Category: Pinnacle

5 minutes with Neville Briggs, Managing Director of Pinewood Technologies

Neville Briggs, the managing director of Pinewood, explains why the DMS market is moving towards mobile usage and self-service.

What have been the big milestones for Pinewood in the past 12 months? What are the next big developments?
We launched our business intelligence (BI)solution, to let dealers design their own dashboards and analytics. Our next big development involved extending our suite of mobile, role-based apps. This splits functionality of the dealership management system (DMS) by role for access from any mobile device and we’ve already launched Tech+, Host+, Stock+ and Pay+.

How many dealers is Pinewood working with in the UK and what are the growth expectations for the next 12 months?
We have a 22% market share, about 1,000 dealers, and that includes integration with all manufacturers’ systems. We are expecting growth of 10% this year.

With Pendragon as Pinewood’s parent company, how many customers are from outside that group?
It usually surprises people, but 82% of our business is outside Pendragon. There’s no preferential treatment, updates are rolled out to all customers at the same time and Pinewood is treated as a separate company. If 82% of our business is from outside Pendragon, then those customers are the driving force of our business.

What does the future of DMS look like?
There will be a drive towards self-service, allowing customers to manage their experience online. There’s also going to be a further push to go mobile, resulting in more app-based features. I think we’ll see a continued move from dealers to choose a cloud-based option. As new car sales decline, we’ll see dealers looking to make better use of the data they have available in their DMS.

How is the industry coping with integration and how is Pinewood performing on that front?
We’ve always taken the approach of developing integration at our own cost, meaning we have to focus on speed, delivery and usability. As we have grown, we find manufacturers approaching us to help build integration. Some are well organised and have modern, well
documented, secure interfaces. Others have some legacy issues to overcome.

DMS integration is a problem for multi-franchise dealer groups. What is being done in this area to help?
We have designed our integration to follow the car, not the organisational structure. This means dealers don’t need to design businesses to suit a franchise’s template, but can combine operations to be as efficient as possible while supporting the needs of different systems and processes.

Does Pinewood offer an open-system interface with which third parties can integrate?
We have a range of third-party APIs (this allows connections between different IT systems) for service bookings, sales enquiries and orders and parts requests. We work closely with all the major players to help dealers operate efficiently and we have a list of approved selected partners.

When will it be possible to track information through a DMS if a dealer wants to know what a customer has done before walking into the dealership?
This is already possible when you combine data from the consumer-facing services with transactional data in the DMS. This is why BI is so important, as it can combine data from a range of sources to provide a real picture of customer interests and activity, all the way from the first enquiry.

What are your predictions for the future of automotive retail?
More multi-franchise operations will exist as dealers begin to consolidate. There will be a drive towards reducing overheads, leading to process simplification and dealers streamlining operations. As new car sales decline, a growth in the sale of electric vehicles with lower maintenance requirements will drive dealers to compete with fast-fit operations. This means we are likely to see a reduction of the fast-fit and small repair shops.

What’s been the biggest opportunity for growth for Pinewood this year?
Internationally. In the past 12 months, we have implemented in six new countries.

What do you see as the biggest threats to your business this year?
Consolidation of manufacturers and dealers. But it also presents an opportunity as dealers look for cost savings and efficiency. We can deliver both.

What are the biggest threats to the franchised dealer model?
Investment requirements and a lack of ambition to grasp the new. Fortunately, our customers tend to be the type that embrace new technology. Let’s get rid of clipboards and T Cards!

What sort of impact is Brexit having on the industry?
Pinewood has more than 200 employees, from 21 nationalities, at our Birmingham office, but the UK is now a less appealing place to build a career. Applications from candidates in the EU are a fraction of what they used to be. We’re also working to build home-grown talent so about 10% of our team are working on degree apprenticeships and placements.

Pebley Beach achieve class-leading service levels with Hyundai and Pinewood

Hyundai and Suzuki dealer, Pebley Beach, has devoted the past two decades towards building a class-leading customer experience proposition. Recently, they have worked with Pinewood DMS and Hyundai to develop integrations to improve efficiency.

Dominic Threlfall, Managing Director of Pebley Beach explains: “I have worked closely with both my manufacturer partners and also with Pinewood, to integrate with Pinewood DMS more and more.” Sharing his expertise has helped facilitate the implementation of Hyundai 360 integration, with the benefit of maximising aftersales service quality.

Collaborating with Hyundai – and soon with Suzuki – to develop new integrations with Pinewood DMS, brings invaluable benefits to Pebley Beach. Dominic enthuses: “It streamlines our business, it saves us resources, it enables me control.”

