We all know inventory tracking works really well during the sales process. A customer comes up, the dealer salesperson talks to them about their wants and needs to help them figure out what kind of vehicle they want, and then he or she finds the vehicle. In the past, this would involve the customer walking out through the lot and getting confused or turned around. With inventory tracking, the salesperson runs to the exact spot to retrieve the vehicle. Due to alerts, the salesperson knows that when the vehicle is found, it will be fueled up and the battery is ready for the test drive. It helps keep the customer engaged. But what are some of the other uses for inventory tracking and how can it help keep the operational processes of your dealership running smoothly?
Often inventory tracking solutions will have reporting features that show which vehicles need attention, such as low fuel or batteries. One of our customers has about 3,000 vehicles in stock and they can get about ten or twenty of those vehicle reports a day that have to be addressed. Inventory tracking is an easy way to correct any problems in the vehicle before the customer shows up for the test drive.
Inventory isn’t just for finding vehicles and readying them for test drives, they also work great for recalls. At times there can be 600 or 700 recalls – even smaller lots can have upward of 50 vehicle recalls. When that happens, a sales associate has to go out and get a VIN number on each one. If a salesperson or service technician is looking for a specific car, it can take an enormous amount of staff time to find it – even on the smaller lots. With inventory tracking, the runner can find the recalled cars immediately, saving the dealership time and headaches.
Many of the solutions now work with smart phones, allowing the sales associate to look the specific vehicle desired up at their desk or on the lot, and take the customer right there. This can be a huge bonus, especially if it’s hot or cold out. People don’t want to be dragged around the lot trying to find a vehicle. It makes the salesperson look more professional when they can go right to the location and find the vehicle.
Location services can be a great help in audits with banks. An audit that might take an entire day can be done in an hour with many inventory products. Trackers read the VIN and show the dealer where the vehicle’s at, making it simple for auditors to know if something has been missed and where to find it.
Car audits takes up valuable accounting time. Staff members have to go out and try and find vehicles that the auditor might have missed. In most cases, the auditor will make the dealership pay off a vehicle if it can’t be found in a certain amount of time.
A lot of the inventory tracking solutions offer up exception reports that can be set to whatever amount of time the dealer wants. For instance, if a dealership hasn’t seen a vehicle in five days or more, an exceptions report will pop up and a runner can be sent to find the vehicle. Ultimately it can help the dealership figure out whether the vehicle got loaned out or even sold without paying it off. Vehicle tracking is a great way to keep your flooring checks in good shape. And in the end, save the dealership a large amount of money.
While vehicle sales will always be the primary driver for tracking vehicles on your lot, benefits like customer satisfaction, audit time, and vehicle recovery can only enhance the process for your staff, lending partners, and customers alike.
Author: Mark Sargeant
Mark Sargeant is the Sales and Marketing Manager for AutoMap.