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How car dealers can increase efficiency with IT systems

Used car stocking

Provisions for used car valuations and specification detail have joined the digital age. Data feeds from CAP and Glass’s mean dealers have faster, better and more in-depth information than in the hard-copy-only era. Accessibility via PC, tablet and smartphone services is now taken for granted. DMS integration and specification feeds for website content are also available.  

Nevertheless, even with monitoring pricing dynamics and daily auction results, there is a need for local knowledge and buying trends at dealer level. Handling vehicles that are outside franchise coverage and individual stocking profile requirements means the experienced sales manager or used car buyer still has to keep a hand on the tiller.

Furthermore, pricing reviews at the typical 30- and 60-day intervals remain mostly a manual, line-by-line process with the DMS then updated accordingly.  

Used car pricing is not an exact science and accuracy can be somewhat spurious. However, by using more advanced analysis tools, there is a good chance things will continue to improve.  

Rupert Pontin, Glass’s head of valuations, said: “It’s an evolutionary process as we build experience. We will continue to find new angles to interpret data and extend the value of detail we publish.”


Aftersales management

Although workshop loading and point-of-sale systems are day-to-day essentials, a primary IT challenge, according to CDK Global (formerly ADP), is the breaking down of sales and aftersales ‘silos’.

A satisfied customer is more likely to consider a vehicle purchase, and as there are now fewer face-to-face contacts, this is even more important.

Neil Packham, managing director of CDK UK, said: “A DMS system that connects all areas of the dealership and builds a single view of the customer helps the workshop team to make best use of their short time with customers, tailoring communications to their needs and profiting from positive experiences they have with other areas of the business.”

A significant development is the growth in the use of mobile devices – tablet PCs principally. With good DMS accessibility, these are becoming a  must-have tool for dealers and not just in the aftersales areas. From making online bookings easier to process, through to vehicle health check processes and upselling opportunities, mobile devices are providing  a more open means to engage with customers.

CDK said the future is about extending the use of portable workshop applications that link with the DMS.

“Our vision is to provide a powerful technological platform, synchronised with the vehicle manufacturer, that drives measurable profits and boosts customer satisfaction,” said Packham.

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