UK car retailer Vertu Motors cut production time of its crucial applications by two thirds after bringing development back in-house.
The dealership, the sixth largest in the UK, has developed a suite of applications that serve its franchises with Progress' OpenEdge platform, and saw faster results than with a third-party developer.
One core application is Vertu Motor's showroom system, which supports the sales process from the moment a customer enters a dealership until they receive their new car. The application shows whether customers have visited the dealership and whether they have bought a car from Vertu Motors before.
Harold Roberts, Vertu Motors' IT director said: "Showroom application and supporting systems based on the Progress OpenEdge platform have massively streamlined our operations while creating a much more engaging and responsive customer experience.
"By taking our development in-house and using the OpenEdge platform, we also have the freedom to react quickly to changes in the market, integrating new data streams and adding functionality as it becomes available or is needed."
The Vertu Motors group has been on an aggressive acquisition drive in recent years, buying many of the top Nissan, Hyundai and Ford dealerships in major UK cities. It now owns Macklin Motors, Bristol Street Motors, Farnell Jaguar and Vertu Volkswagen amongst other franchises.
Using OpenEdge, any legacy systems in newly bought dealerships can be integrated from day one.
"Due to the dynamic and highly competitive nature of the motor industry, we operate on extremely tight margins, so we must ensure we are always as efficient as possible across all of our operations in each of our franchised dealerships across the country."
Vertu is giving executives tablets so they can pull reports in real-time. It is planning on using its systems to integrate with email marketing and to offer customer service.
It hopes to use applications for the service side of the business, to track productivity of its technicians.
Progress' European vice president Mark Armstrong said: "Vertu Motors is the perfect example of how agile development platforms with integrated data streams can help a business achieve its goals.
"Thanks to the flexibility and above all scalability of the OpenEdge platform, Vertu Motors has been able to confidently acquire new dealerships and integrate them with their existing systems from day one. We're very proud to see how our technology has empowered the company and facilitated its significant growth."
Carmakers are beginning to use customer relationship management (CRM) systems to learn more about their end-customers and track data from the factory floor, to the dealership, to the driver.
Renault is in the midst of a global Salesforce rollout, after the 116-year-old carmaker became "too distant and too transactional" toward customers, according to its CRM director.
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