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What is Dealership Management Software?
Dealership Management Software (or, DMS) is a solution which assists automotive dealerships in streamlining and managing their day-to-day operations. A dealership management software is best described as a bundled management information system designed specifically for dealerships and automotive selling businesses. Dealer management system software can be used by automotive sellers of any type, irrespective of the kind of vehicle they are selling. It contains detailed modules that manage different verticals of a showroom such as accounting & invoicing, reporting, inventory, new vehicle registration & checks, insurance premium calculator, customer relationship management (CRM), and more.
Who Needs Dealership Management Software?
Any automotive dealership would benefit from using best dealer management software. Irrespective of the vehicle being sold (cycles, motorcycles, cars, SUVs, LUVs) or the type of dealership (new cars, used & second-hand cars, workshops & spare part dealers), a DMS can help with essential functions like sales tracking, assessing closure rate, job card management, stock reminders, etc. A garage management software can also be used by vehicle service stations, garages and workshops, for greater efficiency.
Even Batman uses a version of DMS. How do you think his fancy car, bike and plane are always in such good shape and ready to go? It isn’t Alfred, his butler, cleaning and making them shine. It’s a software that assists him with that. If Batman can use a DMS, so can you!
Why you need Dealership Management Software?
The main purpose of a dealer management system software is to improve the daily operation of a dealership. With a DMS, a dealership can automate quite a few functions to simultaneously optimise and simplify them. Tasks like invoice generation, task reminders, report generation, workflow management, insurance and tax calculations, are performed by a DMS. It removes the need for human intervention and reduces the likelihood of errors in the absence of manual processes.
DMS is also useful for garages and workshops as it contains dedicated module for spare parts inventory management, job card management, registration & appointments, billing and CRM.
A dealership management software can be scaled as your business expands. It can be customised as per user requirement and can be upgraded to include new software additions. DMS is available as both an on-premise & cloud solution, the latter of which is much better. That’s because, in case of damage caused by natural calamities (earthquake, flood, hurricanes, cloud-bursts) or artificial causes (fire, short-circuiting, system damage), your dealership’s data is stored in a secure remote server. This ensures that you don’t lose your data and can easily copy it into a new system. Additionally, most DMS solutions are mobile-integrated, so you can access your dealership’s data on the go. Be it a smartphone or a tablet, you are always connected to your data even when you’re not physically inside the dealership.
Modules in Dealership Management Software
Dealership management software has a lot to offer. Some of the important modules that a DMS comes with, have been listed below:
Billing & Accounting
A dealership management software manages the essentials of billing & accounting. When a customer makes a purchase at your dealership, auto dealer accounting software does invoice calculation and generates a printable digital copy. It minimises the need for human intervention in calculations, letting your employees focus more on important tasks.
Additionally, the billing & accounting module assists with bookkeeping by maintaining detailed records of transactions, taxes and expenses. Different elements of accounting such as tax registry, ledger maintenance, dues tracker, budgeting, bank reconciliation, and balance sheet maintenance, can be performed by the billing & accounting module.
Most auto dealer accounting software solutions in India are GST-compliant, so your invoices are calculated and generated correctly. This prevents any discrepancy in your financial numbers.
A DMS’s inventory management module helps an automotive showroom staff take smarter steps towards organizing the stock and managing demand. Maintaining a well-organised inventory lets a dealership solve stock problems faster and improve overall customer experience.
Inventory management is also important for dealerships as it lets them filter and remove non-performing stock. Because automotive are space-exhaustive, there’s a limit to the amount of stock a dealership can hold at a time. Hence, inventory management not only helps in prioritising space, but in turn, assists dealerships in increasing sales and profit margins. With a dealer software enabled with inventory management solution, make your stock pop and sparkle.
The sales management module works two-fold: pre-sale & post-sale. The pre-sale aspect works by creating a record for a new potential customer. This record contains details of said customer, his/ her name, phone number, email id, address, vehicle preference, budget, car requirement, etc. Based on these details, a salesman pitches vehicle best-suited to the customer’s need. The further the customer progresses towards making a sale, the record gets updated accordingly to form a clear profile.
The post-sale aspect works after the customer has agreed to make a purchase. Depending on the vehicle, there are different things that need to be done like vehicle registration, tax calculations, insurance premium calculations, EMI calculations, maintenance and servicing scheduling, etc. The sales management module can be used to perform the required calculations, and it has dedicated sections that assist with vehicle registration.
Aside from these, sales management module keeps a track of sales figures, which plays a major role in reporting & analytics.
Reporting & Analytics
Any automotive, big or small, can be considered as a high-value property. And when you sell such products, it is of vital importance to analyse the sales numbers to identify what’s selling and what’s not. A dealership management software aids showrooms with a dedicated reporting & analytics module. This module provides pre-and-post sales analysis, financial figures of procurement and selling, and postulate sales projections.
