Motus Commercials is the largest independent commercial vehicle dealer group in the UK and also the largest DAF truck dealer group in the world. The mstore for automotive platform began being installed in the Motus LCV division in 2020.
Eddie Clarke-Edwards, the Group F&I Support Manager for Motus Commercials, has been overseeing its implementation having been brought into the business to help with increasing finance income and to offer that all important sales support for its centres after over 25 years in the sector.
We needed to look at something to suit the whole business to try and reduce the paperwork that was being generated. Scalability to operate in different parts of the business is the key thing to our continued growth and prosperity. I feel that mstore will give us a wider base. We see mstore and Arena as an integral partner to our business going forward."
Eddie Clarke-Edwards, Head Of LCV Finance & Business Process
ADDRESSING PROBLEM PAPER
“We looked at the business and the amount of paperwork that’s being generated throughout,” explained Eddie. “Within a deal file, we’re talking 50 plus pieces of paper considering everything we need for compliance - from finance companies and manufacturers, to invoices, receipts and customer order forms - and having that all together in one place.
“We needed to look at something to suit the whole business to try and reduce the paperwork that was being generated, and also the accessibility by colleagues, to enable them to get their hands on this information without wasting time. Before, we’d be sending someone off to a storeroom to move boxes full of deal files and try to find the appropriate file only to then find either you haven’t got the piece of paper you’re after in there, or you’re having to take the time to sift through to find exactly what you need.”
mstore STANDS OUT OVER THE COMPETITION
“We’d started with a competitor system into a couple of our LCV (Light Commercial Vehicles) dealerships and that got us thinking - is there anything else out there that can start to incorporate the service department, parts department and also our trucks side of the business as well?”
Having trialled a key competitor product within our LCV division, Eddie has found that accessibility is of particular importance for the sales teams. “The other system hasn’t had the fluidity that we’ve seen with mstore. The sales team with the other system have to scan the documents using an iPad which is time consuming from their point of view for it to then go into the system. Whereas with mstore it works with our sales system, so when the sales team click to print off an order form, it automatically sends it through.”
Another stand out for Eddie was the artificial intelligence applied by mstore to further streamline administration. “After a certain time, the system will learn where it needs to put the paperwork, so you can go to a scanner or multi-function printer with say 20 or 30 pages and just put that through, and it will recognise the pages and automatically put it into the correct place. So much time has been saved for the administrators, they’re able to concentrate on what it is they need to most – invoicing, the preparation of a deal file and so on.”
Eddie has also been impressed with the speed of implementation with the Arena team, and potential to grow digitisation across the wider commercial division. “I feel that the roll out with the competitor’s system would have been a little slower to where we are now with mstore.”
“Whilst we’ve only introduced mstore into van sales so far, I feel that mstore will give us a wider base. We’re looking to scope the truck side of the business next, and possibly push it out into the aftersales side of the business in 18 months to 2 years.”
“From a business point of view, we’ve got to make sure we’re not being wasteful and we’re spending money in the right areas. If we’re wasting money, then we can’t invest in other areas of the business that we’d like to. mstore gives us good value for money compared to the competitor system.”
“Within five years, at least half if not three quarters of our business will be digitised. We see mstore and Arena as an integral partner to our business going forward.”
SYSTEM INTEGRATION SPEEDS UP SALES
The two main systems used within the van sales process by the business are Rev8 (CDK) and Reef. mstore provides the glue between these systems to streamline processes that help the sales teams focus on selling.
“We use a number of different systems especially on the sales side,” confirms Eddie, “so you can be asking staff to come out of different things to gather paperwork all together and salespeople are employed to sell – they’re not being fully effective doing administration or filing. Now the mstore solution works alongside to bring all the deal file documents together in one easy convenient location.”
“From a sales’ point of view, once they’ve sold a customer a vehicle, they just click on the order form button. The order’s already fed through to the administrator so that they can start preparing the deal file for the vehicle that’s been sold and then the salesperson can get that document signed by the customer and feedback through into the system.”
The Arena team of developers liaised well with the development team at Reef. “From a salesperson’s point of view, you don’t want to have to put something on one system, then log out, go onto another system to make sure it’s gone in the right place. It’s already there and being dealt with which is good to know.”
Eddie has first-hand experience of the limitations of working with paper in the showroom, being a former salesman himself. “For sales - as I well know from when I was selling - I’d have to go and find the file, usually it would be on a weekend when you didn’t have your administrators in. And because you didn’t know where the administrators filed things, you’d be searching for ages whilst you’ve got the customer downstairs and all you wanted to know was how many owners has the vehicle had. Whereas now with mstore, anyone can type in the vehicle registration number, up pops the V5 and that’s it. mstore makes sales so much easier and less time consuming.”
