Given the clear business benefits, an increasing number of manufacturers and dealer groups across the UK are starting to look more closely at digital document management solutions. So, what are the key things to consider when making that all important purchase decision?
As profit margins are squeezed ever tighter and the compliance burden weighs heavy, it’s no surprise that management teams in automotive retail organisations are considering digital document management solutions for the clear benefits including:
- Reduced printing and offsite storage costs
- Operational efficiencies
- Audit & regulatory compliance, visibility and controls
- Enhanced customer experience
At first glance, choosing the right solution might seem straightforward – after all, how different can these solutions be?
However, on closer inspection there are varying levels of quality, complexity, reliability and usability.
Given your choice of platform can have a long-term impact on the efficiency of your teams and their ability to deliver high standards of customer service, it’s a decision you need to get right.
While the correct choice will ultimately boil down to your organisation’s specific requirements, there are some fundamental elements everyone should think about during their decision-making process.
1. Genuine automotive industry expertise
Dealerships are unique retailing environments with a multitude of paperwork (a deal file alone can consist of up to 70 different pieces of paper), a range of different IT systems, bespoke sales processes and ever-changing regulatory standards.
As a result, a once-size-fits-all approach to digital document management will not give the best return on investment.
The best platforms for automotive retailers are designed by people who have lived at the coalface and truly understand the flow of paperwork around a modern dealership. Without this intimate understanding it’s likely that compromises will have to be made in terms of functionality – or further development time (and cost) will be required to make the platform deliver in the way that you need it to.
2. Proven track record
Switching to a digital document management platform is an important business decision that can often involve multiple people within an organisation.
And for good reason.
Even though the cost and time savings they bring can essentially make these platforms cost-neutral, there is a financial commitment to be made to get the system up and running and it involves persuading people in your organisation that this new approach is better – guiding them through a change in process and attitude.
If your platform fails early on, stops working or slows down as more people use it then initial reservations towards the new approach will resurface and resistance to change will increase.
You need to be sure your chosen system won’t let you down, so it’s important to look at who else is using it, how long it has been in the market and what current users are saying about it.
3. Seamless integration with DMS and Showroom Systems
To enjoy optimum return on investment you need your digital document management platform to integrate with your current DMS and showroom systems as seamlessly as possible.
The best solutions will be able to automatically extract documents direct from your dealer management system – quickly turning traditionally manual paper-based processes into efficient, secure and auditable digital workflows.
Without this integration you may negate the benefits you were looking to enjoy in the first place. You could even end up increasing the amount of work your team is required to do – as they are forced to scan documents by hand, convert them to PDFs and then manually save them into your platform.
A far cry from the efficient paperless vision you were dreaming of.
4. Ease of setup and implementation
Just as an unreliable platform can trigger resistance to change, so can a platform that is time consuming, expensive or tricky to implement and set up.
Every second counts in automotive retailing and you need your teams to be maximising every opportunity to drive and process sales. After thinking long and hard about which platform to choose, you need to set up and implementation to happen as quickly as possible.
Talk to your potential providers about their implementation processes – how long will it typically take? What work do they do up front to understand your business and current set up? What do they know about typical software and systems with car dealerships? What form will the training take?
The best providers will be quick to respond, will have an experienced training team and will ensure you’re enjoying the benefits of digital document management as quickly as possible.
5. Responsive backup & support
Once your platform is up and running, no matter how reliable and secure it is you will still need to be confident about the back-up and support available.
You may have new team members who come on board and need to be trained on the software, you might tweak your internal processes and need the software setup to update accordingly or you might need to help to get to grips with new features or system upgrades.
Knowing there is a team ready and willing to answer your questions and help whenever you need it is hugely important. Not only for your peace of mind but for optimising the potential of your new digital processes.
If you’re looking for a digital document solution with all of the right answers to the above questions then contact the iDealFILE team today.
We pioneered the development of digital document solutions and our award-winning platform is now installed at 220 locations across the UK with a further 120 due for implementation in the coming months.
To see how we can transform document management in your organisation, call us on 01635 905985 or email email@example.com and we can set up a system demonstration or arrange a trial.