Published on August 18, 2014

TB EDITORIAL: Fear not today’s technology

AKRON (Aug. 18, 2014) — Traditionally, independent tire dealers have been slow to adopt new software technology designed to help them run their dealerships better.

Whether that’s due to being uncomfortable with technology and change, the cost of new software, not having a staff member who is trained to work in this area, or not seeing the benefits, many dealers and repair shop owners—especially single-location shops—have not stayed cutting edge.

Some dealerships have been able to get away with this, depending on the sophistication of their local competition. But for most tire dealers, tapping into the power of innovative software platforms may be the great equalizer that keeps them in the hunt with the growing number of larger dealership chains, not to mention auto dealerships, looking to take away their sales.

Stories in this issue focusing on shop software present a strong case for reluctant tire dealers to embrace what business software can do for them and their bottom line. That includes reducing costs for personnel, eliminating repetitive work, improving customer service, streamlining inventory control and enhancing marketing and communication with customers.

    Newer software can help dealers looking at eliminating overhead, especially if that software is fully integrated with the point-of-sale counter, according to Kim Angermeier, CEO of software marketer MaddenCo Inc.

In a fully integrated system, when a product is sold, it automatically creates an accounts payable invoice—there’s no need to rekey in the financials on an invoice using third-party software.

Many software companies are developing mobile apps that allow salespeople to access customer information on their mobile screen or tablet.

The ability to do this is a huge time saver and customer friendly, Ms. Angermeier said, with sales personnel or tire service technicians out in the field able to bring up customers’ accounts without having to call back to the home office and waste valuable time.

Many POS applications also permit linking with tire and parts suppliers as well as labor guide databases to improve the accuracy of quotes.

It doesn’t take a scientific research study to realize how companies and individuals today are integrating the Internet and business software into their operations. Just look at how many customers and business people carry smart phones and tablets with them wherever they go.

This is the new norm for tire dealers and independent repair shops. Embracing the cost-saving, data-providing, function-reducing power of business software, especially that tailored for the independent tire dealership and service shop, has become a key to survival.

 

This editorial appears in the Aug. 18 print edition of Tire Business. Have an opinion on this topic? Send your comments to tirebusiness@crain.com.

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