When it comes to car dealer management systems, the options are plenty for dealerships. Do a quick Google search and chances are, you’ll have an endless list of DMS to choose from. While DMS makes it easy to automate, report, and analyze data, the “best” dealership management system for your business is going to depend on a number of factors.
You’ll find DMS that are extremely powerful but overly complex and time consuming to operate while others are too simple and lack the customization. For this reason, there is no single “right” DMS for all dealerships because this industry is not one-size-fits-all. To answer the question, “How do I find the right DMS for my dealership?”, we’ve compiled some of our top tips below.
1. Consider whether or not you need to convert to a new DMS
Before you convert your existing DMS, take inventory of the constraints and limitations that you are experiencing with your current system. If there is a lack of integration between departments, real-time reporting, or the opportunity for one-to-one communication between customers and technicians, you may benefit from a Production Efficiency Platform which acts like a plugin for your DMS.
DMS conversion is going to cost time and money and can cause stress and overwhelm within your team. If you can avoid this while improving your operations with a PEP, it will be an incredible benefit for all involved.
2. Identify Your Needs Vs Nice-To-Have Features
Every business has a unique set of operational needs and, because of this, no automotive software will check all of the boxes. This highlights the importance of making a list of features that your business cannot operate without such as service scheduling, parts inventory, and accounting functions, and separating them from the features that are helpful, but aren’t critical in moving the needle for your business. Keep in mind that it’s possible to utilize a PEP plugin that will enhance your DMS and allow you to have the best of both worlds.
3. Gather Feedback From Your Team
Your employees keep the business running and they know exactly what they need to improve their workflow and increase their efficiency. Speak with each employee or department head to find out the constraints that they experience day to day and what type of system or software they would need to better their working environment.
Asking for your employees’ feedback will not only give you a better understanding of their needs, they will appreciate the consideration and be more onboard with implementing a new system.
4. Take Your Time
A DMS that fits the needs of your operations is an investment that’s going to impact your bottom line. Finding the right DMS will need time and research on your part before fully committing to a system.
There are a few ways to approach this process:
• Ask for recommendations: Friends and business acquaintances who operate in the same industry may have valuable input from experience. Reach out to your network through LinkedIn or post on a public forum related to your industry for referrals.
• Read reviews: Do a thorough web search and read through reviews of your top choices for what people like about the product and what it’s missing. For any DMS, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each system so that you can have a good idea of what to expect.
• Reach out to vendors: Once you’ve conducted a shortlist of brands, contact the vendors to ask questions and find out what they can offer. This also gives you a feel of how the vendor responds to inquiries, how they provide support, and their transparency when dealing with clients.
5. Request A Demo
At this stage, you’ve likely shortened your list further to 2-3 DMS that seem like a good fit. Working through a demo is a crucial step – you’ll find out how user-friendly it is and you’ll be able to envision how it will transition into your operations.
When you’re going through a demo, have your managers and a representative from each department present so that they can ask questions and voice their feedback. A collaborative effort is key to finding a DMS that you and your employees will be happy with.
For dealerships to be successful in the current market, finding the right dealer management system can be the difference between a healthy bottom line and missed opportunities. Whether you are a new dealership searching for a DMS or looking to replace your existing DMS, there’s no way around it – going through a DMS implementation or conversion is a complex and often difficult process.
A new DMS means extensive training for all employees within each department, many disruptions, downtime, and lost revenue. However, finding a DMS that can boost productivity and profit by streamlining the workflow and eliminating bottlenecks results is an investment well worth the value of time and money spent.