Many car dealerships face the near-universal problem of disorganized dealership inventory management. They might lose potential sales, loyalty and future sales from customers, referrals to the dealerships from customer, and positive reviews for the dealership. Pine Belt Enterprise ("Pine Belt") has overcome this problem by using Zurich Connected Cars and managed to modernize and streamline its auto dealer inventory management system, resulting in significant performance improvements in customer experience at the dealership.
Kenneth Martin is Vice President of Pine Belt, a New Jersey-based, family-owned and operated car dealer offering new and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs. Pine Belt specializes in Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Subaru cars. They offer deals at four dealerships in Lakewood, NJ. Pine Belt’s Chrysler store has over 300 cars in inventory. “The problem that I have is, that there are over 300 units housed on 3 separate locations. The issue is that when a salesperson is looking for a car and the customer is sitting in the showroom it could take them 15-20 minutes to find the vehicle, so either the customer climbs out, loses interest or just gets up and leaves,” Mr. Martin elaborates.
Mr. Martin’s most important objective is to "treat people the way he would want to be treated". “And in this case,” he explains, “I would not buy a car at a dealership either, if I have to wait too long and if the employees would seem to be searching the right car for hours.”
The next step was to find a dealership-focused solution to increase vehicle availability, as knowing the location and status of every vehicle in a company fleet is key to optimizing processes and improving customer satisfaction.
“What’s nice about Zurich Connected Cars is that we always know where our vehicles are by locating them right in the mobile app”, shares Mr. Martin.
The Zurich Connected Car mobile application (available for both iOS and Android) allows for convenient monitoring of vehicles from anywhere, and can easily find the exact location of each vehicle and where it’s been. The app also provides real-time vehicle information and allows users to configure the system to send out instant notifications – including low fuel or low battery alerts – straight to their mobile phone. This enables users to check vehicle health in real-time by tracking fuel level, battery charge, odometer mileage, and more. The app also allows push notifications to alert users when vehicles are being used after business hours, outside of specified geographic areas, or other situations involving the fleet, so users can respond appropriately to ensure the protection of their assets.
“Using an inventory management system like Zurich Connected Cars has been huge for our customer satisfaction but also for our employees. It made our daily routine simpler and waiting times for our customers way shorter”, says Mr. Martin.
Many car dealerships don’t take advantage of a vehicle inventory management system, assuming that it would be rather complex to implement. But it's just a matter of finding the right supplier!
Mr. Martin emphasizes that “it is so easy to use, it is just a matter of plugging the device into the OBD port and for the salesperson or the manager to download the app”.
Unforeseen circumstances can cause disruptions to the operation, potential loss of revenue or additional costs related to vehicle theft and damage.
“This was also a feature that we had the opportunity to use“, Mr. Martin elaborates, “we had a car that showed up in Connecticut, but our dealership is in New Jersey, and ultimately we found out that the car was stolen from our parking lot. We were able to get the police involved and right now there’s an active investigation.”