to dealers

2020 has been the year of change with dealers now exploring new ways to engage with their customers and boost profits. Pinewood have offered online coaching for some years, but take-up has grown hugely since the lockdown. This coaching is aimed at helping dealers remodel their business and get the best from their digital tools. All of this can be offered more cheaply than the fuel normally needed to attend a traditional classroom course. Mike Browne, International Account Manager at Pinewood explains how the online implementation proved a success:

“The remote implementation was one of the smoothest we’ve had. With eLearning, the staff could become familiar with the parts of the system related to their job roles, using real examples. During Live Week, everyone was prepared and ready to go. We used Microsoft Teams to manage any queries and held regular video calls to answer any detailed questions they had. Screen sharing and tracking their progress on Teams made everything so easy – just as, if not more, effective as being there in person.”

Online training allows Pinewood 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, eLearning is a simpler, more effective way to learn about Pinewood DMS.

This new training initiative gained immediate traction with a clear demand from dealers for convenient, cost-effective training which did not disrupt everyday business. Alongside remote implementation, Pinewood has proven that the future for switching systems could look very different, with an exciting range of options to suit every dealer and cater to every learning style, budget and preference.

 

Pinewood wins DMS award at Car Dealer Power 2020

Pinewood DMS was announced as the overall winner for Dealer Management System of the year, at the virtual Car Dealer Power Awards 2020. Finalists were voted for by thousands of dealerships across the UK.

“Thanks so much to all of our Pinewood customers who voted for us. Our team are absolutely thrilled, it’s been a tough year for everyone and we’re glad that we’ve managed to support our customers through this time.” Says Neville Briggs, Managing Director for Pinewood.

Pinewood has improved on their zero-touch features over the past few months, with some great feedback from customers. For example; Online Service Booking, Remote document signing (Workshop Jobs & Vehicle Sales Orders), Online payments of Workshop Invoices, Voice Controlled Technician app.

To support dealers with adopting new tools, Pinewood’s Support team are available 7 days a week. The eLearning platform also provides role-based courses, making sure customers are using the system in the best way possible.

The team at Pinewood offer their congratulations to all finalists and winners.

 

Commercial Dealers embracing new digital tools in their businesses

Pinewood Technologies is supporting commercial vehicle and truck dealers with new tools, processes and OEM integrations across every area of the business. These have been designed to enhance the important fleet aftersales relationship, improve operational effectiveness and support manufacturer propositions in the LCV and HGV sector.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains: ‘Commercial dealers are now embracing digitalisation and using our new tools to drive their businesses. Pinewood is continuously investing and innovating to help support dealers and the range and breadth of tools available is something that commercial dealers are discovering as they explore different ways to do business.

For example, Pinewood now offers a tool to manage Technician shifts in commercial workshops. Shift patterns in 24-hour workshops can be arranged in combination with skillsets to accurately allocate work.

In addition, the recently-updated Technician Planner is a flexible drag-and-drop tool for allocating work to technicians based on teams or skills. Highlighting how each member of the team is utilised makes it clear when the workshop is (or isn’t) working to full capacity.

The new planner offers the benefit that technicians can automatically pick up their next task on their mobile device using the Tech+ app. From the app, technicians can prepare vehicle or customer-specific health checks, capture video, add work, issue lubricants, prepare menu priced quotes and even issue parts directly to the job with a simple barcode scan. Additionally, technicians can message the service and parts teams from the app.

Printed job cards and paperwork are no longer necessary as all information is available digitally, including e-signatures for approval.

Jobs can be monitored using a live traffic-light system to identify problems in advance. As part of the digital journey, an online Job Status Tracker provides a clear view for the fleet customer of the vehicle progress in the workshop and off-site with subcontractors.

As commercial vehicles need to be checked at fixed intervals, this is easily managed with contact schedules which can be shared with Fleet operators to help plan downtime, supported by a follow-up process designed to deal with multiple vehicles in a single conversation.

Routine vehicle inspections make use of specialised checklists for fleet customers and commercial vehicle types which can themselves contain sub-checklists for lighting or specialist fitted equipment.

