Tag: DMS

Three ways that dealers can boost their bottom line

Following the pandemic, with seemingly never-ending chip shortages and the drive towards sustainability, dealers are being forced to adapt – or suffer serious impacts on their bottom line.

The global chip shortage has made it near-impossible to access new stock. The rising popularity of electric vehicles, containing fewer serviceable parts, has impacted aftersales revenues and earning potential. Supported by the right DMS, business leaders can uncover additional revenue, improve efficiency across their group, and cut costs.

Act on opportunities from data-rich reports

Whether managing one or multiple branches, leaders want visibility. A DMS should show how every branch and team performs, with useful reports to indicate where opportunities lie.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies explains –

“Many of our customers have adapted processes and found new ways to boost revenue based off the insights in Pinewood DMS. Dealers must identify and respond to market changes which effect margins, efficiency, and ultimately profits. We encourage our customers to make the most of our intuitive reports and BI tools.”

Many groups have refocused efforts on used sales to facilitate the rising demand. Meanwhile, by encouraging Aftersales teams to upsell more work during vehicle health checks, dealers have bridged the revenue gap.

Embrace digitalisation or get forced into the slow lane

Customers demand flexibility, so dealers should aim to improve their service offering both online and in-store. A digitally-focused DMS will optimise the omnichannel experience – catering for customer expectations of today.

Digitalising traditional dealer processes helps to streamline workflows and boost convenience – positively impacting the bottom line. Most leading systems have digital tools available, from accepting eSignatures, to storing documents digitally, to enabling customers to pay online.

In the workshop, Technicians are now largely reliant on mobile DMS apps – often faster and more efficient than working from a PC. With Pinewood’s Tech+ app, Technicians can send a VHC video to the customer straight from the ramp, add write-up notes to job cards, and immediately see if a customer approves recommended work. Dealers are boosting productivity and workshop revenue as a direct result.

Don’t complicate it. Choose a DMS which has the tools you need built-in

Switching between multiple systems can be costly, difficult to maintain, and a barrier to productivity. Therefore, its key dealers invest in a DMS that will leverage their business – with the tools they value and rely upon, built-in.

As explained by Dougal Keith, Managing Director at DM Keith Motors

“The DMS is used in absolutely every area of the business, replacing lots of different systems that we had – that was fundamental in the decision process for us. Pinewood’s system has revolutionised our workflows. It’s fundamentally changed the way we operate as a business, more efficiently and more effectively. It’s very easy to learn and implement and has driven cost out of the business.”

With so many factors influencing the bottom line, businesses need complete visibility and control, to help identify and action profit opportunities. Choosing the right DMS is essential – dealers must be sure they’re equipped with the data and tools they need to succeed.

To see how Pinewood could help your business, visit www.pinewood.co.uk

Pinewood supports EV retailers to maximise workshop returns

It’s no longer a debate of whether electric vehicles will take off or turn out to be a passing trend. With the UK Government insisting that 50% of new vehicles will be zero emissions by 20281, and 100% by 20352, the change is now a reality.

According to Pinewood Technologies, dealers must make use of the tools in their DMS to uncover new profit opportunities and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to electric vehicles. Pinewood have been working with dealers across the Nordics where 84% of all new cars sold across Norway in January 2022 were electric vehicles3.

Stine Mundal Hagen, Corporate Business Development Manager for Porsche Norway said: “Pinewood DMS has given us the perfect tool with which we can monitor and steer all aspects from trade ins, car sales to service and used cars. Combining this with the financial capabilities of the system, we have reached new levels of process excellence in our operations. Pinewood’s extensive experience in the retail car industry has greatly helped us in our quest for increased value and service for our customers.”

It’s no secret that hybrid and electric vehicles have fewer serviceable parts and longer service intervals than traditional petrol or diesel cars. Because of this, electric vehicles may appear less profitable for workshops on the surface. However, dealers can prepare their teams with alternative ways to bridge this revenue gap.

