For decades, your dealership has relied on paper for everything, from repair orders, parts orders, sales deal jackets, invoices, accounting, and warranties. The sheer volume of paper that a dealership generates, sometimes hundreds of pages per day, requires painstaking attention to detail to ensure that each document is filed correctly for future recall. Furthermore dealerships are required by law to retain documents for up to 7-10 years, resulting in huge file rooms and multiple industrial-size file cabinets. Not only is this practice inefficient, it creates a huge burden on the business.
In the best-case scenario, all documents are filed correctly and can be accessed with a little digging, but unfortunately, many dealerships fall victim to poor document management practices, or simple filing mistakes, which can have far-reaching effects on profitability, slowing operations in sales, service, and the accounting office. According to the National Auto Dealers Association, on average, a dealership will spend $20 in labor to file a document, $120 in labor to find a misfiled document and $220 in labor to reproduce a lost document. Over the course of a single year, these costs can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and profit.
Dealerships have tackled this growing problem by cutting out paper files and keeping accurately scanned digital versions. By scanning all of their documents into a cloud-storage system, sales, service, and accounting employees can access documents from any digital device and quickly find and retrieve the files they are looking for. In this post, we examine the benefits of adopting a document scanning solution and going paperless.
Improve the customer experience
First and foremost, document scanning and digital storage has a direct impact on the customer experience. Customer experience is always top-of-mind for dealerships as most customers are local and are loyal to dealerships that treat them well. A solid customer relationship can result in multiple vehicle purchases and frequent service and maintenance over the life of the relationship.
A digital scanning solution enables sales and service departments to quickly pull up customer records with the touch of a button rather than taking 10 minutes to dig through a file cabinet. This helps the dealership make a lasting first impression. Having customer records easily accessible makes customers feel like you know them and their vehicle history, building trust and strengthening the relationship. It also cuts down on wait times and potential frustration.
Trim costs and better allocate hiring budget
Without a digital solution in place, as the dealership grows, so will the amount of paper it generates. Because document management is so important for smooth and efficient operations, the gut reaction for most dealerships is to hire more administrative staff, which increases costs and decreases margins. Additionally, hiring more administrative staff sometimes means less budget for revenue-generating roles such as sales and service which can have a negative impact on revenue.
By adopting a digital scanning solution, dealerships can greatly reduce the time and effort required to sort, file, and retrieve documentation, reducing the burden on administrative staff. By enabling the accounting team to operate more efficiently, dealerships can free up headcount to focus on revenue-generating positions that will help the business grow.
Increase customer and information security
There are many laws in place that dictate how dealerships retain and secure their documentation. Not adhering to these laws can result in hefty fines and penalties, and open the dealership up to lawsuits. Because so many people within the dealership handle documentation on a daily basis, there is greater potential for files to become misplaced, lost, or improperly filed, highlighting the importance of sound document management practices and workflows.
Digital scanning solutions provide a reliable recovery solution in the event a document is lost or destroyed. They also ensure that documents do not fall into the wrong hands. Many solutions on the market enable administrators to create specific file permissions so only certain people or departments have access, as well as encrypt data and set document passwords.
Additionally, digitizing documents increases customer information security, reducing the likelihood of customer data being copied or stolen. Recently, scammers were caught snapping photos of customer files that were left out on the service counter, then contacting them pretending to be the dealership asking for credit card information. Situations like these can be easily mitigated by using a digital scanning solution.
Free up space for revenue-generating activities
A simple, yet impactful result of going paperless, is more space. Most dealerships have huge filing rooms filled from top to bottom with file cabinets. Because dealerships are mandated to keep most documentation for up to 10 years, documents quickly pile up, taking up a larger and larger footprint as the dealership grows. As with any retail store, square footage in dealerships is coveted. The more square footage that can be used for sales and parts, the greater the revenue opportunity. By eliminating the need for a huge file room, dealerships can expand showroom or service center capacity, or recapture space in the parts department for retail accessories to create additional revenue.
Better manage compliance and audits
Adopting a digital scanning solution ensures that the dealership will be ready in the event of an unexpected audit. According to The Center for Automotive Research (CAR), the average dealership spends close to $200,000 annually on overall regulatory compliance which equates to hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of labor. A great deal of this time is spent ensuring that the dealership is properly documenting operations and filing that information for future recall.
A digital scanning solution solves this problem and reduces this cost burden by automatically indexing documents in an easily searchable database. Hundreds of pages of documentation can be pulled in seconds and easily sent to the proper parties for review. Dealerships can also securely grant auditors online access to view only the necessary, requested files for the audit making it easy for the auditors to quickly find the information they are looking for.
Additionally, digitally indexing documentation makes it fast and easy for the service department to pull documentation related to warranty claims, potentially saving the dealership thousands of dollars in the event of a warranty audit.
Digitize your paperwork and see immediate benefits
The benefits of digitizing your internal workflows will be immediately realized throughout the dealership. Service and sales will be able to operate more efficiently and the dealership will be better prepared to meet and exceed customer needs. Not only will adopting a document scanning solution save money, it will unlock new revenue opportunities and increase profit margin. If you would like to learn how Scan123 can help you securely digitize your dealership at surprisingly affordable prices, click here.