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Dealership Management Systems Review

Is Your Dealership Running Efficiently?

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stems. “We strive to make it easy for our dealers to quickly access exactly what information they need.”

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Ready to get your dealership running at max revs? Let’s take a department-by-department look at how  Dealer Management Systems can maximize productivity. 

The Sales Department

Salespeople need a lot of information, and they need it quickly. “The primary goal is to gain a happy customer and take them off the market as soon as you can,” says Gayland Yarbrough, president, Comptron, Inc. “If the customer has to wait to find out if you can make the deal or not, he may have time to check out the competition down the street and cost you the sale.”

A typical deal may involve trade-ins, extended warranties, prepaid maintenance, and modifications to the bike. Payment negotiations must, then, be quick and easy. Your DMS can determine if the accessories the customer wants need to be ordered and notify the service department to schedule the work to be done.  “With Lizzy, all of this is being done on the fly along with all of the backend accounting,“ explains Glenn Hancock, president, nizeX, Inc. “So when the deal is processed, all the account receivables and payables will be created on the fly to make sure all the necessary information has been recorded and everyone has been notified that they need to do something and what they need to do.”

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“Let’s say the customer buys a bike but wants aftermarket mufflers and a Lo-Jack system. The salesperson can add pre-built options that have the appropriate parts and service requests,” explains Adam Shiflett, ADP Lightspeed marketing manager. “The Lightspeed system passes the word back from sales to parts and service that parts need to be ordered and work needs to be scheduled when the parts come in. All this happens automatically.”

One item essential to sales, but easily overlooked in a busy dealership, is customer relations. Pat McGarrity points out that customers will accept delays and problems if the dealer contacts the customer immediately, explains the problem and tells the customer how he is going to correct it. A customer who has to call the dealer to find out what is going on is a customer who feels that the dealership is not really interested in his business.

“Shamrock will keep track of the parts order and monitor its progress until completed or notify the parts department if the order is not going to be delivered on time,” says McGarrity. “The system will track the order automatically, and a real live person only needs to get involved if there is an exception that needs handling.”

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ADP’s Shiflett adds, “Let’s say the mufflers the customer wants have been discontinued. The Lightspeed system will tell sales that the part is not available and then the parts department can search the inventories of hundreds of other dealers for that part, in case some dealer has it gathering dust on a shelf. You look like a hero.”

If the mufflers the customer wants are simply not available, your DMS will help you find a similar item. “Counterman has a stock check screen that can find like items from multiple suppliers, giving you your customer’s options just by entering one part number,” says Weaver. “You put the OEM part number, or most other vendors’ part number in, and you can get full ordering information on many aftermarket suppliers that make similar mufflers for your customer’s bike.”

The Parts Department

“One of the busiest departments in any dealership is the parts department,” nizeX’s Hancock points out. “They have customers, service and sales all looking for things throughout the day. They have customers calling on the phone looking for parts, Internet orders filtering in, orders to keep track of and make sure get placed, inventory issues that need to be addressed, parts needing to be shipped and the list goes on.” The sheer volume of work and the ringing phone makes it too easy to forget to tell the service department that the parts for that custom job have come in or notify sales that a customer’s parts order is late.

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Hancock continues, “Our idea for this department was to allow representatives to concentrate on selling and ordering and let the system control, track and notify everyone involved.”

“One of our goals in system design was to make sure that anything that involves interaction between a customer and an employee can be taken care of within four seconds,” says Comptron’s Yarbrough. “Upon receiving parts our system prints labels with specific information on them so they can easily be taken to the proper place. Our system immediately updates each department so everyone can know if their parts are in or not. If the DMS is used properly, there is no excuse for any employee to be hanging around the parts counter. Further, with Comptron, the owner can restrict accessibility by each employee so that they can only see or change the information management wants them to see (like actual cost).”

“Another feature of Lizzy,” says Hancock, “ is that when those parts got received in for the customers, if it has the customers email or phone texting information, an immediate text message was sent without anyone doing a thing to let the customer know their parts have arrived and which ones.”

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The Service Department

Your service people are supposed to be turning wrenches, not looking for parts, pulling parts or waiting for the parts person to get off the phone. Lightspeed’s Shiflett explains, “With Lightspeed, the service department can see what parts must be special ordered for each job and the status of that order. Parts can then follow up quickly on the ordering.” Comptron’s Yarbrough says, “A good DMS system can tell them which repair orders are ready to work on because everything is already here for them to finish the job. A good system can look ahead at a calendar and know when the next job can be scheduled. It can print pay vouchers for the techs based on either the hours worked, flat rate or a percentage of labor. It can tell you the productivity of each tech compared to the flat rate.”

Customers usually want their bikes ready for the road as soon as possible. If your service writers don’t realize that one mechanic is on vacation and another has a dentist appointment, they can make unrealistic promises, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. Here again, your DMS can help you. As Hancock says, “Lizzy comes with a complete calendar and scheduling system for every employee so that anyone in the company knows what everyone else is doing without asking. Her view of the mechanics’ schedule includes their personal days off, doctor’s appointments and other scheduled meetings.”
   
The Finance and Insurance Department

“Your finance and insurance department can be a major profit center,” says McGarrity. “You can use Shamrock as a sales tool. You can easily calculate payments, including warranty and insurance. You can change the deal around and get monthly payments with a few keystrokes. You can also see the profitability of any deal. Finally, Shamrock will print the contract and any other necessary documents automatically.”

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“Comptron is able to run credit reports as well as track contracts in transit and promissory notes. We make it easy to negotiate on terms, APR and trade-in amounts and then print all the necessary forms.” says Yarbrough.

The Accounting Department

Do you know if you are making any money? You will sleep better at night if you know where you stand. As Weaver points out, “A good DMS system provides the person in charge with the information on what to prioritize and how to allocate resources. It helps to find the things that have fallen through the cracks before they escalate to a larger challenge.”

Your dealership shouldn’t be running like a 1907 Thor, needing adjustments to every component before it will chug down the road. Any modern engine’s oiling system is automatic. When the rider hits the button to start the engine, the oiling system starts up at the same time and runs without the rider having to adjust anything. Similarly, your DMS can automate the flow of information through your dealership, so all personnel can find out what they need to know with a few keystrokes. The less time you and your employees spend on processing information, the more time you can spend on making your customers happy — and putting the money of happy customers in your pocket.

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