When (car dealerships) are being audited, they have to produce all this documentation as soon as possible. Now we can do this straight from mstore.

Richard Bates​
Operations Manager

Straightset is a leading garage equipment specialist, supplying, installing and servicing car service equipment to workshops across the UK.

The business was founded over 30 years ago relying on paper-driven processes to manage key operations such as collating and evidencing the service of vehicle lifts, jacking beams, air compressors and other essential equipment. Straightset now has around 50 field-based service engineers undertaking to fulfil health and safety requirements for dealership groups such as Evans Halshaw, VW and Sytner.

Richard Bates (Operations Manager) received a call from Arena suggesting that their mstore software could help create efficiencies in his business. 

Richard explains, “We’ve historically been very paper driven. We end up with different types of paper for different reasons doing laps around the building. Our whole process flow was designed around following that piece of paper around the building.”

Improving efficiencies and customer service

Although Richard was not actively looking to change at the time, he thought there was something in this for Straightset for managing the servicing of pressurised equipment, exhaust extraction for health and safety contamination to small tools calibration and creating a history in one place for all pieces of equipment. 

“Keeping a paper trail became a problem. We spent too much time looking for documents, filing them, passing them around. You don’t really realise how much time you spend.”

Richard recognised the severe limitation of the legacy, paper based systems went beyond productivity. 

“When a customer called with a query, we’d have to go to the cabinet, look for the file, scan through the file page by page. Now we just look in the scanning tool and there it is. mstore pretty much eliminated all that.”

Improving cash flow

As well as improving efficiencies and customer service, mstore contributes to enhanced cash flow.  

“To get paid we have to provide the relevant paperwork and we have to deal with subcontractors, so we have to wait for them to send their paperwork in. Now, as soon as the paperwork comes in by post or email we automatically scan it and know that it’s in there. The indexing does make it a lot easier and quicker. It’s easier and faster to gather the paperwork backup to send with an invoice, it also means we have less invoice queries, and get paid faster.” 

Supporting compliance in dealerships

“We do a lot of work for VW, Audi, Porsche who have very strong audit requirements to ensure their health and requirements are met in the right frequency and they can prove and it’s been serviced, it’s got a contract and there’s a calibration certificate if this is required. So when they’re being audited they have to produce all this documentation as soon as possible. Now we can do this straight from mstore.”

Evolving ways of working

You don’t have to revolutionise moving to a more paperless environment, as Richard points out. “We’re slowly moving away from paper that we have to move around the site. It’s a transitional step. We know it’s going to take a while to end up with a seamless system with no physical paperwork. Paperless doesn’t quite work yet, even the sites don’t like paperless. But it’s a great tool for now.”

He advocates getting one system up and running at a time. “Doing everything in one go is too much. Phase one is get it up and bedded in, phase two is for the nice to haves, but not the essentials, to save you biting off more than you can chew. Give yourself time to consider how you’re going to set it up properly. If you don’t and you get it wrong, you’ll end up not using it.”

Arena people

Richard explains, “I used to implement SAP and ERP systems for a multi-national so I know about how to implement systems and the processes that you go through. Your guys are very professional and very organised. Care and attention is good. Nic (the project manager) scheduled a weekly meeting during implementation. I was probably a bit more relaxed about it than he was. You’re very organised and process led which gives you confidence that you can do it.”

mstore is not overly complicated, but the API development was not straight forward. Nic and the guys have done a great job of producing an API that worked pretty much straight away.”