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Dealer Services - Leveraging Technology to Increase Profits

7 Jan, 2008 By: Jack Duncan imageSource

Dealer Services - Leveraging Technology to Increase Profits

There are many great resources that are available to today’s dealerships.
These resources can help do things such as run your core business, provide
service statistics, help to manage mobile workforces, as well as aid sales
staffs to be more effective and close more deals. Other offerings might include
those designed to generate sales proposals, produce marketing campaigns, manage
lease portfolios, track inventory effectiveness, and monitor accounts receivable
and payables, etc. The list goes on and on.

Let’s explore some ways that such information and technology may be used to
operate your business more effectively.


Tools may be used to more effectively order parts and supplies from vendors
using real time usage information as well as monitoring and maintaining car
stock levels to decrease incomplete or hold for parts service calls. Monitoring
inventory turns for parts and supplies will insure on hand inventory is being
used and not simply sitting on the shelf getting old. Comparing levels of parts
or supplies consumed vs. what is ordered helps keep inventory levels where they
should be and does not tie up cash flow with excess inventory items.


Systems can be used to field track service technicians’ time to insure
adequate productive hours on a daily basis. Others can be used to route service
calls in order to decrease drive time and expenses. Some systems will allow
technicians to complete service calls without speaking to a dispatcher which
will also increase productive time as well as allowing a single dispatcher to
handle more service technicians without assistance. Service statistics can be
used to seek out poor performing machines or models in order to increase their
efficiency and lower operating costs. Incentive programs can be used to reward
outstanding performance among technicians. Other tools can be used to track
recalls or excess service calls on equipment which results in diminished
customer satisfaction. Addressing these customers in a proactive manner instead
of waiting on them to call your company will go a long way towards keeping
customers for life. Having such a thing as an accurate database of operating
cost per copy for each model serviced will allow us to more accurately price
service contracts.

Accounts Receivable

Using tools available from several sources, we can monitor and place on hold,
service calls where the customer is past due in payment. There is no better time
to get their attention than when their equipment needs service. Automated meter
gathering can offer fantastic benefits in reduction of necessary data entry,
increased accuracy and improved cash flow.

Aftermarket Supplies such as Toner etc.

Several different packages allow us to track yields associated with a bottle
of toner (for example). This yield can be compared to a machine’s average
monthly volume then that information may then be used to insure proper use of
supplies as well as adequate gross profit from that account. Other tools can be
used to track supply inventory in customers’ offices. Even though you have
already incurred the cost of goods on that item when you shipped it to the
customer, it is still basically your inventory until it is consumed and the
appropriate copies have been generated and billed. This is especially important
in color applications. Some of the newest technology can actually indicate when
supplies or service is needed in addition to reporting error codes and other
critical information.


Using some or all of the tools available allows us to monitor the financial
state of our business while identifying underperforming areas so we can make
improvements resulting in a better bottom line for our business. In a time when
profits are increasingly harder to make, we must insure that we have the proper
staffing levels in all departments and that all are performing as productively
as possible. Inventory must be “Just in Time” to avoid cash flow issues, and
service must be run like the business that it is.

Using state of the art technology and information available to us should
allow us to make better business decisions based on factual information. We must
also insure that the computer systems are working for us and not the other way

Many of these solutions can be very cost effective and return big rewards in
the form of increased profits. Taking advantage of such things as remote
dispatching for technicians can return increased productivity in the form of an
additional call per day, lowered travel time, and mileage expense, etc.  These
are just a few of the examples where technology and information can offer
substantial return on investment. Leveraging technology to maximize efficiencies
can only result in more profits in the long run. Your New Year’s resolution may
need to be to seek out and learn more about the systems available to you, and
see how they can help you to run a better (and more profitable) business. Make
friends with new technology and then sit back and reap the rewards!


Many different software packages give us tools that will allow us to track
lease expirations, equipment volumes, etc., to allow sales representatives to be
more in touch with clients and build relationships with them.

Others will assist in configuring equipment and generating proposals,
managing appointments and other activities as well as forecasting sales and
monitoring results. Advertising campaigns can be generated and the results
tracked to show which are the most effective. All of these tools are necessary
to insure our sales reps are as effective as possible as well as allowing new
representatives to become productive in the least amount of time possible. Lost
sales should be monitored as to the reason for the loss and the results tracked
to show trends that can be identified and acted upon. Additional focus can be
placed on establishing stronger aftermarket revenue streams by using a
compensation model, which pays reps on copies and prints generated in their

Courtesy of Jack Duncan, Jack Duncan Consulting. Jack works with many
dealerships across the country, specializing in increasing profitability through
increased productivity & proficiency. An active presenter at the Annual OMD User
Group Symposium, and the e-automate User Group, He has over 35 years of industry


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