Some steps have been taken, but there is still a long way to go. The digitization of the automotive aftermarket remains an unfinished business for many of Italy's small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector. This phenomenon is part of a broader national outlook described by the latest Osservatorio Innovazione Digitale nelle Pmi (Digital Innovation in SMEs Observatory) of the School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic University. The value of digital technology for business growth is understood and appreciated by a vast plethora of companies, specifically those with a turnover of over 50 million euro or more than 250 employees, which are in fact investing heavily in this direction. The general level of enthusiasm drops, however, when the study broadens to include companies with few employees and turnovers of less than 50 million, a description that fits a large slice of companies in the automotive supply chain in Italy. In fact, of the approximately 161,000 companies registered in mid-2022, 85,000 (53.1%) are involved in maintenance and repair, and of these as many as 69,000 (80.9%) have a “craftlike” approach. (source: 'Elaborazione Flash - Some key figures on the automotive supply chain in Italy in 2022', Confartigianato). For many of these companies, the digital transition represents a major challenge but a necessary one, nonetheless. The push towards a greater digital approach comes first and foremost from the market. According to a survey carried out in early 2021 by the specialised software provider Keyloop, 70 per cent of motorists in the UK would like to book after-sales services online, receive updates via text message and instant messaging (55 per cent) and perhaps even videos (51 per cent), and have the possibility to pay online before collecting the vehicle (50 per cent).
Digital 'tools' for 'smart' workshop management
A “smart” workshop is therefore the way to the 'heart' of the customer and to greater competitiveness. Digital tools can indeed help aftermarket companies to make their processes more efficient and sustainable, improving service while reducing certain costs. Therefore, a management software able to plan, implement and monitor their entire business process is a prerequisite for any car repairer, distributor, as well as specialised dealer and tire wholesaler: from sending quotations to booking a repair job, from workshop acceptance to electronic invoicing. Management 'tools' make it possible to manage customers and client data, as well as all documentation relating to their vehicles and the work carried out, thus customizing service, and meeting the demand for greater traceability. The huge data banks created would also prove useful in analysing business trends, which in turn are vital for making more informed and therefore effective decisions. In addition, a management software is a valuable logistical tool: through platforms it is possible to keep stocks under constant control – especially important during raw material shortages and supply chain delays (as evidenced by recent developments) - and, if necessary, to manage stocks through an automated inventory system with pre-set quantities based on the workshop’s activity. It is no coincidence that in recent years the management software market has expanded to include an increasing number of tailor-made solutions for the automotive service sector in general and the world of tires in particular. Modular and multi-functional tools, designed for all needs and budgets, capable of facilitating that much needed digital transition that so many small businesses in the sector are still struggling to achieve.
Developed by X-Data, Esapneus is a management software for specialist retailers and tire wholesalers, available as a 'stand-alone' or 'cloud' solution. The software provides a wide range of functions that can be integrated according to the user's needs: modules for managing the activity at the point of sale (from appointments to seasonal storage accounts), an integrated accounting module, supported by business intelligence functions, or the timely distribution of price lists. All modules of Esapneus are directly developed by X-Data, taking the specific requirements of the sector into account right from the design phase.
GestiTyre is the management system created by GestiSoftware with and for tire dealers. By using the software, it is possible for the tire dealer to organise all daily operations, improving work planning and execution and therefore increasing the level of service rendered to the customer. The software supports the company in some of today's most critical activities, such as stock management and seasonal changes with automatic label printing. Access to the tire database and its price lists also reduces errors. In addition, the platform allows the company's performance to be monitored at all times. Finally, the software is also a useful tool for advertising: you can use GestiTyre to promote your services by sending promotions and encourage customer loyalty. Totally cloud-based, GestiTyre is accessible from any PC, notebook, tablet and smartphone device with an internet connection, and therefore does not require any installation and can be browsed using any browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.). The solution includes an annually renewable user licence fee that includes all updates and developments of additional functions, automatic data backups, telephone support and, if necessary, remote assistance.
The result of the collaboration that started more than ten years ago between a distributor, Maxtyre (Univergomma group) and the software house Dalt, MaxGest is a management software specifically designed for tire dealers and based on the needs, indications and suggestions of many operators in the sector. Continuously updated to meet the different needs for the business, MaxGest is a useful tool to rationalise, simplify and enhance the business. MaxGest plans daily activities thanks to an interactive calendar and the automatic creation of work sheets from a single appointment and manages multi-brand quotations for immediate comparison between the various brands. It also allows an appointment reminder to be sent to the customer. The programme also makes available, in real time, statistics and data that allows the shop’s manager to keep track of daily activities and check sales trends. MaxGest supports the management of customer data in compliance with the European Data Protection and Privacy Directive (GDPR) and electronic invoicing. MaxGest can be installed on one or several PCs and used either on different versions of Windows or via the cloud.
Pneus Suite (Ntc informatica)
A specific management software for tire trading and servicing, Pneus Suite by Ntc informatica, consists of a basic package (Pneusxp) with your typical functions (customer and supplier master data, vehicle cards, warehouse management, warranties, quotations, price lists, etc.) which can, in turn, be integrated with five specialised modules: Pneus Change for seasonal stocktaking, Pneus Optima to prevent customer issues with scheduled maintenance, Pneus Plan to plan and control workshop potential, Pneus Flotte that uses data to provide a predictive analysis of maintenance activities on fleet vehicles, and finally Ntc Comunica to send communications originating from the suite itself or from other sources. The Pneus Suite offer is also enriched by six different apps, four for the workshop and warehouse management - Rightyre for seasonal account auditing and logistics; Inventyre for consultation, inventory and storage arrangements; Quicktyre for mobile quotation and acceptance, and Worktyre for integrated job sheet and real-time workshop status - and two further apps that can be used directly by customers to request and confirm quotations, book an appointment and consult their service history (Mypneusapp) or to monitor fleet status, indicate any problems and technical data on equipment (Mypneusflotte).
