When most people think of a dealership, they think of flashy showrooms and gleaming bright red cars. Dealerships sink a lot of time and money into making their showrooms inviting and comfortable because, after all, that’s where the sales are made. For most dealerships, however, the service department is the backbone that provides stability and keeps the lights on. On average the service department processes 10x more ROs than the number of cars sold. So if a dealership averages 100 car sales a month, the service department will generally handle 1,000 repairs. 

Service departments are overloaded with important paper

This brings us to the two key issues that many service managers and service technicians face on a daily basis. 

First, service departments generate a mountain of paper each month that has to be filed and retained. The average RO is 6 pages long, so at 1000 RO’s per month, the service department needs to print and file roughly 6,000 pages of paper. Managing this much paper is a full-time job, or maybe even two or three full-time jobs. 

Second, almost all those files need to be able to be quickly located. As any service manager can tell you, service departments are busy. With so many cars filtering through the repair bays, the service team is constantly on the move. For each incoming car, vehicle history, past ROs, and technician notes need to be reviewed, which means quickly locating the right file by digging in a cabinet, or trying to find a file that was temporarily stacked in a pile on someone’s desk. All of this searching wastes time, slows progress, and makes the customer wait.   

Wasted time and frustrated customers cost the dealership money, which is bad, but the absolute worst-case scenario is a warranty audit. Failure to record the correct information and locate that one file can be a very expensive problem. 

The good news for service departments is that there is a dramatically faster, easier, and more reliable way to manage your paper files. 

The benefits of document scanning

Document scanning is the way that modern dealerships are solving their paper problem. Instead of managing huge, expensive file rooms, they are able to convert their paper files into digital copies that are stored in the cloud and linked back to the owner, VIN, and RO number for instant retrieval by anyone in the dealership. Below we examine 5 ways that document scanning can help you increase efficiency and grow your service department. 

Reclaim space and keep more parts on hand

First and foremost, transitioning to digital document storage will free up a ton of space. Many dealerships have huge file rooms containing tens of thousands of documents going back 10 years. Sometimes the rooms get so crowded the dealership is forced to purchase long-term off-site storage. Luckily, through the wonders of modern technology, all of those paper files can now live in secure servers thousands of miles away, and for a fraction of the cost of physical storage. The only space needed in the dealership is a computer.  

Savvy service managers can use the new-found space in the building to expand the service or parts department, increase on-hand inventory, or stock high-margin products like lift kits or running boards. 

Access all files from any digital device – no more hunting down that one piece of paper

The second benefit of digital document management is the ability to find any document instantly. Scanned documents are organized in virtual filing cabinets in the cloud and can be searched by RO#, stock#, deal#, VIN, or customer name. Now you can quickly pull up the vehicle history and all the relevant technician notes without having to run circles around the dealership. Not only will this help you save time and complete more repairs per day, but it will also improve customer service. 

Files can also be accessed from any digital device, whether it’s a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. This means that technicians can quickly pull up a vehicle file while they are knocking out an RO, while the cashier reviews it during payment. The business office can also use the same file, at the same time, as part of a warranty audit. Because everything is stored digitally, that “one” piece of paper can now be accessed by multiple team members at once.

Permissions-based sharing for warranty audits

Unfortunately, warranty audits are a fact of life for every service manager. They are terrible but can be made a lot less painful with digital document storage. Most dealerships organize their files by VIN#, but most warranty audits usually ask for a date range. This means that you need to hunt through multiple files, pulling specific pieces of paper to complete the audit. If a piece of paper is lost or misfiled, it can result in thousands of dollars in lost revenue.  

By using digital document management, you can simply type the date range into your document management system to instantly find the files you are looking for. Better yet, you can copy those files into a digital filing cabinet created specifically for that audit, and only give the auditors access to that one cabinet. This means that the auditors will not have access to any of your other files. Better yet, when the audit is complete, you can simply remove their access. The entire process can be completed virtually, with auditors never stepping foot in your dealership.  

Digitize technician notes and legal copies of wet signatures

Now you may be thinking, “My DMS already stores all of my files and I can already search for them just fine”. The major difference between your DMS and a digital document management system is that your DMS doesn’t store any files with handwriting. That means important legal documents that contain wet signatures can only live as a paper file, stored in a filing cabinet. Fortunately for dealerships, auditors now accept digital copies as legal documents. This means that dealerships using a digital document management solution can scan their legal documents and store them safely in the cloud. 

The same process works for hand-written technician notes that may only exist on the back of the RO. All of these notes can be easily scanned into the system and can be accessed by anyone in the dealership instantly. 

Store documents outside of your DMS

The final benefit of digital document management is that all of your documents can be easily exported whenever you want. Some DMS providers make it extremely difficult to get your data out of their system – effectively taking your files hostage. If you want to remove your files, or switch to another DMS, you are forced to pay huge fees. Document management solutions like Scan123 give you back control of your data. Your files are your property and can be printed, shared, or exported with ease. Some dealerships looking to change their DMS use digital document management solutions to slowly start migrating their files away from their current provider, so that they can take back control of their data and make the transition easier. 

Grow your service department with digital document management

Dealerships that have chosen to modernize operations and switch to digital document management are seeing incredible benefits. Scan123 clients, on average, save $1,500/month in document storage fees. They are also able to process more ROs because they are saving so much time, which increases revenue. To date Scan123 has helped more than 1,100 service departments solve their paper problem. If you would like to learn more about how Scan123 can help you save money and operate more efficiently, schedule a demo with one of our scanning consultants.


Save big compared to traditional paper storage

The average dealership wastes $1,500/month storing paper and spending time looking for documents.