- Never having meetings about what is going on in the dealership. “At the end of the day, the dealership has to make money, or none of the employees will have a job,” nizeX Inc.’s Glenn Hancock said. “This means they have a vested interest in it doing well, but unless someone includes them in the decisions that are taking place, they will remain detached and uninterested. Start including them in meetings and discussions, and all the sudden they start to get more involved and less detached.”
- Looking through paper files. Repair orders, purchase orders, parts invoices, checks and special parts orders are often printed and filed. “Each of these documents is stored in computer files that can be accessed and searched in multiple ways. While it may be necessary to actually see the printed document for handwritten information, it is much more efficient to access them in the DMS,” said Hal Ethington of ADP Lightspeed.
- Finding manufacturer requested parts to complete a warranty claim. “Not being able to easily find the parts used on a warranty job when the manufacturer requests them can cost you hours of your time and cause frustration, and your shop could even lose the entire claim if the parts cannot be found at all. Create an area where all removed parts can be stored properly for easy locating later,” said Myra Hight of MotoAdvisor. “Claims whose parts cannot be found and returned to the manufacturer on a consistent basis can also trigger a dreaded ‘warranty audit,’ which are painful and costly.”
- Notifying customers that repairs are complete or when backordered parts arrive. “Most dealerships place numerous phone calls in order to notify customers. Sometimes this means leaving multiple messages on answering machines or speaking with someone who is not the owner. When you finally get through to the owner, you then spend precious time trying to explain or answer questions,” explains c-Systems’ Joe Miller. Some business management systems allow customers to follow and track repairs and parts orders using the Internet, eliminating some phone calls.
- Not paying any attention to the actual company books. “No offense to the accountants out there, but if the accountant knew how to run a business, they’d be running their own, not yours,” said Glenn Hancock of nizeX Inc. “Having a successful business demands the owners watch the books and run the reports themselves to see what is happening. This heads off problems and catches mistakes that can be corrected long before things get out of hand. Employees that know the owners are not paying attention are the same employees that loose respect for the entire operation and become detached from everything around them.”
- Not scheduling service work. “Formally scheduling service time eliminates the practice of shuffling work around to meet customer demands, which wastes huge amounts of valuable time and produces chaos and angry customers,” said Myra Hight of MotoAdvisor. “Scheduling is the first step to an organized and smoothly run department and it helps you keep your promises and build customer good will. And a cloud-based scheduler goes even farther to improve communication and save time for everyone that works with the service department.”
- Searching for customer information while the customer is on hold. Calls transferred from the receptionist to service will often be placed on hold for extended lengths of time, requiring multiple pages to answer, says ADP Lightspeed’s Hal Ethington. A DMS should provide electronic status of Repair Orders accessible by the receptionist, so that she or he can answer the customers’ basic questions (cost, status) about the RO without involvement from service.
- Not allowing a DMS to do what it does best — manage information. “I see too many dealers install a business system and then continue to do everything just like they did before they installed it,” said Glenn Hancock of nizeX Inc. “This includes manually writing up deposit sheets, manually reconciling end of day credit card receipts, manually figuring tax payments and many, many more.”
- Not using the DMS for parts orders. “Many dealerships expend considerable time receiving parts orders, followed by more time trying to determine who the parts belong to and then add the time it takes to finally match the received parts to the appropriate open repair or customer backorders,” said Joe Miller of c-Systems Software Inc. “Modern dealer management systems feature parts processing functions that quickly and efficiently apply ordered parts to the appropriate sales and repair orders.”
- Delivering a job to a technician without the parts already sourced. “You want your technician to start working on every assigned unit as soon as it rolls up the lift, instead of standing around waiting for a parts person to round up the parts and maybe even find out some might have to be special ordered,” Myra Hight of MotoAdvisor said. “Have an area where the parts can be staged before the service job is assigned, and do not assign the job until the parts are confirmed staged.”
- Dealing with inaccurate inventory availability. “Information about both parts and unit inventories must be both accurate and accessible to employees. The computer system makes this available, but if it is not correct, employees are required to walk to the parts bin or the stacks of units to verify quantities on hand before they can answer a customer’s inquiry,” explained ADP Lightspeed’s Hal Ethington. “For parts, a system must be in place to constantly verify and correct on-hand counts. As counts become more accurate, bin-checks – and the walking time to do them – are decreased.”
- Trying to be a manager. Many dealers take a good employee and make him or her a manager without providing any guidance or training in how to actually manage people. “In my experience, this – more times than not – results in that employee thinking that ‘manager’ means to tell others what to do and nothing more,” Glenn Hancock of nizeX Inc. said. “They stop working hard and forget their old responsibilities because now they are the ‘manager.’ This becomes a virus in the dealership because the next thing that happens is the other employees start to resent working while this other person does very little. It snowballs out of control rapidly.”
- Not integrating your CRM and DMS. “Thin profit margins and an elusive customer base demand that dealers integrate customer relationship management functions within their dealership management system. These CRM functions provide instant, easy access to related customer information so dealership personnel can rapidly follow up on sales prospects, solicit additional sales and service, determine marketing trends, service manufacturer recalls and maintain ongoing relationships with customers,” c-Systems’ Joe Miller said.
- Looking for a service manual to perform a repair. “Service manuals kept on a shelf in a loosely organized manner make them hard to find, especially on a multi-line repair facility where the amount of books multiply rapidly,” MotoAdvisor’s Myra Hight said. “Create a simple database that can be accessed on the company intranet or on a password-protected webpage and give every book a matching number. This will not only make it very easy to keep track of your manual inventory, but spotting the missing ones on a row can be done at a glance.”
- Not using electronic credit checks. “Dealers operating without electronic credit checks will waste hours of time with buyers who are not credit worthy,” Hal Ethington of ADP Lightspeed said. “In addition, they will lose the confidence of their consumer credit sources as they submit paper that will not pass the minimum requirements of each lender.”
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