Budds' BMW explains how Tire Storage Solutions improved their fixed operations.
Budds' BMW is a respected, family-operated dealership in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. They pride themselves as 'the family business that was built on service." The three cornerstones of Budds' service experience are quality, efficiency and innovation. Their Service Centre features a luxury massage lounge, relaxing bistro, and business workstations.
With their high service standards in mind, Budds' Service Centre introduced a new tire storage facility in 2004. They not only identified another area to add value and convenience for their customers, but also found a reliable way to keep them coming back for regular service.
As the new venture took off, Budds' developed manual procedures for managing its wheel and tire inventory. Yet, as the business grew, the Service Centre found it was incurring significant annual losses due to incomplete tracking capabilities. If a customer complained that the wrong tires had been put back on their vehicle, Budds' didn't have enough evidence to refute the claim.
Budds' found the solution to its problem in specialist software provider Tire Storage Solutions, whose application is to track and manage wheels and tires for car dealerships and service centres. Tire Storage Solutions' software, GTMS, provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-use scanning and tracking system for managing tire and wheel inventories.
"We're adding clear value for our customers and they feel they are getting a more personal service. That's priceless."
Since implementing the solution, Budds' has reduced its tire and wheel-related losses to zero, saving the business a significant amount annually, while boosting customer service and maximizing add-on sales.
Record snowfalls and long commutes have made snow tires during the winter season a must, resulting in a demand for winter tires. Quick to respond to this trend, Budds' Service Department began to offer customers a safe means of storing their off-season tires. For Budds', this was not only a chance to add new value to customers, but also to keep them coming back at least twice a year. The enterprise was so successful that it was soon bringing in substantial annual revenue due to the low expense to sale ration in an extremely high gross profit percentage.
"It sends out the message to our customers that we are serious about what we do – that we're not just charging them to put their tires in the back room."
Since starting the tire storage service, Budds' has learned some valuable lessons. In his first year at the helm, Service Manager Patrick Fletch oversaw losses due to misplaced or rejected tires and wheels. The losses were considerably high, due to the extremely high cost of BMW tires and wheels. The lost value in the service was accounted for by just 30 sets of wheels and tires. The issue was not lack of vigilance by the service staff – the company had put in place a meticulously detailed process for manually recording inventory, so the right tires were returned to the right customers – the problem was providing proof.
"We'd find that customers were claiming they'd got the wrong tires, or that they were too worn," Patrick recalls. "Even if we knew this wasn't the case, we had no real way of demonstrating this, so we'd end up taking the hit. Writing off half of the revenue was a huge blow to the business."
Realizing the limitations of its manual processes', Budds' surveyed the market to see what other solutions might be available. One option was to have a specialist third party manage the tires of the dealerships' behalf, but the company was uncomfortable with the associated loss of control.
"They would have taken the wheels, but I store over 800 of them. I didn't like the idea of being dependant on someone else for my turnaround times. When customers need their wheels and tires, they need them quickly. I turn them around in 24 hours."
Instead, Budds' turned to specialist software provider Tire Storage Solutions, whose application has been designed specifically to track and manage wheels and tires for car dealerships and service centres. Being relatively new to market at the time, Budds' helped refine the system, named GTMS, for the general market, as well as helping themselves in the process by meeting their comprehensive demands.
Tire Storage Solutions' software system, GTMS, stores detailed information about customers, storage location (down to the bin), appointments and wheel status, including tread depth, rim condition and an optional attached picture of each tire/rim. The solution covers every aspect of the inventory capture and management process using bar codes, a state-of-the-art handheld device and a web-based software application.
The user-friendly administration software, which integrates with Budds' existing DMS system, is accessed through a simple online portal. Inventory is entered into the system using a wireless mobile device, which includes a scanner, camera, phone and keyboard, so that every detail is included in the system to correctly identify individual items and, crucially, to register their condition photographically.
Budds' can now request customer to sign a document accepting the current state of their tires. This saves Budds' the expensive and sometimes embarrassing disagreements that occur six months down the line.
Having ready access to detailed customer and inventory knowledge has empowered Budds' service professionals, improving efficiency and enabling them to exceed customer expectations and identity previously untapped sales opportunities.
Over the last two seasons, Patrick estimates that Budds' has saved tens of thousands of dollars in tire and wheel related losses alone. Significantly, the company is also harnessing new efficiencies allowed by GTMS to boost productivity and turnaround times for customers.
"With 90% plus accuracy on all wheels we store, we can ensure that everything is ready and in good condition before the customer returns," Patrick notes. "Because it's much easier to locate the right wheels quickly, we can get them out, check their quality, speak to the customer about any repairs or replacements they might want to make, all before they come to have the tires swapped."
"Just as importantly, it sends out the message to our customers that we are serious about what we do – that we're not just charging them to put their tires in the back room" he adds. "We're adding clear value, and they feel they are getting a more personal service. That's priceless. Our staff have much more control now when talking to a client, too. I wouldn't even think about going back to the way we did this before."
On Budds' relationship with Tire Storage Solutions, Patrick concludes:
"Being in my environment, I deal with plenty of software suppliers who make a lot of promises. TSS is the only one that, if there's ever been a problem, has had it fixed within 24-48 hours. I hold a lot of value in the way they handle themselves."