The automotive industry refers to a range of companies and organisations who are involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing and selling of motor vehicles.

By definition, it is probably one of the biggest industries and one that affects all of us in some way or form. It is one of South Africa’s largest industries, despite the decline in its contribution to the country’s GDP over recent years.

As with any industry, keeping with the times is essential, and we explore the role technology has and will play in the development, and continued growth of this industry.

In an article published by Deloitte in 2014, it was stated that ‘the future of manufacturing will not be decided in roundtable discussions between government, labour, and local business, but will be decided globally every minute through new technologies such as 3D printing, telematics, big data and analytics, and products such as driverless cars.

Three years on from that, and we haven’t seen groundbreaking development on the technology front in South Africa within this industry. On the global front, car manufacturers spend more than $100 billion globally each year on research and development, ranking the industry ahead of other technology-driven industries.

One of the most significant ways technology has impacted this industry are around the processes of dealership management. Technology has been the driving force behind the improvements for both consumer and the dealer.

Here’s a throwback

Cast your mind back to when finance applications were being completed by hand and submitted via a fax (a separate fax to different financial institutions mind you). All conversations were taking place via the telephone, and not email or Instant Messaging like what has become the new normal.

The lack of effective CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems meant that data collection took days, and the complete absence of a DMS (Document Management System) meant that one-page documents, scrap pieces of paper and fumbled business cards were the order of the day.

A Dealer would get a “feeling” for how much a used vehicle would be put back on the marketing for, and how long it would take to sell. Today, used-car inventory management systems help to improve inventory acquisition.

The embracing of hardware has improved the Sales process by leaps and bounds too. Integration with tablets means that the process from introduction to close can be managed according to each customer’s need.

Embracing the future

It is evident that the embracing of technology, albeit just at dealership level has enabled dealerships to approach all their processes from a customer-centric point of view, always putting the need and comfort of their (potential customer) first.

As with any other industry, technology has not done away with processes, but simply streamlined them, and made them more efficient, bringing this particular industry to where it needs to be.

If you are in the automotive industry and feel your business needs a digital transformation, get in touch. We would love to discuss the many, innovating possibilities, and how Realm can make that happen for you.