A MORE FLEXIBLE AND EFFICIENT WORKFORCE
Remote access is a priority for Motus Commercials. “Now you can just access documents wherever you are and that’s the beauty of it. Having someone spending a morning looking for a particular file isn’t the best use of that person’s time. Whereas with mstore, a click on a mouse, and you’ve got the information wherever you’re working.”
“The Company always strives to enable flexibility, and that is more so with the current pandemic situation. Now we can have administrators working from home and they can still do their job function whereas before you’d have to have them in on site and there’s the obvious risk to having more people on site with the spread of Covid. Whilst we’re classed as key workers in our industry you still want to reduce the risk to our colleagues of the infection, and that’s key.”
“Covid probably brought what we were looking at doing forward a lot sooner. We’re in the position where we can carry on with our business without any huge disruptions because we’re well set up for it.”
PAPER AND STORAGE SAVINGS
“You’ve got the paper, print and storage costs. Files take up a lot of space that you could use for something else, and paperwork can go missing from those files.
“Usually, things have to be kept on file for six or seven years – that’s huge. Not having that is going to be a massive saving for the business compared to the cost of having the mstore system put in."
TACKLES 95% OF COMPLIANCE HEADACHES!
“With mstore, everything’s in one place and not left on peoples’ desks,” explains Eddie. “From the sales manager, the compliance team, the franchise director and myself can go in to the system and take a look knowing that everything’s been done correctly and in place. Everything’s there on screen so you haven’t got the worry of having somebody to lift and carry big deal file boxes to then store in a container somewhere.”
Eddie recalls being told when he first became a sales manager, “If you think compliance is expensive, try non-compliance,” and that’s always stuck with him. “It’s absolutely true. If you don’t have everything in order – you only need that one instance where the company may have to present something and if you don’t have your paperwork in order that can be very costly. Paperwork is an important issue not just for customer records and filing, but because of legislation.”
“Carrying out audits will be easier for our group auditors and our external auditors. They won’t need to come to site anymore because we’ve got the structure in mstore to give them access and they can do that themselves remotely. The whole working dynamic is changing for the better and this surely has to be progress.”
Managing versions of documentation is also important from a compliance point of view for Eddie. “A lot of our business is actually done remotely with business customers. The sales team might just receive an email to place an order, the email goes into the system to confirm the order. They can then do the order form which gives the administration team the point to start the process of setting up that deal file until an authorised person of the business can sign it, then we’ve got that version in there as well.”
“From an audit point of view, the audit trail and compliance is in order. Nobody’s going to be blaming somebody for that paperwork not being where it should be – everything’s timed and date stamped. mstore keeps everything wrapped up neat and tidy.”
“With distance selling regulations, especially at these times, as well as GDPR and the FCA - the amount of paperwork that’s generated and the reliance on people to make sure that everything’s right is enormous. We don’t want to be a company that’s blaming its employees if things aren’t there. It’s the company’s responsibility to make sure that we’ve got that right infrastructure and processes in place, and that the staff are trained properly to follow that process and legislation because it impacts on every single one of us.”
“For me, I wouldn’t say the headache’s removed 100% with mstore, but it’s certainly removed at least 95% because you know everything’s there when you need to go and look for it.”
ADVICE FOR OTHER DEALERSHIPS
A few months into the project, Eddie has learned a lot about changing the way they work for the better that could benefit other dealerships. “Look at the different areas of the business,” he suggests, “and see where time is getting lost and to see what the route cause of that is and how that can be made better.”
He suggests that other dealerships considering change, will “see the areas I’ve outlined where employees’ time is being spent trying to find things and also the service that they’re giving to the customer.”
“We should have the things that provide professional service levels to customers,” points out Eddie. “People are so used to going online and ordering an item and it turn up the next day. We need to be as slick as that. I would say look at how slick you operate, and to look at a system like mstore to reduce wasted time and to improve customer service.”
STRATEGIC TECHNICAL PARTNER
“We’re probably the only commercial dealer group to buy a car dealer group, so the scalability of mstore is really important to Motus Commercials. As we grow, we need to make sure that the system is going to be able to cope and will carry out the functionality to help to improve our business and investing correctly for the future.”
“Looking at different operational parts of the business – where can we reduce the storage of paperwork - sales is the most obvious choice. We can then look at other parts of the business like aftersales or even accounts – there’s different operations in the business that mstore should fit within, then everyone’s got access to the information where permitted to get what they need whenever they need it. Scalability to operate in different parts of the business is the key thing to our continued growth and prosperity.”
Read more about mstore for automotive