The reporting & analytics modules can be used to view and assess sales reports based on different factors (sales numbers, financial figures, month/quarter/annual sales-wise, model-wise, city-wise, outlet-wise, colour-wise, etc.) It can also be used to keep a track of employee sale targets and accordingly, create performance reports. Besides these, a dealership can use sales reports to identify how they need to spend advertising money and which products need more advertisements. Lastly, analytics helps a dealership create sales projections on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
Spare Parts Management
While automotive form the primary chunk of a dealership’s inventory, spare parts management is also crucial for overall efficiency. Spare parts are vital in different functions, especially in garages and workshops, such as vehicle servicing, maintenance, vehicle assembly, etc. The spare parts management module of a DMS helps in keeping a track of spares along with maintaining a sales record.
Spare parts management works separately from inventory management, the latter of which is more focused on vehicles and their storage. Spare parts management is a separate module due to the dynamic nature of spare parts. In simple terms, dealerships have to keep spare parts on demand basis and including them in inventory management can lead to lesser space for the more important component: automobiles.
This module is also vital for tracking spare part’s shelf life, analysing and projecting consumption, and replenishing essential spares when their volume reduces.
The success of any business, including automobile dealerships, depends primarily on the customers. Happy and satisfied customers lead to better word of mouth which further results in more sales. A CRM module assists with the buyer’s journey, documenting their progress as they move from lead to customer to user.
Using the CRM module, a dealership can get customer feedback on using a vehicle, as well as the service rendered by a dealership. Additionally, a CRM module helps in maintaining tabs on upcoming servicing dates and other important maintenance dates for a vehicle. CRM is also important in forming a personal relationship with customers by sending SMS and emails on their birthdays and anniversaries. The CRM module can also be programmed to send reminders and promotional messages to customers.
Features in Dealership Management Software
Best dealer management software comes with certain key features that help dealerships in more ways than one. Some of them are:
Document Management: A DMS solution helps in maintaining digital copies of important documents pertaining to the dealership and sales. You don’t have to maintain a file room that contains stacks of documents, for record-keeping. Having digital copies not only removes the need for a dedicated physical space but also makes accessing documents easier.
Expense Management: This feature helps a dealership with their expense management and budgeting. A dealership’s expense is varying, ranging from large (showroom maintenance, stationary, furniture, storage space) to small (snacks for customers, F&B for employees) expenses. With the expense management feature, dealerships can track how much is being spent and accordingly decide where to invest and where to cut down.
Insurance & Tax Calculation: Say goodbye to lengthy tax and insurance premium calculations. Auto dealer accounting software can be programmed to calculate taxes and insurance premium that a customer must pay. Both are essential functions that must be performed before handing customers the key of their new vehicle. It can also detail out the insurance premium that the customer must pay year on year basis, along with the benefits they get with the coverage.
Job Card Management: Job cards are essential for dealerships and service centres that experience high volumes. The job card management feature can keep a track of each job card’s status and accordingly update customers. Job card management of garage management software also removes the need for a manual register and is also capable of assigning job cards based on different factors such as priority and appointment.
Track Shelf-Life: Keeping a track of the shelf-life of different products is simplified by a dealership management software. A DMS can display the shelf-life of a product (as specified by the part manufacturer). This helps in weaning out old & unused products and in highlighting products that are nearing the end of their shelf-life. With this information, dealerships and workshops can ensure that their products are used to maximum capacity and there’s minimum wastage of products due to mismanagement.
Vehicle History: Dealer management system can maintain a vehicle’s history including details such as purchase date, manufacturing year, number of services conducted, parts changed, so on and so forth. This feature helps in maintaining a comprehensive record which is especially useful in case of insurance claims.
Stock Reports: You can’t run a business without knowing what products you have. With a DMS’s stock reports, dealerships can keep a track of their
products effectively. Stock reports can be created based on different criteria like location, colour, stock assigned to salesman, branch allocation, etc.
Advantages of Dealership Management Software
Dealership management software offers a lot of advantages to a dealership’s overall operation and efficiency. Some of these are:
Improves Sales Number
With a DMS software, you can effortlessly find out your sales’ numbers and understand what’s selling more and what isn’t selling as expected. Accordingly, you can take steps to form an ad campaign and train employees to better pitch the products that are under-performing.
Creates Smarter Inventory
DMS informs you of the products with most sales and the best shelf-life. You can use this information to stock up on such products and eliminate/reduce the volume of other under-performing products. This helps in creating an inventory that pays off in the long run, and allows maximising usage of your storage space.
DMS combines the important functions of a dealership into one nifty tool. Using a DMS, cross-department collaboration and resource sharing is simplified, allowing better teamwork and greater efficiency. Also, the ease of generating reports and accessing sales figures along with the modules to manage inventory, billing, purchasing, etc. helps in streamlining the overall operation.
