Auto dealers are dynamic businesses that move pretty fast.
When your focus is on every new UP that steps onto the lot, it’s easy to miss advancements in technology that can help your operation work more efficiently.
As a business owner or operations manager, you don’t want to expend resources on updating and moving complicated hardware setups, buying mobile phones, and other investments that don’t really help the bottom line.
We’ve worked with a number of Vermont auto dealers, and in this post we share four ways you can use technology to save money. These solutions will also help your business become more efficient, increase productivity, and simplify business operations.
Almost everyone is familiar with Microsoft Word and Excel, but many people don’t know the full range of benefits that come with Office 365.
This platform offers programs that can help auto dealers increase productivity, streamline communication, and house important files in one central location so any team member can access them from wherever they’re working, including home. Office 365 gives you email integration, calendars, tasks, planners, projects, cloud storage through OneDrive, and even a social chat app with Microsoft Teams.
Teams keeps your staff connected with one another by offering channels for company chatter. It also allows for communication in a collaborative, transparent way that helps cut down on email.
Younger workers are especially likely to like this tool as an alternative to email, phone calls, and meetings. Teams integrates with Office Online, Skype for Business, and SharePoint. It’s also great if you’ve got remote workers.
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Managing your company’s finances from wherever you are working is critical.
Transitioning to a hosted server solution with QuickBooks on it will help your business eliminate siloed financial information housed on individual hard drives. It will also allow your company to make pertinent financial information and documents centrally accessible to employees at every office location.
Thin clients centralize the computer user’s interface to technology. In the case of an auto dealer, employees moving around a show room selling cars generally don’t need a computer system that’s beyond web access.
A thin client is plug and play. Unlike a desktop that involves moving hardware and wiring, a thin client just plugs in wherever you are. It’s not a specialized system, but rather a remote desktop that’s built right into the monitor.
With a thin client, an employee can log in to a terminal, work for a few hours, pull up quotes, then walk away. If they find themselves across the show room, or not getting back to a computer station until the next day, the session simply picks up where they left off when they log in again.
The last thing auto dealer employees need when they’re trying to run a quote or process a sale is a computer that suddenly launches an update. This doesn’t happen with thin clients. They keep things simple. You type in your username and password and start working.
In addition, thin clients cost roughly half what a decent desktop costs.
They’re made of a small piece of hardware that has an operating system that typically does quarterly updates managed by the cloud, so there aren’t any surprise patches, Windows updates, or other maintenance. The server for thin clients is maintained at exactly the level that’s needed for the business to be successful. Changes are tracked by the provider externally, and any system updates are scheduled for outside of business hours.
The thin clients are also wireless, so there’s no need to worry about how to wire devices into the infrastructure of your show room. When you order a new one, you simply plug it in and you’re ready to go.
Another benefit to using a thin client is standardizing user education training if your company has a new employee packet with usage policies for technology. The upfront investment you make with a thin client will involve paying for the server and the licensing. For businesses that are web-based, this option is a solid investment.
Bring Your Own Device Networks
Auto dealers often ask about how to handle requests from their sales teams to “bring their own device” to use as their work device.
An IT provider can help you set up a secure wireless network so salespeople at dealerships can use their own laptops and tablets. With the right setup, employees can access the internet without compromising your network’s security.
In another scenario, employees might also want to print from their devices when they’re at work. This can also be set up by your provider, giving employees secure printer privileges while limiting access to other paths the device can take on the network. If this is something your salespeople prefer to do, it will certainly save you money on buying them hardware to use at work.
Some auto dealers may want to improve the way their team manages and receives phone calls on their devices. Instead of issuing all the salespeople company phones to receive calls when they’re away from their desks, you can opt for a policy where you offer mobile device management of their personal phones plus a soft phone setup.
This could involve distributing an app to certain devices via a VOIP system that can route calls when staff are away from the show room floor. This kind of setup ensures your customers are taken care of quickly and efficiently.
At the end of the day, you want your employees to be able to do their jobs without technology hassles. The technology you offer them should help them do their jobs better, not hinder them. These four uses of technology are investments that empower your sales people to work efficiently and productively, while also making your business logistics stronger and more streamlined.