I’m saving one person per year simply to chase sales paperwork. We can be better, smarter and make the job more interesting."
Andrew Tullie, Managing Director
A collaborative approach
Soper of Lincoln were looking to eliminate as far as possible, the cost of producing, storing, archiving and destroying paper documents. They stepped up to be a pilot site for other potential BMW UK retailers.
All parties collaborated closely to understand requirements, ensure effective integration with manufacturer platforms and dealer management systems including Keyloop / CDK Drive, and explore where wider improvements could be made.
One such improvement was the agreement by BMW Group UK for digital signatures to be accepted for audit purposes. This enabled 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 of Lincoln selected to work with Arena Group applying their mstore for automotive platform across key operations in the business.
Meeting key business objectives
“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,” confirms Andrew. “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.
Digital Working Dealership-wide
The mstore platform has enabled transition to digital working right across the dealership with efficiencies introduced to sales, aftersales, HR, affinity and more.
Recent collaboration with the BMW Innovation project delivered a ground-breaking Workshop Control development inspired by Kanban agile working. The traditional wallboard is replaced by a digital T card system accessible on-screen anywhere by multiple users, keeping the whole aftersales team on track and focused on chargeable hours and customer service. Technicians no longer have to step away from their ramp to query workshop control, pick up paper print outs or chase parts.
“When you see mstore’s digital workshop job board, you see the volume of WiPs that we’re handling and it’s mind blowing. You just wonder how you ever did it before,” explains Andrew.
“For the technicians it’s definitely a time saver. They absolutely love it. The amount of time that we can recoup by using the system through productivity and the amount of money that we can regenerate - it’s invaluable to the business.”
Precipitating positive behavioural change
Andrew has been an advocate for streamlining retail operations and sees the real benefit in going beyond a scan and store to archive. “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.”
Digitising the sales process with mstore for automotive 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.”
“The mstore system has changed our world; it’s helped to move mountains and made our lives so much easier. This whole project has been an evolution in how we work at Soper.”
Soper's administration supervisor confirms; “We love it! It makes the job a lot easier. We can’t fault it. Everything is instant now, we’re not waiting for files to come upstairs. Everything is more transparent. We can see what action is required, click into it, write the narrative of what exactly is needed and it’s actioned downstairs. Sales managers can see where things are. Accounts can see there are missing documents.”
“Sales guys have really taken to it. If there’s a query about a deal, the sales team can see everything. A sales manager can handover in the salesperson’s absence.”
Delivering an impressive ROI
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.”
A rapid return on the retailer’s investment with the nett ROI over 7 years is expected to be over £300,000.
“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 bringing our workplace into the 21st century.”