Timely communications

It’s vital that dealers use their DMS effectively to maximise profits. Service Advisors must ensure every customer receives regular reminders, with a link to book their car in. Mark Davis, Dealer Principal at Brighton Honda explains that being able to set contact plans and send branded service reminders in Pinewood DMS is essential for his business –

“The customer experience is great with Pinewood DMS. We can send text reminders in a touch of a button from the service department. It’s really brought us into the 21st century with what people now expect with their online experience.”

Increase upsell 

After securing the booking, Service Advisors are presented with a golden opportunity – to upsell more cosmetic repairs, like dents and paintwork. With a system like Pinewood DMS, dealers can create custom checklists and adapt services by brand or vehicle type, helping Technicians to identify and upsell more additional work.

Save time managing multiple teams

Servicing electric vehicles requires working with batteries, so dealers will need to expand or upskill their aftersales teams to include electrical engineers. Inevitably, dealers need a system that handles multiple labour rates – especially if the workshop caters for both hybrid/ electric and petrol/ diesel engines. Many systems on the market are not equipped to handle this, so dealers must weigh up the implications and challenges if their system falls into this category. Without a sufficient DMS, dealers will need to manually calculate the labour rates – which can be inefficient and time consuming.

Planning ahead to maximise productivity

Vehicle retailers must consider the extra safety precautions needed to run an electric vehicle workshop – such as handling high voltage batteries, and accessing specialist tools and equipment. This will involve building separate workstations for EV teams, safely distanced from the petrol/ diesel vehicle bays. The changes will affect the workshop diary, so it’s key to get a DMS that can handle this, to maximise productivity and draw the best possible returns.

For example, Pinewood’s Workshop Planner makes it easy to manage different skillsets and service teams, or schedule repairs based on productive hours for each area – saving hours and boosting efficiency for EV Workshop Controllers.

The future for EV dealers…

With electric vehicle sales only set to increase, dealers need to have the right tools in place to maximise revenue and profits. With close relationships supporting dealers in the leading electric vehicle markets worldwide, Pinewood offers a strong solution for EV retailers.

If vehicle retailers are interested in learning more about Pinewood’s EV offering, visit: www.pinewood.co.uk/contact-us

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Sharpe, T. (2022, April 8). Government proposes that half of all new car sales must be EV by 2028. Retrieved from AM-online: https://www.am-online.com/news/market-insight/2022/04/08/government-proposes-that-half-of-all-new-car-sales-must-be-ev-by-2028
  2. COP26 declaration on accelerating the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans. (2022, Apr 8). Retrieved from gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cop26-declaration-zero-emission-cars-and-vans/cop26-declaration-on-accelerating-the-transition-to-100-zero-emission-cars-and-vans
  3. Hill, J. (2022, February 3). Norway’s stunning new EV numbers: 84% of new car sales in January all electric. Retrieved from The Driven: https://thedriven.io/2022/02/03/norways-stunning-new-ev-numbers-84-of-new-car-sales-in-january-all-electric/

Pinewood Wins at the Motor Trader Independent Dealer Awards

Pinewood was announced as the overall winner for ‘IT Innovation of the Year’ for the Zero-Touch Service Journey, at the Motor Trader Independent Dealer Awards 2021.

We’re always looking to improve Pinewood DMS to help dealers perform every aspect of their customer journey in the simplest way possible. Our response to the pandemic was to create a Zero-Touch Service Journey, allowing dealers to perform the entire aftersales experience digitally, without any physical interaction with customers.

“With all this hard work, we are incredibly honoured to be recognised by Motor Trader,” says Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood.

We looked at each aspect of the digital service journey and developed a host of new tools to improve dealer workflows directly in Pinewood DMS. Working with a select few pilot dealers, we proved then rolled out each element of the journey. We provided free integration with the DVLA, keeping MOT data up to date – this became hugely important when MOTs were pushed back throughout the pandemic.