Reduces Operating Cost
Using DMS, dealerships get a detailed picture of their overall expenses, big and small, which helps in creating plans to minimise operating cost. Aside from expense management, a DMS also helps in building a smarter inventory, which helps in using operational funds in the best way.
Secure Your Data
Maintaining a digital repository of your dealership’s data with a DMS is not only cost and space effective but also helps in keeping your data secure. DMS solutions are designed with the latest technology in data security and encryption. You can also create a backup of your data, and be relieved that your critical business information is out of prying eyes.
Communicate with Customers Easily
Most DMS solutions come with SMS and email sending capability, with which you can send promotional messages to your customers easily. Aside from promotions, you can also use it to send reminders of upcoming maintenance dates, communicate personalised deals and messages, and send reminders of insurance renewal.
DMS is Scalable
Features of a DMS solution can be scaled up, as your business grows. You don’t have to switch software solutions to keep up with growth, with a robust dealership management software.
The Cloud Advantage
Most DMS solutions are available as a cloud solution. While on-premise versions are also available, there are significant advantages of a cloud-based solution. As previously stated, a cloud solution removes the need to keep physical servers in your office and ensures that data isn’t lost in case of property damage. Cloud services are also heavily encrypted and secured, ensuring complete data protection.
Q. Is it necessary to buy new IT infrastructure to use dealership software?
A. No, you’re not required to buy new infrastructure to use a DMS. A Windows or Mac computer device will work just fine with a DMS. You can also integrate a DMS with tablets and smartphones.
Q. How difficult is it to integrate a dealership system with my existing computers?
A. Not at all. Dealership management software can be integrated with absolute ease, with your existing system. It can also work in tandem with other software, even though you won’t require any other solution if you use a DMS.
Q. How would a dealership management software work for workshops, based on the name?
A. Although it’s called dealership management, workshop management software in India contains dedicated modules for spare parts management, workshop management, job card handling, inventory and billing. These are integral to any workshop, service centre & garage, making auto shop management software a useful solution for them.
Q, Will I need to dedicate a lot of resources to train my employees in using dealership management software?
A. When you purchase a DMS for your dealership, you’ll be trained by professionals who’ll guide you and your team through the solution. Additionally, there are user guides and tutorials that can be used to easily navigate and use this solution. So, no you won’t have to dedicate too much resource into training your staff in using auto shop management software.
Q. Is DMS useful for dealerships with few employees?
A. Yes, it is. The purpose of a DMS is to automate essential dealership functions and simplify operation. Even if your employee size is minimal, you still stand to gain a lot for your dealership with DMS.
Q. Cloud vs On-Premise: Which DMS model should I get?
A. It depends on your requirement. An on-premise model is suited to dealerships with the capability to house IT servers and infrastructure, and with a dedicated IT team. Cloud model is for dealerships without a dedicated IT team or the requisite infrastructure. On-premise DMS can be a bit expensive, since it entails infrastructure purchase on top of license purchase & maintenance cost. A cloud model offers dealerships the ability to pay for the license without the added cost of infrastructure procurement.
Q. My dealership doesn’t need all the modules in a DMS. Can I only get the ones I need?
A. Yes, you can purchase a DMS customised with just the features you require.
Buyer's Guide for Dealership Management Software
Anyone looking to purchase a dealership management software, needs to be clear about the purpose of buying one. The crucial things to consider before buying a DMS are:
Be Clear About Need
Why do you require best dealership software for your car showroom? That’s the first thing you should consider before purchasing a DMS solution. Are you looking for a DMS to manage your inventory? Are sales management & reporting analytics the features you need from a DMS? Or are you more inclined towards the spare parts management feature? Questions like these will help in forming your requirement and will accordingly, guide you towards a DMS best-suited to your dealership.
What’s Your Budget?
Budget is an important factor to be considered before purchasing a DMS. There are several DMS software available in the market in different price ranges. Define your maximum budget which will help you filter out DMS solutions that aligns with your need and within your budget. Cloud-based solutions are more cost-effective and you can opt for one on a monthly/annual subscription basis. You can also go for a DMS that gives you the option to customise and use only the features you need, significantly reducing purchase cost.
Get a Demo First
Before purchasing, find out if you can use the product on a trial basis or get a free demo. This will let you get familiarised with the tool and realise if it’s suited to your dealership. Most DMS providers will be happy to give you a free trial, so don’t forget to ask.
How’s the User Experience (UX)
UX is an important part of any software’s functionality. Your experience of using a solution, it’s design aesthetic and ease-of-use, play an important role in making a purchase. If aesthetics’ weren’t important, everyone’s dealership management software would look the same. An exhaustive DMS filled with modules, will not overwhelm the user if it comes with a clean and friendly interface.
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