For many years, auto dealerships have constantly adjusted inventory expectations due to shifting supply chain constraints and lot management challenges. These constraints have impacted vehicle acquisition, parts sourcing and transport of new vehicles. Fleet allocations will only continue to grow, and it is important for fleets and auto retailers to identify new solutions via advanced connected vehicle data to maintain profits and customer expectations.
Fleets & Dealers Face Systemwide Challenges
As with any supply chain issue, there is no single cause of the problem. The process of transporting vehicles is long and complex and has always depended on multiple parties, including vehicle manufacturers, fleet management companies, transport providers, drivers, customers, customer drivers, RDW, service providers and rail transport, storage location and even the weather. It has many moving parts with some uncertainty. For a process to work properly, all elements must work in sync. These problems can cause system-wide challenges.
There are many reasons why these challenges are growing. The well-known driver/skilled labor shortages impact transportation through both trucks and rail. Transporters are struggling to find Over-the Road (OTR) drivers for multi-state moves or trips that are greater than 300 miles. Railroads also have the same type of shortages for skilled employees. What’s more, hiring new employees requires training specific to each industry. Lastly, the long lead times and delays of new vehicle orders adds uncertainty to the delivery timing, requiring additional follow-up which makes scheduling difficult. In addition, staffing at many dealerships remains lower than pre-pandemic levels due to decreased dealer inventory and pre-selling of dealer vehicle orders.
New solutions today are helping to solve many of these challenges. These solutions are built around and are leveraging new data technologies that help reduce costs, improve customer experience, enhance efficiency as well as safety in inventory operations, leading to increased profitability.
Technology Driving Inventory Management Solutions
Today this starts with the goal of transforming fleet management and dealer operations by offering a seamless and hassle-free solution for inventory management, without the need to install any additional hardware. Advanced technologies based on intuitive real-time data seamlessly integrate with the software platforms to receive real-time connected vehicle data from equipped and eligible vehicles to simplify LOT management for accurate and remote inventory management, that leads to a contactless and seamless experience for fleet and auto retailers. The real-time location tracking capabilities can also streamline the test drive process, resulting in reduced waiting times and enhanced customer satisfaction.
The remote access dashboards allow contactless and remote inventory management, making it easier to locate vehicles, eliminating labor-intensive manual operations for tracking and maintenance. These solutions utilize real-time location tracking capabilities, allowing dealerships to establish geofencing parameters to strengthen inventory security and enable quick recovery of vehicles. Further, leading providers also enable vehicle digital keys to seamlessly integrate with the dealership’s authentication server, offering a direct interface with OEMs, to streamline the test drive experience.
Easy-To-Use Dashboards with Real-Time Data
Cross-OEM embedded vehicle information today is giving fleets and auto retailers access to smart insights in a single dashboard to monitor the inventory in real-time, by tracking the location of vehicles, vehicle health parameters, streamlining test drives with digital keys and more, and hence operating effectively and maximizing profits.
Another key distinguishing feature involves the elimination of dependency on external hardware, such as OBD devices, and instead relying on embedded data streams received from within the vehicle in near real-time for highly accurate results and superior data quality.
Predicting customer demand for specific vehicle models is a critical aspect of inventory management for both fleets and auto dealerships. Connected vehicle data is now enabling fleets and dealerships to harness the power of predictive analytics. By analyzing these critical data sets in real time, fleets and dealerships can make informed decisions about vehicle inventory management. This proactive approach helps prevent overstocking or understocking issues, optimizing inventory levels to meet customer demand more effectively.
From real-time monitoring and predictive analytics to enhanced customer experiences, fleets and dealerships are leveraging advanced technology to address longstanding challenges in their lot management operations. As the vehicle fleet and automotive industry continues to embrace innovation, the synergy between advanced data analytics and inventory management will likely redefine the way fleets and dealerships operate, ensuring they stay competitive in an evolving market.
About The Author: Kapil Arora is the Chief Sales Officer at CerebrumX, a leading AI-driven automotive data management company. Arora focuses on creating a comprehensive ecosystem of partners to monetize untapped connected car data. For more information visit https://cerebrumx.ai.