Using a proven and secure online payment solution, dealers can offer their customers the ability to pay their service invoices online before collection. The Barclays EPDQ solution is fully integrated with Pinewood DMS, once the customer pays on the portal, the money is directed straight to the dealer’s bank account and appears in the DMS Accounts module.

Briggs explains: “It’s quick and easy for service customers – they can book a service on the website and are then sent a link straight from the DMS which shows them the job card with all work planned for their vehicle. Before the vehicle even arrives at the dealership, customers can approve repair work with an eSignature. The vehicle is picked up by a member of staff and the job progress tracker tells the customer exactly what stage the vehicle is at while it’s in the workshop. The entire process is seamless and updates the job automatically within the DMS.”

While COVID may not be permanent, many dealers are embracing digitalisation in their businesses. Even as we are returning to normality and dealers have more freedom to engage with customers face-to-face, our Zero-Touch Service Journey is now an essential part of the customer experience.

Pinewood’s Good Video Guide – Top Tips Included

With the omni-channel experience now more important than ever, dealers must adapt to meet buyers’ evolving needs, or risk sales and service customers going elsewhere. By creating engaging video communications, dealers can drive real results – capturing and converting customers before they even set foot in the dealership.

The Benefits:

  • Build trust with customers – whether sending a personalised video tour for a car they’ve enquired on, or highlighting recommended work to upsell in a friendly VHC video
  • Upsell more VHC work
  • Make listings stand out online
  • Send personalised responses to enquiries, enhancing the customer journey

It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to improve the quality of video communications, it doesn’t even require a video specialist. By following a few simple tips, as outlined by the DMS experts at Pinewood, dealers can improve the response rates on their videos.

Pinewood’s Top Video Tips:

Make it personal:

  • Introduce yourself, as though you were meeting to the customer in person.
  • Greet customers by their name, showing them, you’ve taken the time respond personally.
  • Don’t rush, take pauses and speak clearly.
  • Ensure responses are timely – don’t leave an enquiry waiting for days (or longer), or they’ll go elsewhere.

Good lighting:

  • When highlighting damage in a VHC video, use a torch or laser so the customer can clearly see the issue for themselves.
  • If recording indoors, use a lamp to ensure the vehicle you’re recording is easy to see on-screen.
  • Avoid recording in direct sunlight – the video is likely to be affected by distracting shadows, bright spots or reflections.

Speak clearly:

  • Turn down any background music or radio noises, which may distract the attention of the viewer.
  • Avoid touching the microphone on your smartphone or recording device whilst recording.
  • Wait for any loud noises to stop – this may include workshop machinery, transporter vehicles in the background, or even moving ramps.
  • Find a quieter time to capture your videos with minimal distractions – both visual and audible.

Still too noisy?

  • Try Pinewood’s Audio Enhancement tool to reduce background noise – videos sound clearer and distractions are reduced, no editing experience needed.
  • Use visual aids, such as marked masking tape to indicate tyre tread depths.
  • Invest in a Bluetooth microphone for best results.

Use a mini-tripod or gimbal:

  • Capture still, steady footage.
  • Reach all angles.
  • Clips onto any phone.
  • Low cost and effective.

Be engaging:

  • Be conversational – prospects are more likely to listen and engage.
  • Keep it concise, or the customer will lose interest.
  • Highlight the best features – these are the selling points.
  • Finish with a clear call to action.

Try out these video tips today using the built-in video tools in your Pinewood DMS apps.

Dealers are creating professional online content directly in their DMS.

Following the acceleration of digitalisation throughout the pandemic, more people are warming to the idea of shopping online for their next car – and the likelihood is, that it’s here to stay. Pinewood Technologies have added new user-friendly editing tools to Pinewood DMS including photo background replacement and audio enhancement to encourage this new approach to customer engagement.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains:

“Now customers have had a taste for buying online and the convenience it brings, it’s likely this will continue. Even if buyers prefer to transact in-store, the majority will be looking for an omni-channel experience. They want to browse online before they travel to see a car, so dealers need to accommodate. This includes having great quality images and videos, ready to capture interest and drive enquiries.”

