Software solutions

Consider software solutions to streamline operations

When it comes to running a successful tire dealership, software systems have become a necessity. Not only do they streamline the POS process and day-to-day operations, but today’s software packages also offer solutions for customer communication, inventory, service drafting and more.

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We spoke with representatives from several software vendors, who shared how these solutions improve efficiency and profitability, as well as what to look for when considering a system for your store.

Drive efficiency and profitability

One of the biggest improvements in recent years is the efficiency with which a service writer can quote a set of tires or a service job with parts and labor, and then be able to order all non-stock items electronically, according to Mike Andreoli. , president of Andreoli Software.

“One of our dealers told us that what used to take about two hours a day to quote for service work before he started using our parts and labor estimating system and Electronic ordering now takes about 20 minutes,” he says. “Plus, it closes more sales because it can quote many jobs in real time rather than having to call back the customer, who was frequently taking multiple calls.”

Jay Adams, president of MaddenCo, explains that it’s the job of the software system to help dealers quickly capture correct and useful data in an efficient manner.

“In addition, software systems can increase efficiency by automating end-user applications, such as managing national account credits, saving the tire dealer time and effort,” adds- he.

This automation can free up the service advisor to do what they were hired to do: care for customers and sell the service, according to John Burkhauser, director of education for Bolt On Technology.

“Software systems using tablets can almost completely eliminate paper,” he adds. “That alone changes everything, but at the same time it eliminates all the time wasted copying technical notes, generating estimates and more.”

In addition to efficiency, today’s software solutions can help stores increase their bottom line.

Dave Vogel, general manager of ASA Automotive Systems, says the right shop management software eliminates the need for multiple vendors and can help dealers increase their average repair order revenue; convert website visitors into paying customers with an AI-powered messaging platform; and increase sales for service work with two-way text communication.

“There is definitely a ‘transactional profitability’ in the efficient and accurate processing of the consumer at the point of sale,” says Andreoli. “But perhaps more importantly, because the customer experience is enhanced, existing customers become advocates for the business, further driving growth and profitability.”

According to Jim Krakower, System Development Manager for JMK Computerized TDIS, the right software system can help net future sales by building customer loyalty with specific website access, displaying their purchase/service history and enabling automated appointment scheduling.

“Providing customers with future support (via a) customer retention module gives them a reason to come back,” he says. “This parallels the top-notch competitive services offered by service-oriented car dealerships.”

Krakower adds that an after-sales follow-up email or text message makes it easier to set up the return appointment.

“Once the software is set up, all a shop needs to do is print a lubricant sticker,” says Burkhauser. “With just one click, a sticker is printed, and recommendations and appointments are set for future necessary work. One week before the appointment, the software will send a reminder SMS to the client. Once the appointment is confirmed, the store can pre-order any parts they may need for that appointment.

Ideal software features

While the bells and whistles of store management software may seem endless, there are several basic features that all dealers should look for when purchasing a system.

“A POS system should be more than a point of sale, just printing quotes and invoices,” says Vogel. “It should be a comprehensive business management system that quickly and easily helps dealers generate and retain more revenue.”

He adds that every system should have: point of sale, inventory control, accounts receivable and payable, quotes and estimates, direct ordering from parts suppliers and tire wholesalers, integration with major tire manufacturers and processing of national accounts, client appointment scheduler, SMS and email capabilities, denied service tracking, in-depth reporting and business analytics.

According to Krakower, resellers should look for a complete, fully integrated system package that combines these features and eliminates the need to collaborate on data and support between different software vendors.

He also recommends cloud-based operations to minimize points of failure and eliminate the need for on-premises server hardware, as well as a tire industry-specific solution.

“Each tire/service dealership has unique operational characteristics, based on their local market and business capability,” says Krakower. “Make sure the software system has industry-trained management to help with the best setup and procedure for the software system to get the best use and end result.”

There are many other features that software systems offer resellers that bring additional benefits.

Adams recommends the following enhancements: distributor connections, trade-side national account interfaces, barcode scanning, and bin/warehouse location management.

Andreoli says dashboards and business analytics can give dealers real-time insight into what’s happening in the business at any given time, especially for multi-site operations.

“Keeping pace with changing customer behavior, the customer journey and competitors are the top concerns for tire dealers today,” says Vogel. “Dealers are now looking for solutions designed to bring customers to their business with modern methods, such as connecting their company’s website directly to the point of sale to facilitate website enquiries, service scheduling , helping to build their online reputation and improving their presence in local searches.Solutions that provide the ability to capture customer details for remarketing at every stage of the transaction cycle are proving successful over the time. “

Finding the Right Software

It’s important for resellers to do their homework when comparing vendors, making sure the software offering is the right fit for their store.

“Instead of juggling different vendors for point of sale and accounting, dealerships should turn to a partner who develops and delivers a complete and seamless solution,” says Vogel. “The ‘all-in-one’ solution means that the vendor creates the answer to a business problem that addresses the obvious issues and extends the solution to tie the back-end into detail, which equates to less overhead throughout. of the deal.”

He adds that this approach significantly reduces installation, training, support and maintenance efforts.

Andreoli recommends that resellers ask the following questions:

  • Does the software seller earn a commission on the sale?
  • Is a multi-year contract mandatory?
  • What is the software vendor’s reputation for customer service?
  • How long has the software vendor been in business?
  • Is the software cloud-based?

Adams says the real work begins after vendor selection.

“The tire dealer must be prepared to commit time and resources to working with the supplier to ensure accurate data is placed in the system and the system is configured to capture correct and accurate data once ‘it’s in production,’ he says. “The software system will only be as good as the data that is entered into it. Assuming this is done, the next consideration is to ensure that the salesperson can grow with the tire dealer, which may mean a number of things, like more stores, different market segments, distributor changes, etc.

Understanding ‘Add-Ons’

Add-on software options can be a good way to further increase profits. As an example, ShopLoaner’s loan fleet management software (shoploaner.com) is designed around industry best practices and has the tools and functionality needed to ensure that a loan fleet is managed from the most cost effective way possible, according to Bryon Tierney, Director of Business Development.

Features include paperless mobile drafting with digital signature capture; secure storage of customer information, including credit card; a reservation planning system; vehicle maintenance tracking and built-in reminders; a robust reporting dashboard to track fleet performance, and more.

“We help shops increase efficiency in several ways, which in turn leads to increased overall revenue and increased revenue per repair order,” says Tierney. “First, our system is completely web-based and generates all required insurance forms electronically. Since we bypass paper, the store can click a button to select a car, scan a driver’s license barcode to capture driver information, and from any mobile device, capture a photo a driver’s license and an insurance card.

This makes it possible to create a rental agreement and verify a client in minutes, he says. The system’s reservation capability also allows the shop to reserve a vehicle for a customer and email the customer a link to enter their own information, then review and sign the loan agreement remotely. .

“This means that when the customer arrives, the store simply reviews the data for accuracy and sends the lender,” Tierney explains. “This process takes less than 30 seconds. With the scheduling system, stores can rotate their fleet and maximize the ROI of their fleet. »