A dealership management system (DMS) is a tool, just like a piece of workshop equipment, that provides a huge advantage when it is working well. However, not everyone is able to use it to best effect, said Steve Meadows, development director, Pinewood.
From looking at dealers using Pinewood’s Pinnacle DMS, the best operators make it an integral part of their team and use it to help the performance of the business, he said.
One of Meadows’ key tips was to select a DMS champion from the dealer’s operations team, give them the mission to squeeze the most out of it and allow them to link with other dealers using the same system to learn what works best for them.
“Once the DMS is in the domain of the accountant or the IT expert, you will be potentially losing out operationally. You need to look at whether they have too much ownership of the dealer system.”
Meadows said dealers must expect the DMS to change. In the 1980s, the DMS automated accounts and parts, in the 2000s they were in the showroom, today the DMS may enable the dealership team to work mobile. In future, more elements will be mobile, such as meet-and-greet apps, vehicle health checks, video preparation and instant messaging, plus tools to transact with credit cards online.
With proper use, the DMS can keep used vehicle stock live, and use it to populate classified websites and social media. It can improve the process of work being done, such as tracking in prep centres, pricing, photography and video. It can provide management of complaints and satisfaction surveys so the dealer can identify the metrics and measure their marketing channels.
Meadows also urged dealers to use the DMS to get a 360-degree view of customers and track individual customer spend and profitability.