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How Spreadsheets Create Dealership Silos — And Why That's Bad

How Spreadsheets Create Dealership Silos — And Why That's Bad

Spreadsheets. Every business uses them — so they can’t be that bad, right? 

While many dealerships rely on software like Excel and Google Sheets, spreadsheets can create siloed business environments that hamstring decision-making. In this post, we unpack how spreadsheets limit dealer profits, before sharing what you can do to limit silos and boost performance. 

But what are silos? And how do they emerge? Let’s dive in.

What are business silos?

A siloed business is split into departments that act independently from each other. No one intends to build a siloed business. But inter-department rivalries and a lack of understanding around separate dealership functions can create silos where departments guard or even refuse to share information. 

So ask yourself: how many spreadsheets does your dealership use to track performance? And how easy is it to access this performance data? For example, do you know your dealership’s profit-per-car at each stage as it moves through your sales, finance and aftermarket departments?

If you don’t have a reliable and clear view of every aspect of your dealership’s performance, then you might have a siloed business.

Why business silos are bad for business

As Harvard Business Review research shows, siloed businesses struggle to compete with non-siloed companies. Why? Because businesses need all the data that they can get for profitable decision-making. Dealerships are no different, as dealers often have to make on-the-fly decisions based on their current profit-per-car numbers. 

For instance, there are times when you might be presented with a less-than-ideal offer. At the same time, you might be anxious about meeting manufacturer-set retail targets. With the information on hand, you can balance your interests and make the right decision for your dealership.

Apart from making profitable decisions, silos limit dealership performance. Imagine a scenario where one of your salespeople arranges a parts replacement for a client. Your customer arrives for repairs; but due to poor communication between your car service and sales teams, the part they needed was never ordered. This simple mistake is common among siloed dealerships and can lead to reputational damage and loss of income. 

How spreadsheets create data silos

Spreadsheets create a web of decentralised data. Partly, that’s because spreadsheets are often saved to difficult-to-access locations like on computer hard drives or in individual Google Drive or Dropbox accounts. 

And because spreadsheets are difficult to maintain and easy to mess up — especially when complex cell functions are involved — managers are incentivised to restrict spreadsheet access. That’s why you might have heard someone yell, “don’t mess with my spreadsheet!”

Maintaining spreadsheets is a difficult task, but all that effort may not translate into an accurate picture of dealership performance. As dealership information flows tend to be fast, spreadsheet data can become outdated soon after entry. But as spreadsheet accuracy relies on specific users and getting information from other departments — who restrict access to their data out of necessity — dealership data is always a few steps behind. 

For general managers, building a complete picture of dealership performance is yet another problem. To do so, you need to collate data from scattered, out-of-date spreadsheets that may all have different data-entry standards. This data might then be pulled into another spreadsheet. Good luck updating that spreadsheet. 

Fortunately, there are automotive business intelligence solutions that replace spreadsheets. These tools create a ‘single-source-of-truth’ that give you a clear picture of dealership performance.

Eliminating data silos with a single source of truth

Where spreadsheets lead to decentralised data management, the right dealership software can help you create a centralised ‘single-source of truth’ where your stakeholders can easily access the data they need. 

By having all your data in one place, you’ll have the information at hand to make decisions that maximise profit. Communication and permission tools help your teams manage data entry, share insights and ensure that information is up to date. This also removed time-consuming spreadsheet admin, as each department doesn’t need to replicate data in their individual spreadsheets.

These combined factors eliminate data silos while streamlining deal pipelines. 

How SalesLogs can help

Replacing spreadsheets with dealer solutions is key to preventing silos and getting real-time data on dealership profitability and performance. 

At SalesLogs, we’ve built software that’s tailored for dealership processes. Our DataGrid, for example, synchronises your department data in one place. While DataGrid is a centralised data tool, we’ve built it to operate like a spreadsheet, making it intuitive and easy for your teams to learn. 

Our dealership software includes the following features:

  • Real-time feeds for your whole fleet
  • KPI dashboards to track team performance
  • Communication tools that keep your teams in the loop with each transaction
  • Multi-level permissions to control who sees your data and at what point 
  • DataGrid — SalesLogs’ easy-to-learn data capture tool

If you’re interested in working together to eliminate data silos, click the button below to contact a sales representative or request a product demo.

BOOK A FREE DEMO TODAY

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In Part 2 of our 3 part series, learn how SalesLogs is providing Dealers globally greater visibility to their entire Sales Operation. With their industry leadi...

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