Service departments at new-vehicle dealerships are swimming in big data. Shops use the information that multiple vendors provide about customers and their vehicles to help boost profits, enhance retention and improve fixed ops efficiency.
But service operations that don't marshal information technology effectively risk drowning in data instead. Failure to "tame the IT monster," as a popular ad campaign portrays, can waste the money dealerships spend on software products, disrupt shop productivity and drive away annoyed customers.
That's why innovations such as a new effort by Hunter Engineering and Dealer-FX to integrate the data they provide service departments are so vital. Dealers need to keep encouraging suppliers, as happened here, to ensure their products are fully compatible with technology from other vendors.
Hunter makes inspection equipment such as Quick Check, Quick Check Drive and Quick Tread. When customers enter a dealership's service drive, these systems automatically measure vehicles' tire tread, wheel alignment and battery life, enabling service advisers to share the results instantly and propose needed maintenance, repairs and parts such as new tires.
Dealer-FX sells the ONE Platform, which manages the service process from vehicle check-in, to preparation of a repair order for a shop technician, to customers' drive-away and the next scheduled visit. A digital dashboard allows advisers to call up and record data about a vehicle on a tablet computer while they conduct a walkaround inspection with the customer.
Now the companies are putting the chocolate and peanut butter together, so to speak. The 500 or so U.S. dealerships that are customers of both the ONE Platform and Hunter equipment will get Hunter inspection data added automatically to the Dealer-FX system. They won't pay extra for that integration.