Author: Pinewood

Gforces and Pinewood deliver integrated online vehicle service-booking solution

GForces has become the first provider of automotive technology and software to deliver a vehicle service booking solution that integrates with both a leading DMS, as well as dealer workshop systems. In partnership with Pinewood Technologies PLC, creators of Pinewood DMS, the solution enables customers to easily make bookings online.

Customers can select from available dates and times provided directly from the dealer’s DMS and receive an instant booking confirmation, with no need to fill out forms or speak to the dealership. This of course saves time and money on administration and enables aftersales staff to focus on other activities.

Hartwell PLC, a leading multi-franchise dealer group based in Oxfordshire, will be the first retailer to pilot the integration. However, any client using Pinewood DMS will be able to utilise GForces’ NetDirector® Service Booking Widget, as it is designed to work with any dealer website.

“GForces and Pinewood approached this project with the goal of delivering a seamless system that would help improve customer experience,” explains Paul Hilton, Retail Director for GForces. “This is about delivering what consumers want and improving their user journey. It should be a simple, end-to-end process that enables you to make a booking there and then.”

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

“GForces’ Software as a Service focus allows us to deliver solutions that cater for all retailers,” says Davis. “We’re not tied in to templated platforms or products and can collaborate with numerous third-parties and fellow innovators like Pinewood, to deliver software and services being demanded by dealers. It gives us impressive flexibility when considering functionality and how we can support retailers in a difficult market.”

The integration with Pinewood marks part of GForces’ renewed vision to work with the key systems used by UK retailers. Further integrations and partnerships are expected throughout 2019 as part of this vision.

For more information or to get started, dealers should contact their Pinewood DMS and GForces account managers.

Pinewood DMS now supports HMRC’s Making Tax Digital

From April 1st 2019 the government’s Making Tax Digital initiative means that all businesses with a taxable turnover exceeding the VAT threshold are required to record and submit their VAT returns digitally, using MTD-compatible software.

To support this, Pinewood have completed the development and testing to facilitate digital MTD submissions from Pinewood DMS.

This enables dealers to collate, submit and report VAT returns digitally from Pinewood DMS. Dealers can electronically record VAT transactions and adjustments, generate and submit returns directly to HMRC and collate and submit returns within a single VAT registration number.

Pinewood DMS now supports all five of the MTD for VAT services required to meet HMRC’s requirements. These include retrieving obligations, digitally submitting VAT returns, reporting on previously submitted returns, reporting on liabilities and reporting on payments.

All dealers using Pinewood DMS benefit from regular system updates as standard, meaning every user is always running the latest version. Following the most recent update, this means that all Pinewood DMS users can submit returns to HMRC, as VAT data no longer requires manual entry.

During the period of transition, Pinewood expect dealers to have a number of concerns and queries about setup and preparation of digital tax submissions. Pinewood’s support consultants are trained and available to assist with this.

For more information about Pinewood DMS accounting features, visit www.pinewood.co.uk/accounts or to learn more about MTD, visit www.GOV.uk

New Host+ app will help dealers deliver the ultimate sales and service experience

Pinewood Technologies PLC has launched the latest update for their popular showroom app, Host+, with a new look-and-feel and a number of brand new features to enhance the sales and service experience in dealerships running Pinewood DMS.

Firstly, dealers will notice a refreshed stock search in Host+, giving salespeople immediate access to additional vehicle details and documents, including the full image and video gallery for all stock vehicles. Salespeople can display any relevant vehicles to customers directly from their tablet, reducing the time customers are kept waiting in-store.

“It’s key for dealers to continually make improvements to their processes. The decision to buy a car is influenced by a combination of many factors – retail is detail,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies. “If you’re not meeting customer needs – and doing so quickly – customers will research alternatives online while you make them wait. So the offline sales journey must be seamless and provide a better experience than the customer can attain online or elsewhere. Host+ gives you the tools to manage this.”

Salespeople can instantly upload and view documents against a customer record, initiate a test drive and digitally sign the declaration, uploading this directly to the CRM record.

