Dealerships have all been severely affected by the current COVID-19 crisis and how they conduct — or unfortunately don’t conduct — business. With the inevitable but necessary cutbacks in staff, dealerships need to run more efficiently than ever. While most dealerships have streamlined the car purchase process for their customers, many dealerships may not be positioned for a change in how they conduct their internal processes.
Doing more with less is a definition of efficiency and the tools you use will define how your business improves its efficiency. Automation in critical areas can fill in the gaps left in the wake of this tragedy and can dramatically improve the efficiency of your present workforce.
Automated inventory management is a key area that can boost the efficiency of your dealership. Adopting an automated process of locating vehicles will save your employees time they don’t have to spare. A salesperson can locate a vehicle for the customer, the service department can process more repairs and lot attendants can find and move vehicles without wasting valuable time. By increasing efficiency, your team will sell more vehicles, make a greater profit and lower overhead costs.
Sounds amazing in theory, but how do I choose a system? There are various technologies available from Bluetooth, cellular, RFID, LORA and WiFi that can help you achieve this goal. All have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the key questions to ask when selecting a system:
1. What is the cost of implementation?
This may be the biggest factor on whether to move forward. A dealership should calculate what it will cost if they don’t choose a system first, then ask this question.
2. Is it easy to use?
A system needs to be simple enough that employees at every level of technical expertise can use it. If it isn’t, your employees won’t use it and you now have a genuine expense without any benefit.
3. Is there infrastructure?
Are there antennas, cables and other parts of the system that can malfunction? The more infrastructure involved, the greater chance of something failing, leaving you with a system that partially works or doesn’t work at all.
4. What is the ongoing cost?
After accepting the purchase cost, now the dealership must analyze the system’s monthly cost along with any terms that come with it.
5. How secure is your data?
Make sure your solution provider has the necessary security in place so that no unauthorized user can see or influence your data.
6. What other software do they integrate with?
Have they partnered with other vendors that can also boost efficiencies and create profit, or are they a standalone product?
In addition to locating a vehicle, some systems can give general health of the vehicle as well. Would your dealership benefit from knowing which vehicles had a low battery, too little fuel, left your lot when it was closed or notified you of diagnostic trouble codes? In addition, would having an automated alert and reports concerning these issues emailed/texted to your staff regularly help improve efficiency? Could they address these key vehicle issues without having to check the whole lot?
Efficiency and cost savings are a necessity in today’s climate. Those that flourish at the end of our current crisis will have taken steps to ensure their dealership’s future success and will be better prepared for challenges to come.