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IN today’s rapidly evolving automotive landscape, dealerships find themselves at the centre of transformative changes. The traditional car dealer model is undergoing a significant shift, driven by changing customer habits, agency models and ongoing technological advances.

A forward-thinking dealer group cannot afford to rely on legacy solutions. By embracing the future and leveraging the capabilities of a cutting-edge dealer management system (DMS), dealer groups can position themselves at the forefront of innovation. When choosing a DMS or evaluating an existing system, several considerations should be taken if dealers are looking to survive in this changing climate.

Does the system embrace the omnichannel experience?

As industry and consumer trends evolve, it’s essential for dealerships to adapt too. The DMS must align with changing customer expectations by facilitating both digital and in-store touchpoints.

Pinewood’s role-based apps and digital tools have been instrumental in supporting a seamless omnichannel experience and select third-party partners play a role in this. The addition of secure account-to-account payments, eSignatures, and branded media tools have encouraged Pinewood users to digitalise their customer journey.

Will Webb, the Service Manager for Green 4 Motor Company explained how Pinewood’s digital tools have allowed them to remove paper in the Workshop –

“We haven’t used a physical job card for over a year. Pinewood enabled us to go paperless because it cuts out the need for a job card. You can sign everything on the tablet, the Technician can write everything they need to on a job card on their phone.

The job progress screen has everything on it that a job card needed. Which saves time. You’re never losing a job card. You will never lose a job. It also saves space, not needing to store paper in boxes upstairs.”


All-in-one solution vs. bolt-on systems: which is best for your business?

Whether operating a single site or a multi-brand group, dealerships require a DMS that offers value for money, ease of use and helps them achieve their goals. An all-in-one solution like Pinewood DMS incorporates all the necessary features and tools within a single platform. If a dealership has the right system for its needs, there will be no need for bolt-on systems.

Dougal Keith, Managing Director at DM Keith Motors, highlighted the importance of a unified system –  

“Having one system to replace lots of different ones was fundamental for us. Pinewood DMS has revolutionised our workflows, fundamentally changing how we operate – more efficiently and effectively. With Pinewood, you’re constantly moving forward.”

Legacy systems that fail to provide one system for the entire business will not be equipped for the rapid changes happening across the industry. Not only will dealers be left behind with legacy systems, but integrating separate software components can complicate workflow. Dealerships must consider extra time and costs for training, relationships with multiple providers, subscription fees, and more.

Choosing a system that embraces innovation to avoid stagnation

Modern cloud-based systems are continuously changing and innovating, ready to react to the latest changes across the industry. In contrast, legacy providers require dealerships to pay for a highly disruptive yearly update – if they’re lucky.

As an industry pioneer, Pinewood is heavily invested in innovation – often features that other providers tease as ‘new and cutting-edge’, were released to its own users decades ago. It’s important to sift through the noise to identify which DMS truly delivers on its promises.

Denis Murphy, Managing Director at Blackwater Motors said: “It was time to move on, time for a change, so we moved to Pinewood… We wished to provide our customers with an integrated digital experience, online bookings and payment facilities, and access to their cars’ progress through our workshops online. This makes our customer experience more enjoyable and paperless.”


Dealers must be prepared to embrace change and be supported by an advanced dealer management system. Third-party partners play a crucial role in the automotive industry, offering integration with non-industry specific tools such as digital signatures or payment processing. These partnerships provide added value and extended capabilities to DMS providers and their customers.

However, it is worth noting that DMS providers that rely heavily on partner integration for industry-specific applications might be compensating for shortcomings in their systems. While leveraging partnerships can enhance the overall functionality of a DMS, it is essential for providers to strike a balance between their core offerings and the reliance on third-party integrations. A well-designed DMS should ideally possess robust native features, minimising the need for excessive partner integrations and ensuring a comprehensive and seamless solution for automotive dealers.

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