As another example of the support for Commercial business, Service Contracts can be customised and created at sale allowing service invoices to charge into the plan, with the accounts postings all taken care of.

Finally, the sales team can save time and minimise the chance of mistakes by using a menu-priced template for pre-delivery work. This means each customer and vehicle type can have their own predefined requirements to simplify the preparation request.

As this is a wide menu of things to consider, Pinewood are engaging with commercial dealers every day to help identify the right tools for each business to use on the journey to be more successful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-signatures extend Pinewood’s range of zero-touch aftersales tools

As lockdown restrictions ease, dealers must take steps to boost customer confidence and reduce unnecessary risks. To help this, Pinewood Technologies have made it even simpler, faster and safer for dealers to provide a contactless service experience.

Pinewood DMS hosts a range of contact-free features, all completely integrated as standard. By making a booking on the dealer website, customers can simply select a time and date with live availability information to book their car into the workshop.

This is where Pinewood’s latest contactless tool comes into play. Before the vehicle even arrives, dealers can now gain approval for the repair work by requesting an electronic signature, eliminating any contact with physical paperwork required whilst in the dealership.

Using Adobe Sign, customers can now approve repair work from home, reviewing and signing the job card remotely.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains: “It’s quick and easy for service customers – they’re sent a link straight from the DMS which shows them the job card with all work planned for their vehicle. All they have to do is read the document and sign their approval on a desktop or mobile device. The entire process is seamless and updates the job automatically within the DMS.”

Having secured approval for the initial work, the customer can drop off their vehicle with minimal interaction, perhaps leaving their keys in a sanitised area. Alternatively, the collection and delivery service arranged at the booking can remove the need to enter the dealership.

While the vehicle is being worked on, the customer can track their progress online and electronically approve any additional work required using the integrated health check and video solution.

The customer can pay online before collecting their vehicle, removing the risks of handling card machines, whilst minimising time spent at the dealership.

Integrated with Barclays ePDQ, this is a secure payment solution, enabling dealers to take remote payment from the customer. All major credit and debit cards or PayPal are accepted.

Pinewood’s range of contactless tools – including the Adobe Sign solution –  are now available to all dealerships using Pinewood DMS for no additional charge, providing the ultimate contactless end-to-end solution.

 

 

 

Pinewood welcomes 10 talented placement students

After switching to remote working during lockdown, Pinewood Technologies were astounded by the hard work and positive results from their staff. This rapid transformation uncovered smart new ways for Pinewood’s teams to collaborate and even take on new talent; with 10 undergraduate developers making a strong start to their ‘socially-distanced’ placement year.

Kiran Kundra, H.R Business Partner at Pinewood explains: “Investing in early careers is a huge priority for us, allowing us to grow our next generation of DMS experts. The past few months have seen significant changes in the industry – meaning we must be ready to adapt and come up with new ideas to keep our customers performing well. It’s a great opportunity for students to get involved, learning fast from day one!”

Each of Pinewood’s 10 Software Development students, selected from over 1,000 applicants in the UK’s top universities, will work on a variety of development projects, learning how to deliver new and innovative features for Pinewood DMS and its role-based apps. Individuals who show initiative and ambition in their work will be offered a graduate-level role upon finishing their university degree with Pinewood Technologies.

Kiran explains: “COVID-19 has caused us to make many changes, including reinventing our placement experience. For the first time ever, our software students will be trained from home, closely supported by an experienced network of dedicated mentors. We’ll be using Microsoft Teams for video calls, screen sharing, and online projects to bring students up to scratch with the technologies our developers work with – so they can become truly valuable in the later months of their placement. It’s an exciting challenge, but we’re confident that we can provide the resources and support to help them succeed.”

 

 

 

 

 

Technicians can go Hands-free in the Workshop with Voice Assistant

Pinewood have released an industry-first tool for technicians – the hands-free Voice Assistant in Tech+. The Tech+ app already gives technicians the tools to record detailed checks on vehicles, request parts with built-in menu pricing, together with connecting digitally with their customers using electronic health check videos.

