Category: Announcement

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. 

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.

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 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.

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.

Automotive Compliance announces integration with Pinewood DMS to reduce errors

Automotive Compliance and Pinewood have integrated their systems, following a request from motor dealers. Paul Guy, Managing Director of Automotive Compliance says, “This integration is a double win for automotive dealers, not only removing the frustrations of double keying customer data, but there is a compliance benefit too. Too often we have seen the repetitive entry of the same data leading to keying mistakes.” These mistakes can have serious consequences with finance documents or insurance policy registrations. “We have been party to regulatory complaints involving wrong information on a policy. In some of the more serious cases, the insurance provider has disputed cover. This leaves the motor dealer culpable and could not only face financial loss, but the wrath of the regulator.”

One point of entry for customer details during the sales process will minimise mis-keying errors. “Earlier this year we integrated with our core panel of product suppliers for GAP and Smart Insurance, to include policy registration”, Guy adds. “This Integration with Pinewood DMS closes the final gap in a dealer’s process, with the customer data flowing from initial enquiry through to sale, demands and needs, finance approval and registration of add on insurance products – in a seamless process.”

Neville Briggs, Managing Director of Pinewood Technologies, comments, “We’re delighted to offer this integration to further improve the efficiency of dealers’ retail environments. With an extensive and still growing list of integrations, Pinewood DMS provides dealers with an all-in-one solution to drive down costs, increase margins and provide an outstanding retail experience to customers.”

Dutch Hyundai dealers go live with Pinewood DMS

After an extensive selection process to find an innovative new dealer management system, Hyundai dealers from Dirk Barten Group in the Netherlands have recently gone live with Pinewood DMS. Dirk Barten is one of the larger Hyundai dealers in the country, with seven dealerships.
Pinewood DMS is Hyundai-approved and provides a comprehensive solution including CRM, commercial vehicle sales, reception, showroom, workshop, parts, accounting, business intelligence and more.

Pinewood also have a presence in the Dutch commercial vehicle sector, among them are BAS Trucks, who are Europe’s largest used truck and trailer dealer. This adds Volvo and Renault commercial vehicles to the extensive list of over 50 car, truck and motorcycle brands represented by dealers who run on Pinewood DMS.

Pinewood Technologies’ Partner, Grayhams, has the licence to bring Pinewood DMS to the Netherlands and 10 other countries. Grayhams were appointed as a Partner in 2016 and its co-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 programs.”

For more information, visit www.grayhams.nl

Pinewood welcomes 19 new undergraduate placement students

Pinewood Technologies welcomes their latest intake of students. With around 200 team members in total, 19 undergraduates represent a significant investment in their next generation of talent. These students are currently undertaking degree courses in computer science and various business fields, which align with Pinewood’s two core placement types; Business and Software Development.

During their ‘year in industry’, software development students will acquire hands-on experience, learning from Pinewood’s knowledgeable software team, working on projects that will have a direct impact on the DMS.

The business placement students will work within multiple departments and engage with a range of internal and external stakeholders, gaining a huge breadth of experience. The opportunity to cover various business areas during the placement scheme has proven to be a huge attraction, with record numbers of applicants.

After graduation, most placement students return to Pinewood to build their career. Many of them will be on hand to mentor the next new intake, helping to channel their energy and passion into the new roles.

“This brings fresh perspectives into our teams and gives students an opportunity to make an immediate impact on real projects, even in their early career,” says Jessica Thompson, Marketing Assistant and placement mentor.

Additionally, Pinewood works with South and City College Birmingham to offer a BTEC Level 3 apprenticeship as a Software Development Technician. This gives young, driven individuals the opportunity to ‘earn-while-they-learn’ in a fast-growing company where they can achieve their career goals. This apprenticeship can lead to a degree education, where Pinewood will fund their successful apprentices through further education – a BSc in Digital & Technology Solutions, delivered through Aston University.

The automotive industry is vast, rapidly evolving and promises exciting future advancements – opportunities such as the placement schemes, graduate roles and apprenticeships by Pinewood provide a gateway to a fantastic career.