“By streamlining the processes that take place with the customer present, dealers are more likely to make a better impression. E-signatures for test drives and job cards are a great time-saver, removing the need for paperwork and unnecessary scanning”, says Briggs.

The app now features a bespoke ‘desired vehicle’ configurator, prompting salespeople to gain more detailed customer preferences. Salespeople can then identify relevant vehicles that match these, increasing the chance of making a sale.

The new Host+ app also allows salespeople to action individual and shared appointments on-the-go, ensuring all customers are followed-up as soon as possible to drive lead conversion.

The new and improved Host+ update is available for Pinewood DMS users to download on iOS, Android or Windows tablets.

Pinewood reveals DMS enquiry management tips

As the modern-day automotive sales journey evolves, dealers face the challenge of converting leads and enquiries into sales in an increasingly digital and competitive environment. Customers have often educated themselves online or made their purchase decision before engaging with a dealer, reducing the opportunities for dealers to influence decision making during the initial stages of the customer journey.

This means that when customers do finally make contact with a dealer, it’s even more crucial that the retail experience is a flawless one.

Dealers need to have a powerful Dealer Management System in place and make full use of its capabilities, to convert leads into sales. Many dealers still don’t make use of the tools available to them within their Dealer Management System, which is a huge missed opportunity.

“Dealers must focus on creating a positive customer experience, providing them with all the information they need in a simple and efficient manner,” says Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies PLC.

Improve website listings to increase leads

With a growing number of car buyers preferring to browse vehicle information online rather than in-store, it’s vital to make sure website listings include lots of high quality photos, accurate vehicle specification and are up to date. Dealers who provide more detailed and better quality website listings are more likely to gain leads.

Many dealers have the ability to update vehicle listings quickly from their DMS. Pinewood are focused on helping dealers achieve a seamless and customer-centric online experience, with their DMS offering the ability to capture up to forty vehicle images, which are immediately available to the dealers’ website. This provides the ideal tool to showcase vehicle stock, enhancing the online search phase and resulting in more enquiries.

“Our stock management app, Stock+, allows users to instantly enhance website listings with vehicle details and photos from their mobile device”, says Briggs.

Maximise lead conversion through effective enquiry management

Similarly, choosing a DMS with tools to improve your showroom management processes will positively impact on lead conversion. From managing new enquiries, to the first contact with a customer, to the vehicle handover. The modern dealership is no longer an environment where a ‘quick and hard sell’ works – therefore converting leads relies upon the customer experience. This is an opportunity for dealers to impress.

“Pinewood DMS users can send personalised videos and emails at key points throughout the customer journey,” Briggs explains. “These communications create a more personal experience for buyers, enhancing their likelihood of taking action.”

Likewise, dealers must ensure follow-ups are dealt with effectively. “Pinewood DMS can prompt sales users to schedule a future contact following every customer interaction – whether this is online, over the phone or in person. The DMS connects with Outlook, scheduling reminders for any future appointments or contacts, helping sales teams to never let a lead go cold. Every interaction is stored on the customer’s CRM record, so other salespeople can pick up where they left off as and when required. This ensures that every dealer using Pinewood DMS has the best tools to manage and convert enquiries into sales,” says Briggs.

Make it quick and easy to pursue leads from manufacturers      

Finally, dealers can boost inbound enquiries by having a DMS with manufacturer integrations for their represented brands. For the systems which offer these integrations, enquiries submitted to manufacturers websites can automatically be sent to the DMS and flagged as opportunities for the sales team to action. Pinewood have close working relationships with manufacturers to help facilitate this.

By using their DMS to its full potential, dealers can boost their conversion rate, significantly influencing sales revenue.

New Dutch dealer group implements Pinewood DMS!

Pinewood Technologies is celebrating the implementation of Pinewood DMS with their latest customer, Dutch dealer group Auto Smolders. The group represents Mazda, Hyundai and Suzuki across three locations in the Netherlands.