Pinewood realised that using a mobile in the workshop could prove quite difficult for technicians when wearing the necessary PPE. With Artificial Intelligence becoming increasingly popular and valuable for speeding things up, even in the household, with the likes of smart speakers and voice assistants, Pinewood took this and applied it as a free addition to their Tech+ app.

“We want our customers to work as efficiently and comfortably as possible, which is why we created our suite of digital apps, to begin with. With the new Voice Assistant in Tech+, technicians can open jobs, start operations and send conversation notes just by talking to their mobile device. Bluetooth headsets can also be used, they are easy to set up and will be a great addition to the app, ensuring clear communication between the technician and their new assistant. Tech+ users can find a preview of the new feature in their app today and try it out, with new improvements and functionalities appearing in the future.” Explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies.

The world is becoming more and more digital as time goes on, eVHC has been adopted by a large number of dealerships and is proving hugely beneficial for growing revenue in the workshop.

“The Tech+ app has quite frankly revolutionised what we do. The ability for the technician not just to be able to clock on and off a job, not just to do a visual health check directly on the tablet, but also you get to see the service history of the car, it just enhances the experience for both the technician and the efficiency in the way that we work in the workshop. It’s been a real fundamental improvement that we have been able to drive from Pinewood DMS.” Says Dougal Keith, Managing Director at D.M. Keith Motors.

Why stop there? People are becoming comfortable with voice assistants in their homes with the likes of Siri and Alexa, AI-powered technologies are quickly becoming the norm and Pinewood want to make sure that dealerships don’t lag behind. First online bookings and payments, paperless documents, apps for working on-the-go and now the Tech+ Voice Assistant – just another step into the digital era.

Selling service plans has never been easier with Pinewood DMS

Pinewood are always looking for new ways to give dealers the tools they need to run a seamless customer-friendly experience. With the new feature to manage maintenance and warranty plans in Pinewood DMS, dealers can focus on up-selling and providing a high-quality service whilst the DMS keeps on top of payments and bookings.

During a vehicle sale, the salesperson can set up a service plan with their customer, the money accumulates and the balance can be viewed in the DMS.

When the vehicle comes into the workshop, the plan can be checked to make sure the work qualifies and the balance will reduce accordingly. As always, this is reflected in the Accounts module with the option to drill down into the various workshop jobs.

This new feature gives dealers more control of their aftersales processes and encourages salespeople to increase revenue with up-selling service plans.

Are you a customer and interested in this feature? Look at the ‘Maintenance and Warranty Plans’ addition in our Support Portal.

Pinewood Release Online Payments for Service Work

Pinewood have introduced a new online payment feature in the workshop, enabling customers to pay for their service work before collecting their car.

Recent events have made it clear how important it is to have a system that adapts to changing circumstances and embraces the digital era. Always looking to make sure that their customers have all the tools they need, Pinewood noticed a big difference between dealerships and the rest of the retail sector.

“If you think of common bookings you might make – for example, plane, train and cinema tickets – you can just book and pay online and you’re done. Automotive retail shouldn’t be any different or any more difficult. Our new online payment solution helps to provide a hassle-free and modern customer experience.” Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood.

Using a proven and secure online payment solution, dealers can now offer their customers the ability to pay their service invoices online before collection. The Barclays EPDQ solution is fully integrated with Pinewood DMS, once the customer pays on the portal, the money is directed straight to the dealer’s bank account and appears in the DMS Accounts module. Barclays EPDQ accepts all major debit and credit cards, including PayPal, to make it even easier for dealers to receive payments.

Alongside the suite of mobile apps, online booking and digital documents, online payments in the workshop completes the no-contact collect and deliver cycle. Gone are the days of multiple customers waiting in the dealership for their vehicles. The customer can book their service in on the website, the vehicle is picked up by a member of staff and the job progress tracker tells the customer exactly what stage the vehicle is at while it’s in the workshop.

“It’s a challenging time for our industry and dealers are looking for ways to keep their staff and customers safe alongside making a profit. Adding online payments to our already digital and paperless system, gives our customers the edge that will set them apart from the rest.” says Briggs.

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