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.