The current crop of Dealer Management Systems (DMS) mostly provides process management tools rather than business improvement tools. This appears to be the continuation of the evolution of systems from the service bureau days when computers were overly expensive and out of reach for most dealers.
The system would put the image of the “old” paper forms on the screen and the dealer personnel would fill in the blanks. This was an incredible cash machine for the companies providing these services.
Today we seem to finesse the issues with “portals;” an interesting approach to say the least.
When the customer knows the part numbers they want and are calling in for parts they have two basic questions on their mind; Have you got it? How much is it? Yet typically the DMS starts with the question – “who are you?” Have you got your customer number of give me your name is where we have to start into the parts process and it is the same for the other departmental order and inquiry processes. Not a particularly good way to start a customer service process is it?
With the ease of program development today and the needs of the dealership; with the “size” of the current crop of DMS offerings in machine usage and process time; with the customer opportunities of doing their own ordering increasing I think it is time a “radical” rethink takes place at both the service providers and at the dealer/manufacturer level. What is it we need and want from technology? Do we want to continue to do what we have always done or do we want to step out into the sunshine.
The time is now.