“We have to be class-leading and the only way of doing that is having a system like Pinewood DMS…it’s a one view system…it does everything you need as a DMS.” Having a system that provides a ‘Single Customer View’ has provided transparency across the business for Dominic, with Pinewood DMS highlighting profit opportunities, identifying areas for improvement and driving efficiencies.

“The cost saving is massive. You just take one employee, that’s £20,000. We’re probably 2 or 3 members of staff lighter than most other dealerships. Other dealers often have a lot more resource…and you can see why, because they are using these different systems.”

Dominic prides his business on having achieved a “five-year retention of almost 70%…almost unheard of in a mainstream brand like Hyundai or Suzuki.” As the number of dealerships continues to consolidate, building an outstanding service proposition is increasingly important, helping to develop long-term relationships with customers.

VWG dealer D.M. Keith Group choose Pinewood following comparison of DMS providers

D.M. Keith Group, the UK’s largest ŠKODA retailer, are sharing their experience with Pinewood’s Pinnacle DMS. A few months after the implementation, Dougal Keith, Managing Director, reflects on the successful implementation and the benefits his business has seen.

After considering a number of DMS providers, they narrowed it down to two. “It was between Pinewood and CDK and it was really the operational efficiency from the people at the front end of the business that made us choose Pinewood over CDK.” Keith explains. “Pinnacle touches everything that we do and really what we were looking for in the DMS was exactly that, one system that replaces lots of different systems that we had. That was fundamental in the decision making process for us. The system is all-encompassing and is drawing lots of benefits for every area of the business.” In particular, Keith praised Tech+ app for workshop technicians, saying; “It has quite frankly revolutionised what we do in there.”

Changing DMS involved moving 150 users from seven sites across the UK. “The level of support we received during that really difficult implementation period was really, really substantial. We had two trainers on all of our sites, and that made a fundamental difference to the quality of the implementation.” says Keith.

“So fundamentally, the question is, ‘would I recommend the Pinewood system?’ I would say a wholehearted ‘yes’ and I would give you three reasons for doing that. It’s a very efficient system, it’s very easy to learn and implement and it has driven cost out of the business. There’s a small number of systems that you can look at out there, the main overarching thing for me is the ease of use for the people using it day to day. That’s the key reason that we chose Pinewood, and that’s why I recommend you consider it as your DMS provider.”

Improve customer response times to videos by using two-way SMS

Time-dependent tasks, such as approving identified work following a VHC, can be carried out sooner reducing time wasted in the Workshop.

Sending a SMS to a customer may get more attention than an email. Pinnacle now allows Dealers to send VHC & Sales videos via SMS and email, speeding up responses to time-dependent tasks such as identified work approvals from Workshop VHCs.
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New Windows versions of Host+ and Tech+ apps released

Pinewood release new versions of much-loved Showroom and Workshop apps to utilise the best of Microsoft native-technology

Neville Briggs, Managing Director said, “We introduced iOS versions of the apps some years ago and they have become an integral part of day to day dealership operations. We took the decision to move these apps forward and make the most out of the newer generation Microsoft-based devices that have much greater computing capabilities.”

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New integration relationship between Pinewood and AUTOi set to benefit dealers

Pinewood are pleased to announce the launch of new integration making vehicle appraisals simpler, capitalising on Pinnacle Host+ for iPad working directly with AUTOi’s appraisal app.

Working in partnership with AUTOi, Pinewood’s solution aims to pass information seamlessly between the two iOS Apps. For a dealer this means they can carry out appraisals without rekeying or needing pen and paper – customer and vehicle details are automatically shared between the two systems. As an extra benefit, you can link to AUTOi’s management tools directly from the Pinnacle vehicle stock card in order to add detail and track progress.

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Integration with Microsoft Outlook included in latest version of Pinewood’s Pinnacle

Integration with the Microsoft Outlook calendar is the key feature of a new release of Pinewood’s Pinnacle dealer management software

The enhancement – thought to be unique in the DMS sector – means that events planned in each dealer’s Outlook calendar are now viewable in the Pinnacle diary while customer events booked in Pinnacle will also prompt reminders in Outlook.

The integration also means that dealers can manage Pinnacle appointment details and reminders on mobile devices such as smartphones, as well as iPads and other tablets.

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Vehicle Health Checks key to incremental profits in 2012

Vehicle Health Checks are proving to be the key tool for generating incremental franchise dealer profits in 2012, according to new findings by leading dealer management software specialist Pinewood.

The company says that from research covering its own franchise dealer user base, VHCs have been found to be more effective than any other aftersales tool – such as warranties and service plans – when it comes to increasing margins.

Neville Briggs, managing director, said that the finding was unsurprising but underlined the importance of VHCs in an aftersales market that continues to be extremely tough.

He explained: “A VHC enables a dealer to potentially extract the most potential profit from any vehicle in their workshop by ensuring that they take a structured approach.

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