Having achieved Hyundai-approved status in the UK and Netherlands, Pinewood DMS provides a comprehensive solution for the group, including CRM, commercial vehicle sales, reception, showroom, workshop, parts, accounting, Business Intelligence and more.

Pinewood have developed new Suzuki and Mazda interfaces, including parts price updates, stock orders and menu pricing. These integrations will support Pinewood’s international growth into new European markets.

Auto Smolders is the latest addition to Pinewood’s presence in the region, which already includes BAS Trucks – Europe’s largest used truck and trailer dealer and the Dirk Barten Group – a Hyundai dealer group.

Grayhams, the partner for Pinewood DMS in the Netherlands, were appointed as a Partner in 2016. Its founders, Ronald van der Vlist and Martijn van Pinxteren, boast more than 40 years of experience between them in the automotive and truck sector.

“We believe the automotive industry is ready for a comprehensive solution,” says Ronald, “…a system that takes work off your hands and reduces the need for multiple different software programs.”

For more information, visit www.grayhams.nl

IT Apprentice of the Year awarded to Pinewood’s junior developer

Pinewood Technologies congratulates their youngest software development apprentice Oskar, who recently won ‘IT Apprentice of the Year’ at South City and Birmingham College’s annual awards. Oskar was one of 400 students nominated. He gained valuable experience working within Pinewood’s development team, consistently exceeding the expectations of his leaders and colleagues. Throughout the course of his apprenticeship, Oskar learned about and worked with various Microsoft technologies including: C#, Web Developement (MVC, WebForms, .NET Core), Microsoft SQL, Visual Studio, TFS, GIT, JavaScript, KnockoutJS.

Following the completion of his level 3 qualification in IT software development, Oskar received a conditional offer for a degree-level apprenticeship with Aston University, which he will begin this September.

For more information about Pinewood’s apprenticeship programmes, click here.

Pinewood DMS’ Accounting Goes Multi-Dimensional

Pinewood Technologies recently launched their new multi-dimensional accounting feature – allowing dealer groups to reshape their accounting structure into a single view with transparency between locations and the centre. This includes a suite of processes for reducing the costs of internal transactions.

“We have already piloted our multi-dimensional accounting feature with a number of large dealer groups with incredible results”, says Neville Briggs, Managing Director. “Through rethinking accounts processes, hundreds of thousands of pounds of savings have been achieved in a matter of months. Most importantly, it frees members of the dealer team from repetitive tasks, giving them the opportunity to focus on other areas of adding value.”

Apart from offering cost savings, it also allows dealers to boost operational efficiency across the business. Vehicle and parts movements between locations are simplified, and vehicle preparation requests can be accrued across multiple workshops. When it comes to vehicle movements, fewer cash entries are required, reducing paperwork. By using ‘click-and-drill’ by cost centre, transactional information remains easily accessible while reducing the number of reports and reconciliations that need to be produced.

“With single Sales and Purchase ledgers across businesses, aged debt can easily be identified and picked up on, making it easier to recognise areas at risk. Credit control is also simplified, due to all relevant information being held in one place”, explains Briggs. “Supplier accounts can be merged across a number of businesses, meaning there will be fewer touch points for suppliers, quicker resolution of issues and controlled payment runs.”

Following the decline in new vehicle sales and economic uncertainty, dealers are looking for new ways to cut costs and uncover greater efficiency within their businesses. Pinewood believes that multi-site dealers adopting multi-dimensional accounting will provide them with their single largest money saving opportunity of the year.

Watch this video to find out more!

Improve vehicle listings with up to 40 photos

Users of Pinewood DMS can now upload a total of 40 images to each vehicle stock card. This capacity has increased from the previous upload limit of 16 photos. All images uploaded are displayed directly onto the dealers’ website, via an instant feed from the DMS.

Displaying more images for a vehicle listing can enhance the number of website enquiries generated and lead to a boost in sales.

