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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!



Dealers urged not to let Apprenticeship Levy funds go to waste

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy is encouraging more employers to focus on developing young people.

“It’s important that businesses are aware that there are funds to make use of – use them or lose them,” says Lara Mazzolari, HR Partner at Dealer Management System provider, Pinewood Technologies PLC. “There are thousands of pounds available for training the next generation of talent to help push your business forward.”

All businesses with an annual wage bill of over £3 million per annum are required to contribute 0.5% of their payroll towards this government levy, which subsidises the training and education of UK apprenticeships. In return, these employers are eligible to receive an allowance of £15,000 towards funding their own apprenticeship schemes.

The levy is not just restricted to larger companies or aimed at recruiting college leavers – businesses with a wage bill beneath the £3 million quota also benefit with a 90% subsidy offered towards the training costs of both technical and business based apprenticeships.

“We appreciate how difficult it is to find the right people,” says Mazzolari. “We have an ever-expanding team at Pinewood. This includes degree-level apprentices and Level 3 apprentices. The levy has let us develop the specialist industry knowledge and software skills we look for in candidates, adapting to our values and culture from a young age, so we can easily shape them into the ideal fit for each role. We have success stories from people who have worked their way through the business, who will continue to advance their career with us upon completion.”

Pinewood are committed to investing in future talent, fuelling the continued innovation and growth of the software business – a strategy that is paying dividends and which they urge other automotive businesses to consider.

Automotive retailers should be turning to this opportunity for a cost-effective way to recruit and train the next generation of vehicle technicians, sales teams or service advisors – there are apprenticeships available in all of these areas.

Dealers are missing out on winter profit

Nobody will forget the ‘Beast from the East’ bringing the UK to a standstill. With a likely repeat of the extreme weather we faced last winter, drivers will want to be prepared – providing dealers a prime opportunity to capitalise on the increased demand for winter tyres.

Dealers should be encouraging their customers to switch to winter tyres, having highlighted this revenue-generating opportunity for the upcoming season. Focused on boosting profits, Pinewood has developed a new ‘tyre hotel’ feature, promoting dealers to efficiently manage their tyre storage and servicing business, all within the DMS.

Introducing a ‘tyre hotel’ service generates revenue in three key ways; selling tyres, storing tyres and cross-selling to customers – who need to bring their vehicle to the dealership at least two more times than usual, in a twelve-month period. This creates an opportunity to uncover additional revenue more frequently.

“We’re constantly investing in new ways for dealers to capture revenue,” explains Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies PLC. “It’s a common misconception that UK drivers don’t need winter tyres. In reality, switching to winter tyres becomes useful when temperatures are 7 degrees and below, typical of the UK from October through to March. It’s an opportunity to generate additional revenue.”

Pinewood’s new ‘tyre hotel’ feature gives dealers the ability to capture tyre details using an integrated tyre catalogue. Dealers are able to generate and print contracts and invoices for the storage of tyres. Labels can be printed and stuck to each tyre, displaying the customer it belongs to, along with the details.

Customisable checklists can also be added to tyre inspections, highlighting key areas for technicians to check.

These features will help transform the typical small-scale tyre storage setup, into a scalable, revenue-generating business opportunity.

Visa changes boost Pinewood recruitment in the face of Brexit ‘brain drain’

Pinewood Technologies PLC employs one of the largest software development teams outside of London. Based in Birmingham, the DMS provider employs over 200 people with more than 10% from outside of the UK. Pinewood recruits from the EU and has also attracted Software Development talent from South America, Africa, Russia and Asia.

Following the Brexit vote employers have found it increasingly difficult to recruit from the EU, the UK is now less attractive to EU workers due to value of the pound and the uncertainty. This has led to more employers to look further afield. Since 2008 the UK has operated a points-based visa system for skilled non-EU workers with a maximum number permitted of 20,700 per year.  Since Brexit this service has been significantly oversubscribed with up to four times the number of applications from UK employers wishing to recruit.

Recent changes to the system have meant that the NHS visa applications are no longer included in the visa cap of 20,700 effectively increasing the number of visas available to businesses like Pinewood.  Pinewood has now successfully recruited 7 skilled graduate software developers from Vietnam who will join the multinational team at the year end.

“We are working harder than ever to source talent from other parts of the world. We’re also focussing on building home-grown talent,” says Lara Mazzolari, HR Business Partner. “Following work with local colleges and universities, over 10% of our team are placement students or apprentices, building their skills with us and ready to join the team when they graduate.”

Pinewood recently welcomed 20 undergraduate placements – a mixture of software development and business students.  Opportunities such as the placement schemes, graduate roles and apprenticeships by Pinewood, provide a gateway to a fantastic career in the automotive technology industry during an exciting period of rapid change.

LinkedIn ‘mentions’ will create positive-endorsement culture from well-connected professionals

If your brand is not currently active on LinkedIn it might be worth considering whether your competition is being positively endorsed

The new feature will function in a similar way to Twitter @ handles and Facebook mentions, whereby the individual will begin typing the individual or company name in the status update or homepage comment field. A drop-down mention will provide a list of refined options for selection. When posted, the status update or comment will reference the selected company – as a link, and we expect as an alert to the Company Page admin.

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