Hyundai approves Pinnacle DMS for retail network

Pinnacle DMS by Pinewood is now an approved DMS for Hyundai retailers. Already used by a significant share of UK Hyundai dealerships, Pinnacle offers the best integration with Hyundai’s ‘360 Workshop Automation’ available on the market today.

“You can’t understate the time it saves”, says Dominic Threlfall, Managing Director of Pebley Beach Motors, commenting on the efficiencies the integrations bring to the aftersales process.

“We’re proud to be the system of choice for many Hyundai dealers”, says Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies PLC. “We’re continuing to work with Hyundai and other manufacturers to provide ever closer integration and we’re really pleased to be able to offer the most comprehensive ‘360 Workshop Automation’ of any DMS in the UK market.”

Hyundai dealers have praised Pinewood for their dedication to improving the aftersales experience, such as e-VHC extract with a direct link to Hyundai’s ACE portal, providing breakdowns of service work conducted. Other integrations have included the workshop service history feed; providing a complete picture of customer interactions directly from Hyundai, and menu pricing; minimising data-entry time by drawing menu options directly from Hyundai’s systems.

“Pinnacle is a comprehensive system. It has an extensive feature-list and doesn’t require additional software or the associated costs,” says Briggs. “We believe in delivering features and efficiencies to dealers as well as value for money. For example, video, online VHC and showroom capabilities are all built-in, with handy Tech+ and Host+ apps for use on mobile devices. Increasing dealer profitability and giving customers the modern and seamless retail experience they expect, is something we take very seriously.”

Hyundai retailers should contact Pinewood Technologies PLC for more information.

Volkswagen Group announce Pinewood as a Strategic Vendor

Pinewood have welcomed Volkswagen Group’s announcement of a strategic partnership allowing Retailers to choose the Pinnacle DMS.

Building upon a 25-year relationship, VWG retailers will soon enjoy all the benefits of new DMS interfaces and integration with Pinnacle, enabled by our two-weekly software updates and continuous development approach.

These enhancements will extend our current integration across the brands, building on the proven parts, warranty and vehicle sales interfaces and mobile service reception solution.

The first developments will be available from quarter two this year, complementing the unique features of Pinnacle that support your business and offer significant IT cost savings.

Pinewood Grows into the EU

Pinewood Technologies highly regarded dealer management software Pinnacle is now winning new friends across the EU having established a firm footprint in the Netherlands and Ireland and is finalising expansion into Finland, moves that echo its successful market entry into South Africa in 2006.

In October 2016, the business launched its first pilot operation in the Netherlands, working hand-in-hand with local business partner Grayhams (www.grayhams.com) and BAS Trucks, the largest used truck dealer in Europe. Three months later, Pinnacle was successfully rolled out across the franchise dealer group as the next phased expansion step in line with the business’ vision to be a major player in the Dutch dealer market.

This followed the implementation of Pinnacle in a multi-franchise dealer group in Ireland during 2016, which is generating significant interest from dealers keen to learn about the competitive advantages of the system.
Having grown significantly in the UK over recent years, the Pinewood team recognises that its success in the UK has not just been about its capabilities as a software developer and the breadth of its flexible, web-enabled software, but also about its capacity to create a strong cultural fit with dealers. In a new market, establishing the right partner to support distribution and help develop the necessary local capabilities; cultural, financial and regulatory, pertinent to that market is seen as essential.

Commenting on the business’ expansion a Pinewood spokesperson noted; “We are delighted by the early success of our launch into the Netherlands. In entering the country, the business is working with local experts on a joint basis. It is a move that echoes Pinewood’s co-operative ethos. We have great people and technology operating at the leading edge of our industry, but the business’ No.1 strength is a capacity to work with dealers and business where there is a shared trajectory and vision.”

With market entry into the Finnish market on the horizon, again Pinewood will be working with a local partner, confirming a passion for this approach:

“As we move further into Europe, our growth will be all about establishing strong partnerships alongside our technology and agility to tailor it to local needs. In terms of impact and growth, we have reason to be very confident!” concluded the spokesperson.

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