Photo background replacement

For online listings, cars with a neutral background are better for catching attention, and without the delay of a professional photographer or an overseas conversion service to return your images, backgrounds can be hard to change without physically moving the vehicle.

Now, salespeople can replace the backgrounds of images taken in Pinewood’s Stock+ app, swapping a forecourt for a clean, standardised backdrop. With zero editing experience needed, they can even add their franchise branding to create professional looking photos in moments – supporting consistent, quality listings that are available online immediately.

It’s often difficult to find a spacious area when photographing vehicles in the dealership and if the listing is amongst hundreds of others online, it needs to stand out. Gone are the days of shuffling cars – Pinewood’s photo background replacement is convenient, easy to use and effective – leading to a faster turnaround of stock and capital.

Audio enhancement

The next step of the journey is equally crucial – the follow-up. Any dealer can respond to enquiries with a formulaic or impersonal email. The ‘tuned-in’ sales team will go the extra mile, responding with engagement and a personalised video.

To support this, Pinewood have added audio enhancement as an extra feature of their video suite. Videos recorded in Pinewood’s apps will automatically be enhanced, reducing background noise, adjusting loudness, and improving the overall clarity and sound quality.

Scott Albiston, a Sales Executive at Pebley Beach has been testing out the latest feature, with some great results: “Audio enhancement works really well for us, especially recording videos on a busy main road – It’s a day and night difference!”

Capture, edit, send, sell.

As always, there’s no switching between systems – photos and videos can be recorded directly in the Pinewood DMS apps and are uploaded for access online in next to no time.

Now, more than ever, customers demand an engaging omni-channel experience. As the UK re-opens for business, dealers can use their available tools to focus on converting more leads and providing a seamless digital experience for their customers.

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.

Pinewood DMS helps dealers go digital! Boost sales in Lockdown 2.0

The recent lockdowns have provided an unexpected motivation for dealers to revisit the abilities of their DMS and explore how to achieve an engaging, contactless buying experience.

Pinewood users have discovered a range of tools for creating a seamless digital customer journey and perhaps surprisingly, mobile apps are playing a big part in this. Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood Technologies explains:

“It’s been our mission to help customers uncover new ways of generating revenue. Our popular Stock+ app has been central to successfully taking the initial sales experience online. Salespeople can record and send a personalised video, show highlights of the vehicle up-close and answer any questions. It’s more engaging than a call or email and of course, more likely to convert enquiries. Being integrated into the DMS, managers can easily see that enquiries are being dealt with when working remotely.”

With the Stock+ app, salespeople can take high-quality vehicle photos on their phone, which are updated to dealer and OEM websites directly through the DMS. Pinewood have recently improved this and the upload process can now enhance images by automatically removing the background. As a result, sales teams can create professional-level content without the need for editing skills.

Mark Lambird, Managing Director at Eastbourne Motoring Centre explains: “Using Stock+, we definitely sell more cars! People buy the cars much quicker if they can see them in a video – we can talk over the features and benefits, it’s been a real positive.”

Personalised video has undoubtedly changed the game for car sales. From home, customers can benefit from the expertise and assurance of speaking to a professional in-store while taking a virtual tour of the vehicle. This can be followed-up with a convenient two-way SMS conversation, all accessible from the DMS customer record.

Pinewood are constantly updating the DMS with a focus on enhancing the digital sales experience. By making use of these tools, dealers can boost revenue with little effort or cost and it’s clear that contact-free tools are the way to go.

Commercial Dealers embracing new digital tools in their businesses

Pinewood Technologies is supporting commercial vehicle and truck dealers with new tools, processes and OEM integrations across every area of the business. These have been designed to enhance the important fleet aftersales relationship, improve operational effectiveness and support manufacturer propositions in the LCV and HGV sector.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains: ‘Commercial dealers are now embracing digitalisation and using our new tools to drive their businesses. Pinewood is continuously investing and innovating to help support dealers and the range and breadth of tools available is something that commercial dealers are discovering as they explore different ways to do business.

