Vertu Motors PLC (Vertu) is the 5th largest motor retail group in the UK operating a network of 146 sales outlets. In 2017, with multiple paper-based processes behind key operations, the business was ready to review ways of working to bring about efficiencies, improved compliance and greater visibility. By 2020, it is estimated that over £120,000 was saved in paper related deal file costs alone, plus around 67 days per month of admin staff time, reaping an annual ROI of 1400% (1) following the roll out across the Group.
Vertu represents 32 franchises in the UK, more than any other UK automotive retailer, selling new, used, fleet and Motability volumes of over 165,000 vehicles per annum across the Group. In 2017, each vehicle sale had a paper-based client deal file created by the vehicle administrator, which at the end of the sales process, on average contained 27 documents. Many of these documents were print outs from electronic systems kept in the deal file for ease of access. Deals were monitored and managed by the sales management and sales administration teams at each individual dealership.
The introduction in 2017 of mstore for automotive, Arena’s own electronic document management platform, ensures Vertu can securely capture all deal file documentation electronically and provide speedy, secure access to all documents by authorised personnel, whilst also providing a full audit trail of activity.
Martin Welch, Head of Risk at Vertu, has overseen the project.
“We integrated mstore with our showroom system, where sales documentation is initially generated,” explains Martin. “Documents and data are then passed to mstore electronically for our sales administrators to control and manage the sales process within the mstore system. Everything is electronic with documents such as handover packs all being generated electronically. Physical signing of documents is now minimal.”
Working electronically has enabled Vertu to address changing and unpredictable trading conditions such as the Covid 19 pandemic. “mstore has been of huge benefit during lockdown, enabling us to instantly disperse and continue our sales administration with our sales administrators working from home. We see it as fundamental to our operations as we emerge from lockdown.”
“You need a digital deal file; everything needs to be electronic so you’re able to share resource across dealerships.” As well as providing flexibility, this has also impacted positively on the Group’s cost base with over 30% less vehicle administration colleagues required, which was part of the reported £10 million annualised saving (2). “It’s all to do with the efficiencies we gained in admin,” confirms Martin. “Lockdown probably accelerated some of this, and we used mstore to enable us to scale up as demand increased.”
In addition to remarkable savings in staff cost, savings from digitising deal files alone were expected to exceed £50,000 per year on paper, print, file covers and archive boxes based on an onsite survey prior to the install of mstore. Indirect, storage and document destruction costs were also wiped out as well as delivery of operational benefits such as reducing the time spent by staff managing the archive, searching for lost documents and moving documents between departments and offices.
Vertu’s Digital Journey
In 2021, Vertu is looking to expand. “We’re just embarking on the aftersales journey. We will focus initially on our Mercedes Benz dealerships where we’re seeing mstore's had success elsewhere, looking to replicate that, and understand what can be applied elsewhere in the Group.
“The differences between franchises tend to be nuances rather than significant differences - the processes are the same, it’s how they’re executed that can change. That’s where you can flex mstore. We’ve got an understanding of what we need to deliver and you’ve got the solution that can be tailored.”
Compliance & FCA Preparedness
“Before mstore, manual handling of paper documents by multiple people to ensure that all the relevant documentation was captured prior to the delivery of the vehicle was challenging,” confirms Martin. “As was moving hardcopy deal files between sites, severely hampering speed of access to documents and controlling the secure access to customer’s personal data contained within the deal file documents.”
“Documents are transferred and held in mstore. The administration team manage documents into the deal file of which the FCA documents – duty of care, demands and needs, status disclose document form a constituent part of the deal file. Essentially, everything is auto stored, everything is electronic.”
Martin has found the automotive team at Arena supportive throughout their digital journey to better ways of working. “There is a mutual trust between our companies, and we have absolute confidence in the mstore product and the competence of the Arena team at strategic level.”
“Neil Maude, Arena’s Director of Technology, has been with us on this journey and bought into our vision throughout. The execution by the project managers, account manager and developers and the working relationship with our team is great.”
“It’s to do with skill – we need someone who’s flexible, we need the consistency in systems and processes, and we need everything to integrate. We don’t want disparate systems, we want integrated systems.”
Read more about mstore for automotive here.
And join us at the AM Live event Jan 20th - 21st 2021 at our virtual speaker session and Hall 2 stand 2.
(1) Based on analysis conducted on mstore usage in November 2020 and figures researched with the Vertu Audit Team in 2017
(2) Extract from AM online article:
“Vertu has worked hard to drive efficiencies during H2 and Forrester said that the acceleration of technology designed to drive efficiencies within the business – not the impact of COVID – being the main driver of a cost reduction programme which reduced group headcount by 345 in the period, yielding expected annualised savings of £10m.”