Quicknet is Corghi's digital management solution in terms of organisation, operations and communication. A single software that meets the needs of garages, inspection centres, body shops and tire dealers: from managing customers and suppliers to planning activities with the allocation of individual jobs and operating times, from the processing data on purchases, sales, hours worked and margins, to the management of the warehouse and tire depot. Quicknet supports tire specialists in particular with functions dedicated to storing and selling tires as well as rotation and seasonal changes. Specific advantages for tire specialists include a search by number plate, streamlined management of the seasonal business flow via alerts, tire storage, price list consultation, a dedicated app for tire management and the possibility to interact with customers, whether it is to book an appointment and accept a quotation, sending promotions and dedicated offers.
Smart Pneu (Mada Service)
Smart Pneu is a management software specifically designed for tire dealers and repairers. It is a web-based solution, i.e. it can be used in cloud computing mode from any PC, tablet or smartphone. Smart Pneu's strong point is its integration with the proprietary DataTyre database, which strengthens the connection between distributor and retailer, activating specific services and products that increase and improve the synergies between these two professional figures in the tire sector. The result of Mada Service's thirty years of experience - an Italian company that has been developing software solutions for the automotive sector since the 1990s - Smart Pneu can meet the needs of small businesses as well as the largest tire and multi-service centres. Through a single, simple and intuitive interface, the operator can in fact manage all the traditional activities, such as creating and sending a quotation to the customer, booking a repair job, managing price lists and discounts, monitoring the warehouse, procurement and so on. The Smart platform - which, in addition to Smart Pneu, also includes Smart Workshop and Smart Lite - has its own accounting module. The software also offers the possibility of using WhatsApp via the platform to communicate directly and immediately with customers. For larger and more structured centres, Mada Service has finally also developed a specific ERP: MadaPneu.
Smart Pneus (PC Planet)
PC Planet's Smart Pneus management software was created to meet the needs of tire dealers. Smart Pneus plans and organises all kinds of activities. In particular, Smart Pneus allows a vehicle’s data to be loaded just by entering the number plate, and identification can be completed by entering customer, user and billing data. Multi-brand quotations can be made and, thanks to a simple and intuitive interface, offers can be easily displayed and compared, thus facilitating the choice for the right tire. Furthermore, it is also possible to track the exact location of the tires in the warehouse held in deposit account. Thanks to the interactive calendar, appointments can be scheduled easily to be confirmed via e-mails and SNSs and reminders to customers.
StudioPneus (Arcadia Informatica)
StudioPneusOne is the desktop management software for tire dealers by Arcadia Informatica, a company with 25 years' experience in tire dealer software and over 100 installations throughout Italy, to which we can ideally also add Fintyre Pos Manager, the management software developed in 2011 for the Fintyre group. StudioPneusOne was designed and implemented with the contribution of numerous sector operators to meet many of the retailer's specific needs: from master data management to warehousing, from purchasing to sales, from consignment accounts to recalls, from vehicle and fleet management to electronic invoicing, passing through ELT and labelling data management, the possibility of communicating with customers, through sms or e-mail, to plan work and send dedicated promotions and discounts, complete accounting and also some business intelligence tools such as Buying/selling statistics and charts. StudioPneusOne is available in three versions - LIGHT, BASIC, and FULL - each including more and more sophisticated functions. Each package can also be customised by adding modules not included in the standard proposal, such as StudioAgenda. Available in 'Standard' and 'Full' versions, this module allows you to organise workdays and assign tasks, manage appointments, notifying customers by e-mail or text message. Alongside the StudioAgenda module there is also the possibility of customizing the website, through which the end customer can freely submit his appointment request.
SmarTyres (Brianza ICT)
Designed and developed by Brianza ICT, Smartyres supports the tire repairer in all phases of his activity: from organising the work (preparing and sending quotations and planning workshop activities) to operational activities (managing the warehouse and deposit accounts, storing and updating vehicle records, fleet management, etc.). Simple and truly intuitive, Brianza ICT's management software can be installed on multiple devices and used with different operating systems, such as Windows 10 and Windows 11.
SmarTyres is also a very useful digital tool for garages, service centres and car dealerships that offer tire replacement and repair services on the side and seasonal storage.
YAP (MMB Software)
Yap is the digital cloud platform designed by MMB Software to support inspection centres, workshops and tire dealers. The platform includes three main modules: YAP REVISIONI, YAP OFFICINA and YAP GOMME. The latter includes recognition of the vehicle and its tires from the number plate, chassis identification, engine code, tire technical data from the vehicle registration, tire rotation, storage, automatic and customisable label printing, free consultation of the tire database, multi-brand fast quotation, depot and warehouse management, automatic ELT calculation, automated daily picking lists, monitoring of customer's tires in use and in storage, management of work orders with time-stamps, and automation of processes and flows linking the customer to the dealer’s B2B. The functions of the YAP Gomme (tire) module can be extended through the integration of add-on modules, such as YAP DataFull for full access to Autodata databases. YAP offer also includes the mobile vehicle acceptance app MyYap and App&Drive, which enables the motorist to be kept up-to-date on the progress of the work on his vehicle.