“Pinewood DMS is an excellent system” – Penton Motor Group

Jan Dibden, Finance Director at Penton Motor Group discusses how Pinewood DMS has positively impacted their business, enhancing process efficiencies within the group. Penton is a multi-brand dealer group which represents Citroën, DS Automobiles, Peugeot and Vauxhall. Read more below:

“We have been working with Pinewood since 2010. All parts of Pinewood DMS are beneficial to us, especially CRM and the Aftersales Diary. It’s very important that the DMS supports integration with our manufacturers, in particular, the Vauxhall warranty integration is very good. All departments can see information instantly and see when amendments are actioned. Staff engage and learn quickly with the system, it’s menu driven and each step is easy to follow. Pinewood DMS has helped shape our processes in each department, it controls the work flow, ensuring each step is followed to arrive at a sale. One system, linking all departments, holding all vehicle and customer data, with regular system enhancements and system usage reviews…it suits our business needs for a fully integrated DMS, it’s an excellent system with good support, continuing development and integration with manufacturers.”

Pinewood go for Gold with Microsoft!

Pinewood Technologies has secured Microsoft Gold Partner status, having met Microsoft’s extensive set of certification and technology-based requirements to qualify for the standard.

To earn the Gold status within Microsoft’s Partner Network, eligible businesses must meet a comprehensive set of criteria, demonstrating their competence using Microsoft’s latest tools and technologies. Businesses can qualify as Bronze, Silver or Gold partners, depending on their level of commitment.

“Maintaining our Gold Partner status – which we have proudly held since 2006 – continues to demonstrate the exceptional quality standards we maintain here at Pinewood, which is what makes our DMS industry-leading,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood.

“The Gold status demonstrates our professionalism as a business, alongside our dedication to constantly developing the latest technologies. This is useful for developer recruitment, providing an indicator of our high standards and the level of innovation we are committed to delivering. It also highlights that we take advantage of the latest technical opportunities, meaning our team benefit from working with the latest technologies.” – Briggs.

This year Pinewood attained three Gold competencies, for Application Development, DevOps and Cloud Platform, and one Silver competency for Datacenter expertise. Each one requires the organisation to pass technical assessments, platform tests and exams, among other criteria.

Achieving these certifications reflects Pinewood’s technical capability and their highly qualified team, which includes many Microsoft Certified Professionals, whose knowledge helps to keep Pinewood on the cutting edge of technology.

Celebrating a year of success – Pinewood Awards 2018

Team members at Pinewood Technologies celebrated a successful end to the year at our annual black tie awards evening.

During the evening, winning team members were rewarded with the three prestigious ‘Pinewood Awards’ – Leaders Choice, Team Members Choice and Best Newcomer, aimed to recognise the achievements of team members throughout 2018.

We are proud of all our team members, nominees and winners, and look forward to another successful and exciting year in 2019!

Thurlow Nunn returns to Pinewood DMS

The Ely-based AM100 retail group have successfully re-implemented Pinewood DMS into all 12 of their locations during the last few months.

“We look forward to helping Thurlow Nunn drive increased results with Pinewood DMS, especially with the introduction of our latest role-based apps, which include Tech+ for technicians, Parts+ for parts teams and Stock+ to manage vehicle stock,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies. “We’re delighted to welcome them back.”

Thurlow Nunn plan to introduce Pinewood’s entire range of apps across all sites, with immediate effect. Pinewood’s apps have proven to be a hit and continually evolve to keep dealers competitive.

“With the support of our Business Development team, we are working together with Thurlow Nunn to ensure they achieve significant time savings and profit enhancing results. This is a great opportunity to look at the system again and get more out of its comprehensive features.”

Pinewood Technologies work with over 50 manufacturers worldwide. “Manufacturer integrations makes up one part of the efficiencies dealers can benefit from – in this case Vauxhall,” explains Briggs. “Furthermore, we have designed Pinewood DMS to be easy to use. For example, reconciliations or producing monthly reports is made quick and simple, all of which contributes to the overall speed and profitability of the operation.”

“We also provide unrivalled access to our knowledgeable support team, who are available throughout typical dealership opening hours, rather than standard office opening hours.”

“We’re looking forward to continuing a successful partnership” summarises Briggs.

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