People in the automotive trade will be aware that a DMS system is their best bet for managing their day-to-day activities. In a similar way to a customer relationship management or CRM system, the DMS offers identical functionality but has been explicitly designed to incorporate all of the nuances involved in running dealerships and car sales. Over the last few years, technology has moved on in such a way that these systems have been transformed to be cloud-based multi-platform and able to deal with every single aspect of business life.
There are so many advantages to cloud-based systems, one of which is the ability to access them no matter where you are. This opens the door for more flexible working arrangements for your staff, enables them to visit other branches and still access their information, or simply to take a walk into the parking lot with an iPad signed in and be able to answer any customer questions without having to return to the showroom. They either work using the Internet browser on any device or via a bespoke app which again can be installed on both Android and iOS devices, making it much easier to run the business in a more dynamic way.
Another key feature of cloud-based computing is the security. Data is not stored locally, and therefore cannot be physically stolen during a break-in. Both the hardware and your data are stored on server farms generally provided by the company that built and maintained the software. It will be their prerogative to ensure that they have the highest levels of encryption and security to protect your data. On a regional basis, it also means you do not need to have any experts in house, nor do you have to have any servers. Any updates or maintenance to the programme will be carried out on-site where the data is stored by the company providing it and having no onus on you.
Running every aspect of the business in one location is crucial, and one of the critical features of a DNS system is the ability to control inventories. While having an inventory is certainly not unique to automotive trading, you do have the ability to control both your stock and the parts used by the repairs department. Many car sales businesses also offer after-sales and service, and these two distinct inventories will interlink but also need to stand alone, and a dealership management system is ideally placed to provide this information. This is especially useful if you have multiple locations and car showrooms in more than one town or city. Your staff are easily able to see what vehicles are in stock and where they are located, as well as check on the availability of parts required for a service or repair.
You after sales and servicing care will require regular scheduling for services to be carried out. The system will be able to generate timely reminders to either print or email to customers. It also has the capacity to record any work done and create an invoice from a series of predefined prices. This means that each vehicle will have its own entire history, and the business has continuity and accurate record keeping.
From a management point of view, the fact that there are multiple data streams feeding into one software package means that reporting becomes more straightforward. Reports can be created and generated within many different perimeters giving you access to the most up to date information about how the business is doing. In addition, the fact it can be accessed remotely from a phone or other mobile device means that you can still call up any information required even mid-meeting away from the site. Reports can also be set to run monthly, weekly or on any schedule you desire, so data is never forgotten or overlooked.
As well as that, the programme offers full back-office functionality, including human resources and payroll, which again saves having to get third-party software to interact. It is always easier to have everything in one place. Each member of staff can be given a bespoke login that means they only have access to information needed to complete their role, which further enhances security. It is also easy to disable the login if a member of staff leaves the company. You will also be able to see which member of the team was logged on when changes were made, so if any problems arise, it is easy to find out who did it and what needs to happen to rectify it. Ultimately, it makes each staff member’s job that bit more manageable as every piece of information that could be required is in one place and accessible with the proper credentials from anywhere.