Dealerships manage thousands of documents over the course of a single calendar year, not to mention the many historical documents they’re required to keep. According to an annual report from NADA, a single vehicle purchase can involve more than 40 separate documents. And that adds up. Dealerships combined to sell nearly 14 million light-duty vehicles in 2022. (That’s a lot of documents, to say the least.)
Document management is a necessary part of doing business, but storing and retrieving these documents has always been a chore. It’s a time-consuming, manual process that leads to security issues, repeat work, and lost or duplicate documents.
As consumers opt for more digital purchase experiences and compliance requirements continue to impact the industry, dealers need to raise their document management standards to ensure security and stay compliant.
Managing documents is more difficult when they’re stored in multiple places. Important assets are handled by multiple people and/or entities, and when it comes time to retrieve them, dealerships have to deal with a variety of storage vendors. Even digital documents are commonly stored within each individual dealership software solution, leading to uniformity issues and compliance concerns.
When it comes to document storage, the best practice is to have one centralized location for every single document. This simplifies organization, ensures uniformity, and improves document search and retrieval. A centralized storage solution also integrates across the entire dealership, so dealers can keep every document uniform and indexed as part of the same deal workflow.
Manually managing documents is time-consuming and cumbersome. Physical documents can literally and figuratively fall through the cracks and storing them can be a huge expense. According to NADA, dealerships spend $20 in labor just to file a document, and $100 to $200 more if that document was misfiled or has to be reproduced. Instead of relying on multiple, non-integrated processes to store documents, dealers should look to implement automated document capture.
When a dealership produces a document, it’s automatically captured and stored as a natural part of a deal workflow. Automated document management also ensures that every type of document—whether it’s a deal document, a financial report, or just an image from the service lane—is always indexed to the same customer profile for easy retrieval.
The security of consumer information is paramount. Protecting consumer information has been underscored by recent federal regulations, forcing dealers to implement additional security plans and protocols in order to become compliant. As deals become more digital and instances of fraud more frequent, dealerships need to double down on their document security efforts.
In addition to these more practical benefits, automating document management into a single dealership storage repository ensures compliance. It gives dealers the ability to manage documents in a secure location while keeping track of retention on a customer-by-customer and case-by-case basis. This also allows dealers to safely and securely retrieve and view documents until individual retention policies expire.
Document management is becoming a big deal in the auto industry. As dealerships evolve into a new digital age and document security becomes even more paramount, it’s time for dealers to raise their document management standards, collectively and individually. Automating and centralizing document storage increases efficiency and ease of access, while also ensuring security and compliance.
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