February 2021

How Tire and Auto Service Dealers Can Use Data Intelligence for Smarter Business Decisions.

For your tire and auto services business, the ability to aggregate and analyze your business data will have a significant impact on whether you can meet market demands. Mounting competition, increasing pressure on pricing and shrinking margins have made it even more important to capture, manage and analyze data to improve your ability to serve your customers. Business Intelligence (BI) systems gather data from databases and silos from your branches, service centers and warehouses and consolidate it into a single source of truth for your entire operation. BI converts your raw data into actionable insights that you can drill into with only a few clicks. In a matter of seconds, you can analyze the data to make quick and informed business decisions.

Benefits of Business Intelligence

Automotive parts and services are as many as they are varied. The volume of data moving across your organization and between branches, distribution centers, customers and suppliers can seem overwhelming. For many companies, tracking purchases, deliveries, transfers, returns and all the complexity associated with invoicing, margin and rebates calculations, as well as discounts and promotions is a daunting, error-prone and time-consuming process. These are the tasks BI is built to handle.

Business intelligence solutions can help you better understand and serve your customers. With a modest investment in BI, you can improve customer service, on time in full (OTIF) metrics, revenue and cost control; give management, logistics, accounts and buying teams the ability to drill into valuable data for their own needs; and analyze current and historical data to identify trends in sales and demand to inform forecasts and estimates. Below are seven key benefits of a modern BI system and how it should support your tire and automotive distribution and or retail business.

1. Reveal patterns in customers spending habits

Understanding what your customers are buying and not buying is critical to making sure you have the right products at the right time for the right price. The right BI tool will give you instant visibility into your customers’ buying habits, so you can see patterns and be more responsive to their needs. Your customer will not have to worry about you running out of stock of a specific oil filter, brake pad, battery or timing belt because you are aligning sourcing and distribution activities based on their buying data.

2. Identify sales opportunities

Seeing what a customer is buying also provides an opportunity to offer complementary products and services. With BI you will be able to identify gaps in the product mix within your customer’s spending habits so you can increase the basket share of your customers’ sales and reduce competitor activity.

3. Improve Customer Service

With BI, your sales teams will be better informed about the needs of your customers. They can use data to speak to recent orders, review any supply chain issues, ask about the quality of the products and services and review upcoming sales. When you understand your customers’ buying needs, you can raise your customer service to a new level. Drill into the numbers with your BI tool to answer questions, assess the data and then implement strategies to address customer concerns before they even think about looking elsewhere for tires, brakes or repair services.

4. Improve quality and focus of promotions that address specific customer needs

You can create better promotions when you know what your customers want, and knowing what they want will increase customer retention. Sales managers can use BI insights to work closely with the marketing team to develop the next big promotion. When campaigns or promotions are supported by data, your leadership team are much more likely to approve them. Real-time data in a visual dashboard will allow service center managers and salespersons to quickly recognize what promotions are working and what are not so they can revisit the campaign or make changes to the offer. Managers can also review the data to monitor the performance of the promotion, as well as individual members of the sales and service teams.

5. Discover product sales patterns to drive product-based decision making

Is your company carrying the right brand of products? Do you offer the right types and variety of products and services? Are your prices competitive? These are a few of the questions that your BI system should be able to answer regarding your product and services catalog. You can also drill deep into your sales data from high-level dashboards into the underlying transactions so that you can have a clear picture of who is buying what, when and where. You can measure product KPIs and discover the product sales patterns driven by your customers. The ability to drill deep into product and service data will enable you to improve commodity product sales, and place your high-margin products and services front and center. This will allow you to meet demand for products that customers order frequently while optimizing your supply chain for products that generate the most profit for your business.

6. Improve inventory management

BI software will help you to analyze sales data and segment sales by customer and geographic region. By separating these segments, you will have a clear understanding of future sales volumes and where these sales will take place. Analysis of current and historical data will help you identify trends in sales and demand to inform inventory forecasts and estimations. With BI, you can also track inventory, sales and orders side-by-side so you can eliminate any doubt about your purchasing and inventory management.

7. Access a complete picture of your business

Your customers are bombarded with product offers and opportunities to try other auto parts stores and service centers. Your competitors are looking to scrutinize every aspect of your relationship, from your sales approach, product mix, and pricing, to customer service and other areas of your business. They are working hard to get your customers’ cars into their shops. You need a complete picture of your business, particularly your customer intelligence so that you can maintain and build upon your current relationship and fight off the competition. The right BI tool will provide an enterprise-wide view of your business, while integrating with other systems and databases to provide a single source for actionable insights. It will also armyour team with the intelligence they need to make quick, informed business decisions so that you are always prepared to fight for your customers.

What is the right BI System for Tire and Auto services businesses?

As a tire and automotive services business, you are generating mountains of data every business day. The volume grows as you add subsidiaries, branches, warehouses, customers, product and financial data, among other sources. Your ERP system was likely put in place so that all of these locations, systems and data silos can work together, aggregating and sharing data across the entire organization. When you have this many data sources and users, you need a BI system that can deliver instant access into trends, risks and opportunities.

Phocas Software has years of experience working with automotive suppliers, distributors, and retailers offering solutions for all departments, branches and warehouses to provide a complete picture of your business. Phocas was built for the every-day users across your company. Details about customers and their buying habits are only a few clicks away, providing you the ability to identify customer issues in real-time so you can address challenges, improve sales, manage margins, refine processes, launch promotions and save time.

What’s next?

After learning best practices to grow your tire and auto services business with data, let's discuss how data analytics can benefit your business specifically.

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