I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked to potential customers that wanted to only use the service module. Or they only wanted to use inventory but not any accounting. In this article I’m going to try to explain what your goal should be when choosing a new Dealership Management System, and why its important to commit to the entire process up front.
First, lets think about what our end goal should be, no matter what the situation. If we’re looking at a business system to keep track of our information, then most likely we’re going to be collecting money from our customers, selling parts, ordering parts and paying our bills. No matter what level you think you want to use it, the real goal should be to keep all of your business organized. But before we just make that decision, lets walk through a day with Bob.
Bob owns a dealership and does service mostly, but also sells parts to customers, orders parts for his service units and is a one man show. He does it all, but he thinks he’s too busy to try to install a full business system to help himself out.
Currently Bob spends time filling out service tickets when customers first show up. No matter how many times the same repeat customers bring something in for repair, Bob has to get their name and phone number info and write them on the service tickets. He also needs to write the unit information on the ticket and place a tag on the unit. All of this takes time to do, but to Bob, he’s never known any other way, and he doesn’t even consider the time into his day.
Bob comes in this morning and he chooses his first unit to work on. He really has to keep his work orders together and in order because a strong wind blowing through the shop could mess up his schedule. He’s never really had much of a problem though so isn’t that concerned.
Today, Bob chooses to work on Will Hall’s mower. He goes out and finds the unit and brings it into the shop. Since he really doesn’t have time to triage any of his units (because he’s a one man show), he hasn’t even checked to see what parts he might need. As he goes through it, he discovers 3 parts that he doesn’t have in stock and he needs to order. He stops working on the unit, goes back to his parts counter and writes the 3 parts on a clipboard. He also needs to write the customers name or the service ticket number beside each one so that he knows where they go when they arrive later. While he’s doing this, UPS shows up with a box of parts he ordered 2 days ago.
The supplier he orders from likes to put mixed parts into the boxes so he has to stop for a bit to locate where each part was ordered, and figure out what they were ordered for. Were they for service or something a customer had come in asking for? This all takes time to get matched back up and it’s up to Bob to make sure he records everything onto the pages correctly in order to keep up with his accounting.
Bob now goes in and removes the unit he had started because he has to wait on parts, and he grabs the next one in line. This sorta messes up the stack though, because now we have to start a second stack of “started but parts are on order”, in order to keep things straight. This process repeats itself over and over throughout the day, and if Bob were to actually write down how much time he actually is spending working on units, compared to all the other things going on, I think he might be surprised.
Now lets keep in mind that Bob started out only wanting to do service with his dealership management system. He didn’t want to do inventory, orders or pay his bills. So at this point he’s basically using the computer to write up his service tickets, but nothing more.
So we finally get a unit done and we fill out the detail and it calculates his totals and taxes. He uses the system to enter the payment when the customer comes in and takes the money and places it in his drawer. At the end of the day, he manually adds everything up and fills out the necessary paperwork for the bank and deposits it. Again, he’s not using his system to help him at all. So at the end of the day the only thing he really knows is how much money he charged customers for his service. There are no inventory items in stock so he can’t track proper costs on the invoices. Therefore, nothing in the system other than the retail price collected from customer can be used when it comes time to do his taxes each month or at the end of the year.
I think you can see by now that by only using a part of the system, you’re really hurting your overall goal, which is to be more organized and to save time. So lets now walk through the process if instead, Bob decided to use the entire system from start to finish.
First of all, when that customer walks in Bob has a few different choices for creating the ticket. He could search for the customer by any number of ways to see if they’ve already been in before and if not, quickly create a new record for them. Or he could use Lizzy’s unique scanTag feature to locate the customer and the unit information in a single swipe to get that ticket started quickly.
Once finished, he doesn’t have to print anything out or deal with it because Lizzy automatically shows all units that haven’t been serviced on the service list, and if he likes, he can turn on Lizzy’s Triage process to allow mechanics to review, and order parts they need, up front instead of waiting until they start working. Mechanic assignments, job templates, scheduling and a lot more are all handled by the system with no wasted time and no worrying.
When items are needed by the mechanics, simply add the part to the service ticket and Lizzy will take care of placing it on an order and matching it back up when it comes in. Lookup parts with Lizzy’s integrated parts lookup with ARI’s PartStream to save even more time. When the parts arrive from the suppliers, just receive the PO and Lizzy will tell you where to put the items until the mechanic is ready to start work, and she’ll also notify the mechanic that the parts are there. No more having to ask anyone or go looking to try to find them.
Once the work is done and the customer comes to pay you, let Lizzy manage your end of day balance sheet for the bank and place the money into your account when you’re ready. When you get ready to pay your bills, you have them all waiting for you based on what you’ve received. No more having to check manually to make sure things are correct and no more just closing your eyes and paying the bills, hoping you’re not being billed incorrectly.
Using Lizzy to write your checks insures that you have all your checking information in Lizzy and tagging each check to the proper account, insures that at the end of the year, you can just print out a single report to give to your accountant that contains all of your income, costs and everything in between.
It really doesn’t take that much extra time to use Lizzy to run the entire business and doing so gives you the piece of mind that you’re not dropping any balls along the way. And for the real fun, we can now go run reports to see what our fast moving parts are, how much money we really made today and how much time your mechanics are actually spending doing service tickets versus what you are paying them.
So if you are seriously considering using only part of any system, our advice is…….. DON’T DO IT!
You don’t buy a new pickup truck so that you can push it around your yard do you?