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The Future of DMS

18th July 2013

The basic principles of running a motor trade business, be it a franchised dealership or a local garage workshop, have not changed vastly in the last 20 years, and are unlikely to in the years to come.

A Dealer Management System, (DMS) has evolved over a period of time to provide the retail motor trade with an effective way to manage their accounts, stock levels and to ensure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

What does a decent DMS really mean to dealers?

The majority of dealers are unlikely to change suppliers unless it is a necessity. The main reasons for switching are either, to upgrade, where the functionality required is just not there, or, to cut business expenditure. As long as the DMS supplier understands the dealer’s requirements, then changing DMS provider should be easy.

However, it doesn’t change the simple fact that people fear change and old habits die hard.

A change of Dealer Management Systems is required but how to choose?

There is no such thing as a total solution DMS on the market today.

Ideally, a good DMS will cope well with third party integrations or add-ons, allow a dealership to get the best ROI (Return On Investment), be used to link in with customers and give the option of either a hosted or local installation.

Most DMS providers would advise dealers, to get the best ROI; they need to get the most out of their system simply by using it. Users shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about how to do something and should benefit from any training that is available.

Managing Director at Dragon2000, Mark Cooper says “The customers that achieve the best ROI are the ones that are naturally organised. We find that 95% of our support queries relate specifically to business processes”.

He goes on to comment, “Those that are missing out and not making the most of their DMS capabilities, will be the people who do not interpret the system figures correctly to improve their business KPI’s, such as stock turn and efficiency reports”.

The question of DMS vs EMS (Enquiry Management System) is one that Dragon2000 have investigated recently. Modern day DMS’s should be able to handle all incoming leads (from all sources), marketing activity such as service reminders and special offers and customer relationship management too.

Finally, should a DMS be hosted or locally installed?

Hosted or ‘Cloud’ solutions mean that a DMS can be accessed from anywhere, making work more flexible. Data backups are often carried out automatically and the latest computer systems are not compulsory.

A hosted option is the way modern technology is pushing dealers to go however, going back to the ‘afraid of change’ comment, there are a lot of old school types that would much prefer a local installation, and why not? Locally installed Dealer Management Systems direct onto a dealerships computer network, eliminates any potential internet connection problems, as data will always be accessible.

Again technology will interfere and it will be important to keep hardware up-to-date to run the latest software successfully.

The Future of DMS

The future of DMS looks stable and whilst the core of any system functionality is unlikely to change greatly at all, it will ultimately be new technology that potentially sees improvements to dealer management systems.

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