An expanding business having moved to new premises was struggling to keep up using a mixture of manual systems and various software products. Not only was time an issue, but there were no real management figures available so it was impossible to plan properly. In addition there was no real stock level information available and no way to handle service and MOT reminders.
These problems meant that the owners of the business were spending very large amounts of time performing manual processes because the staff were not able to fit those into their work schedules. As a result some of the processes such as reminder notices simply did not get done.
Aided by their business advisor a review of the business was undertaken and it was immediately agreed that the management information issue could be resolved quickly and easily by installing Synergy Accounts. To deal with the specific business management requirements it was decided that a specialist Garage Module should be created and that this should be used to provide the required functionality. A specification was drawn up, and it was agreed that the module would be created and its features added in gradually over a period of time to enable staff to get used to the idea and to be able to prove each part of the solution as it was introduced.
The initial starting point was to ensure that Vehicles and their properties (Colour, Fuel, Transmission, etc.) could be correctly stored and maintained as well as being linked to customers. Then the ability to maintain snapshots of that information as part of transactions was added, allowing vehicle status information such as mileage and condition of the antifreeze to be easily entered and retrieved and printed on any related documents such as invoices.
A job sheet document was created that could be automatically populated with this information to give the mechanics something to work from, and the business was able to start generating job sheets and processing them after they were returned by the mechanics upon completion of their assigned tasks along with notes of the labour and materials costs involved.
The standard abilities of Synergy allow the job sheet to be turned into a Sales Invoice or Point of Sale transaction as appropriate, dramatically reducing the time required to do this using the old system and ensuring that management information was readily available to the team when required.
The additional features required by the business are being introduced in stages in the order of their importance and urgency to the business, allowing them to get used to the changes in a steady fashion without overloading the capacity of the staff to learn and ensuring that they are motivated by the positive results as they see their jobs becoming easier. Already other vertical market customers in the automotive industry are starting to use the product leading to benefit to all concerned.
Ongoing training of the management team in the features they have requested have helped them to confirm that they are achieving the desired results, and the payback in their being able to allocate more tasks to alternative staff is already starting to pay huge dividends, including:
Another feature brought to the table is an entirely new module, the CDL VIS module (stands for CDL Vehicle Information Services, the provider of vehicle data) that integrates with the Garage module to allow the automatic retrieval of vehicle data from within Synergy. This allows the garage to automatically populate or update vehicle details in a customer vehicle record and even to create brand new customer vehicle records on the fly just by entering the registration mark of the vehicle. In addition the system can check whether a vehicle has been stolen or scrapped as well as providing a lot of other useful information.*
Another solution provided for an issue the customer was experiencing is the SMS Module which allows Service and MOT reminders to be automatically sent as text messages. In addition it allows individual texts to be sent whenever required such as when a vehicle is ready for collection, and if the management decide to do so to engage in opt-in text marketing to their customer base to notify them of new products an services, special offers, and so on. This in combination with other product features allows the management to give their customers a choice of ways to receive their reminders and notifications: post, email, or SMS text message, or indeed any combination of those if the customer prefers, yet it can all happen automatically if that is the preference of the garage management.
The latest functionality added at the request of the business gives the ability to compare the number of hours available vs. the number of hour worked for all mechanics, and compare those with targets, with a similar set of results at KPIs available for the office staff. All this is part of the regular management reporting that helps the business to know where it is going as it seeks to expand and grow.
These modules and the vertical market needs that they address are part of an ongoing process that will see continuing improvements with the business seeing real benefits with each coming month. Watch this space to read about the ongoing progress of the project.
If you are in the Automotive industry and would like more information on how your business can benefit from the use of Synergy and the dedicated Garage Module please contact us