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Successful pilot with BMW MINI sees digitisation roll out

Successful pilot with BMW MINI sees digitisation roll out

BMW MINI retailer, Soper of Lincoln, has completed a trial of the mstore for automotive software platform to enable digitisation of their key operations. This includes integration with existing BMW OEM systems and the existing dealer management system to remove cumbersome paper and streamline processes.

BMW Group UK responded to calls from their retailer network to overhaul internal processes and communications to deliver improved productivity and efficiencies.

The objective is to eliminate as far as possible, the cost of producing, storing, archiving and destroying paper documents and thereby deliver a rapid return on the retailer’s investment with the nett ROI over 7 years expected to be over £300,000.

Digital signatures are now accepted for BMW audit purposes, enabling a significant step forward in the ability of retailers to transform ways of working, eliminate unnecessary paper, and introducing even more efficiencies.

Andrew Tullie, MD of Soper Lincoln has been at the forefront of this quiet, paperless revolution, partnering with Arena Group on their mstore for automotive platform, which is starting to make some noise in the UK retailer network. “The big one for me is the amount of documents that we amass and feel that we need to store. It’s an immense amount of dead paper,” he confirms. “The room it takes up and cost of on- and off-site storage is significant, and the productivity lost is immeasurable. Combine that with the GDPR and audit obligations, and all of a sudden we’re very exposed.”

Part of Andrew’s motivation for change has been to transform the dealership’s environmental footprint with a new water recycling scheme and solar energy system combining with the paperless approach. Soper’s throughput of cars for service previously generated around 125,000 sheets per year. Combined with hefty paper-based deal packs for car sales, an incredible 670 trees were previously used per year for paper. This will be reduced by an estimated 95% by converting to digital to get the same job done.

Automotive retailers have experienced an upsurge in scrutiny and levels of documentation required. “We live in a world where audits can occur at any time, particularly with the introduction of the Automated First Registration and Licensing (AFRL) system, where everything we do and the documents we need to keep, need to be ready for audit. It stands in the way of being productive,” explains Andrew.

“We have recently launched a staff ECOS company car alternative scheme which is stringent in terms of requirement for accuracy, mstore is the perfect platform for streamlining this process and being always ready for a potential HMRC audit,” adds Andrew. “This is an activity that we can streamline and make bullet proof with checks. Similarly with the DVLA and manufacturer warranties, so we’re no longer fearful of audits.”

Andrew has been an advocate for streamlining retail operations and working towards a paperless environment, and sees the real benefit in going beyond digitising the deal file process or opting for scan and store to archive only. “There’s little mileage in scan and store, you plaster over the cracks. You need to change the process, and that's when it becomes exciting.”

“Documents flow from manufacturers, finance companies and others, which becomes more and more demanding. There is an absolute requirement for a paperless document solution, but it’s all about the processes in sales, sales admin, service, warranty administration, and the links between customers, the service or sales adviser and the back office. It’s the interface that needs breaking down to become a seamless process.”

Digitising the sales process has precipitated a welcome change in behaviour at Soper that has delivered massive productivity improvements with a majority of paperwork filed correctly and time taken chasing largely eliminated.  “I’m saving one person per year to simply to chase sales paperwork.” Confirms Andrew. “It’s changed the dynamic in the sales process to be more proactive and thorough than before. We can be better, smarter and make the job more interesting.”

And not all of the costs of inefficient, paper-based processes are hard to see. “A lot of money comes with customer printing. A four-sided colour vehicle health check handover checklist or ARFL document incurs the cost of a print, so there are massive potential tangible cost savings,” points out Andrew.

Digitising service also delivers hugely on tangible cost savings on expense such as printing. “We service over 50 cars per day, requiring between 4 and 25 pieces of paper printing per car. Multiply this by 5.5 days per week over seven years and you have a mountain of documents that you’re required to storage to provide a history of what was done.” Based on Andrew’s figures, digitisation is expected to save £12,800 per year by reducing paper usage by 95% across deal files and service. Savings are gained by removing the cost of paper, copy and print, wallets and bankers’ boxes. For those incurring external storage charges managing their paper archive, the ROI extends further.

Andrew opted to work with Arena Group. “I wanted to do it properly so I opted to work in partnership with a provider who understands document management. When you speak to Arena you realise what’s possible. Someone turns the lights on, and that’s when the cogs start whirling. They’re intelligent people which fills me with confidence, so I have no doubt that it will deliver what it says on the tin.”

Partnering with a provider that could tackle paper-based processes right across his dealership including HR, resolve integration challenges and digitise existing archived documentation is also a priority for Andrew. “Anything we see as an opportunity or issue Arena has the resource and capability to develop it.” 

“Arena can take our 7 year backlog and digitise it. I’m looking forward to this. To have a solution for existing documents, get rid of storage costs and then set out on our new systems is a real selling point for me.”

Andrew acknowledges that, through the Retailer Development Forum,  BMW has reacted positively to the request of the retailer network. This retailer inspired initiative will enable retailers to be on the front foot and plan for changes that come down the pipeline from the manufacturer. Andrew identifies other benefits for the retailer manufacturer interface “Certain key parts of document management will become consistent, for example invoicing warranty. By working together we can be far more efficient which may help streamline expensive processes.”

“There’s huge efficiency savings which will be immeasurable,” concludes Andrew. “The knock on in addition to efficiency savings will be solid GDPR compliance, more efficient audit processes including remote auditing, and dealer manufacturer health checks. I anticipate benefits in the longer term to reallocate resource and become better at something else. Storage costs go, offices become tidier, communications flow easier, and we’re bring our workplace into the 21st century.”

mstore for automotive will feature at November’s AM Live event in the Future Dealership Zone and in the Arena / Fujitsu tech jam on C17 in the heart of the exhibition. Find out more here www.mstore-auto.co.uk or contact automotive@arenagroup.net 0344 863 8000

 

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