Digital transformer: How Frankston Toyota's Richard Rhodes took a leap into the digital age

Gone are the days of spending four to five hours processing paperwork for a car deal.

Gone are the days of spending four to five hours processing paperwork for a car deal.

When confronted with the task of digitising a legacy system for customer management and records archiving, taking that giant leap into the modern age can be mighty daunting. But for Richard Rhodes, Head of Information Communications Technology (ICT) at Frankston Toyota, it was a necessary leap that he was not scared to make.

Rhodes transformed Frankston Toyota into a paperless operation, which has been a satisfying journey into the modern age of information. From a old, paper-based business to a new digital document management system, Rhodes drove the business into a new era of improved productivity and customer satisfaction.

Speeding up processes

“Being able to do our processing online – quickly and professionally – is the key,” says Rhodes, having implemented Canon’s document management system.

“We want the experience of buying a Toyota to be like buying a smartphone: you walk in, it’s snappy, it’s a great experience and it lasts around half an hour.”

For the team at Frankston Toyota, the old days of spending four or five hours at a dealership when purchasing a new car have gone the way of the dot matrix printer.

Freeing up time to focus on what matters most

Digital transformation has not only helped the business develop best practice that has improved productivity, but also allows each and every staff member to spend more time on the number one element that drives business – the guests who walk through the door.

“Now if you come in to buy a car, our aim is that you no longer have to talk to a number of different people,” says Rhodes.

“If you talk to one person who can handle the entire process, you develop a rapport with this one person, which gives the guest a positive experience.

“Every piece of technology we introduce is aimed to get us to that mark. With the help of Canon, it’s getting us closer.”

Bye, bye stacks of paperwork

Paperwork has been the linchpin of the automotive sales industry ever since Henry Ford rolled his first Model T off the assembly line. Think of any time you’ve bought a car or truck, new or old. Chances are you drove home with a stack of paper on the passenger seat next to you.

By having quick, easy access to components in the sales process, such as finance applications and loan details, or customer archives, Frankston Toyota has moved closer to a simplified car sales experience.

“From a service perspective, to have that information at our fingertips has made a big difference,” says Rhodes. “For example, you come in to purchase a vehicle, your first contact is a sales consultant, who is now able to walk you through the entire sales process on a tablet.

“It’s quite simple. It moves us above and beyond simple service and into hospitality; we treat our guest as if they’re sitting down at a restaurant.”

These technological innovations have also vastly affected processes that would normally keep staff off the floor of the dealership for hours, if not days, such as archiving and auditing.

Ask any business that performs thousands of sales transactions per year, and they’ll admit that the paperwork stacks up pretty fast, Rhodes says. Developing a paperless solution has allowed Rhodes and staff to reclaim hours they would have previously spent diving through paper records.

“We have synergies working between our ERP [enterprise resource planning] and the Canon software,” says Rhodes.

“When we’re archiving certain documents, like a deal pack, now we can scan it all through and it’s automatically archived in [Canon] Therefore, which we access from any laptop and database.

“It makes a big difference to the way we used to retrieve records. Back then, we used to sit in an office with about 20 boxes.”

A big step in the right direction

More than just implementing a new record-keeping and customer-management system, Rhodes lead Frankston Toyota in taking its first big step on the road to complete innovation, with gains in productivity and efficiency rewarding every customer who walks in the door.

“Canon Therefore is a big part of this journey,” says Rhodes.

“The amount of time we’ve been able to save allows us to spend more time with the people who really matter in this business – our guests.”

Are you working in a paper-centric business? Learn about new ways to manage more documents digitally.
Read more on this digital transformer series:
Digital transformer: How Saint Ignatius’ Brett Houghton revamped an ageing printer fleet

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