For example, Pinewood now offers a tool to manage Technician shifts in commercial workshops. Shift patterns in 24-hour workshops can be arranged in combination with skillsets to accurately allocate work.

In addition, the recently-updated Technician Planner is a flexible drag-and-drop tool for allocating work to technicians based on teams or skills. Highlighting how each member of the team is utilised makes it clear when the workshop is (or isn’t) working to full capacity.

The new planner offers the benefit that technicians can automatically pick up their next task on their mobile device using the Tech+ app. From the app, technicians can prepare vehicle or customer-specific health checks, capture video, add work, issue lubricants, prepare menu priced quotes and even issue parts directly to the job with a simple barcode scan. Additionally, technicians can message the service and parts teams from the app.

Printed job cards and paperwork are no longer necessary as all information is available digitally, including e-signatures for approval.

Jobs can be monitored using a live traffic-light system to identify problems in advance. As part of the digital journey, an online Job Status Tracker provides a clear view for the fleet customer of the vehicle progress in the workshop and off-site with subcontractors.

As commercial vehicles need to be checked at fixed intervals, this is easily managed with contact schedules which can be shared with Fleet operators to help plan downtime, supported by a follow-up process designed to deal with multiple vehicles in a single conversation.

Routine vehicle inspections make use of specialised checklists for fleet customers and commercial vehicle types which can themselves contain sub-checklists for lighting or specialist fitted equipment.

As another example of the support for Commercial business, Service Contracts can be customised and created at sale allowing service invoices to charge into the plan, with the accounts postings all taken care of.

Finally, the sales team can save time and minimise the chance of mistakes by using a menu-priced template for pre-delivery work. This means each customer and vehicle type can have their own predefined requirements to simplify the preparation request.

As this is a wide menu of things to consider, Pinewood are engaging with commercial dealers every day to help identify the right tools for each business to use on the journey to be more successful.

eSignatures extend Pinewood’s range of zero-touch aftersales tools

As lockdown restrictions ease, dealers must take steps to boost customer confidence and reduce unnecessary risks. To help this, Pinewood Technologies have made it even simpler, faster and safer for dealers to provide a contactless service experience.

Pinewood DMS hosts a range of contact-free features, all completely integrated as standard. By making a booking on the dealer website, customers can simply select a time and date with live availability information to book their car into the workshop.

This is where Pinewood’s latest contactless tool comes into play. Before the vehicle even arrives, dealers can now gain approval for the repair work by requesting an electronic signature, eliminating any contact with physical paperwork required whilst in the dealership.

Using Adobe Sign, customers can now approve repair work from home, reviewing and signing the job card remotely.

Neville Briggs, Managing Director at Pinewood explains: “It’s quick and easy for service customers – they’re sent a link straight from the DMS which shows them the job card with all work planned for their vehicle. All they have to do is read the document and sign their approval on a desktop or mobile device. The entire process is seamless and updates the job automatically within the DMS.”

Having secured approval for the initial work, the customer can drop off their vehicle with minimal interaction, perhaps leaving their keys in a sanitised area. Alternatively, the collection and delivery service arranged at the booking can remove the need to enter the dealership.

While the vehicle is being worked on, the customer can track their progress online and electronically approve any additional work required using the integrated health check and video solution.

The customer can pay online before collecting their vehicle, removing the risks of handling card machines, whilst minimising time spent at the dealership.

Integrated with Barclays ePDQ, this is a secure payment solution, enabling dealers to take remote payment from the customer. All major credit and debit cards or PayPal are accepted.

Pinewood’s range of contactless tools – including the Adobe Sign solution –  are now available to all dealerships using Pinewood DMS for no additional charge, providing the ultimate contactless end-to-end solution.

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