Electronic key management boosts aftersales productivity

Audi Sport

In this article: Lookers Audi uses Traka Automotive key management to help boost aftersales productivity and profits [Sponsored content]

Lookers plc is the third largest car dealership group operating in the UK. It runs 153 dealerships selling 10 major brands, together generating 2017/2018 annual sales of £4.69bn. Lookers is one of Traka Automotive’s largest customers.

The Camberley Audi Aftersales Centre is the second largest service department in the whole of the Lookers Group. So, we decided to spend a day shadowing Michael Wrigley, Head of Business there, to ask him why he decided to install Traka Automotive’s networked key management system across the three Audi Camberley sites he manages and find out what benefits he’s spotted so far.

Managing growth

As the volume of cars Camberley Audi was handling continued rising month-on-month, there was a need to find a fool-proof system for managing the increasing numbers of sets of car keys its staff were handling - ideally providing a way of logging and keeping track of them via dedicated tablets.

The problem was acute at the Camberley Audi Aftersales Centre because over the previous 12-months it had seen a 40% increase in servicing business to nearly 60 cars going through the 20-service bays each day.

Service Centre efficiencies

Michael Wrigley is heavily focused on finding efficiencies which enable them to move cars through Audi Camberley’s PDI, sales and servicing areas quicker: “Why spend thousands of pounds more each year renting or buying additional car parking space when you can spend a fraction of that sum putting in systems and processes which unlock efficiencies which, in turn, move more cars off our existing parking spaces more quickly? This is where the Traka key management system comes in.”

The most significant benefit is knowing where keys are at the touch of a button on our dedicated tablets or a PC. Somebody might pipe up: “That car hasn’t moved for days”. That’s Michael’s opportunity to interrogate the Traka system to establish whether the salesman’s gut feel on that vehicle is correct.

Michael Wrigley again: “It’s important to recognise that the key to growing, especially in aftersales, is to get cars on and offsite as quickly as possible. The Traka system gives me an accurate overview of where all the stock is. I can interrogate the system and spot cars that may be away at an independent body shop or our wheel alloying specialist.

“I know this because the key may have been logged out by a technician say 12-hours ago and not yet returned to the cabinet. Keys just don’t stay out of Traka cabinets for that long anymore unless cars are across at a third-party supplier which doesn’t have a Traka system we can network with.”

Aftersales Return on Investment (ROI) in under 4 months

Michael Wrigley explained how he calculate rapid ROI in Traka Automotive software and key cabinets in the Audi Camberley Service Centre: “Any areas where we could make it easier for our very busy Audi-trained technicians to do their jobs quicker made very good business sense. We estimated that each of our 15 Audi-trained technicians in Camberley (at that time) was previously wasting at least five minutes per day looking for keys prior to moving them into a service bay. That’s 75-minutes being lost per day across the whole team or just over £100 - given their value and cost to the business.

“Multiply £100 by some 300 working days per year and you have a minimum annual cost of this wasted productivity of £30,000. Based on this number we worked out that Return on Investment in this site alone was achievable in just four months.”

These numbers may not be exactly the same for your service centres in South Africa. However, it’s worth exploring what efficiencies and productivity gains can be unlocked in your service centres and PDI centres through networked key management. These savings may well make the difference between increasing or protecting your Return on Sales margin and watching it fall away in tighter market conditions.

This article is produced in association with Traka Automotive. Traka Automotive can be reached at 0333 3553726 or email automotive@traka.com