Dealership Document Management (DDM) systems are used for storing, retrieving, printing and forwarding (transmitting) documents, including technical manuals, vehicle sales, R.O.s, warranty claims, vehicle photos, and marketing brochures. The chart below highlights information provided by DDM vendors whose products are availableto dealers. Additional product information is available at a vendor's Website via the Web link included in the company name.
Dealership Document Management Summary
Dealership Document Management System Features
How are documents created? This question becomes important when multiple people need to collaborate, and the logistics of version control and authoring arise. It should provide an electronic record (history) of who imaged the document and when, as well as a log (list) of all modifications made to the document’s electronic record associated with the digital image. The system should prohibit changes to the document image after the image has been created.
- Determine if the DDM can capture a customer signature on sales documents or a repair order via electronic means. The signature should be readily available, secure (within industry standards), electronically attached to the respective scanned repair order and accountable for audit.
- Scanners linked to the DDM should archive a legible copy from originals including documents containing colored paper, different textured paper, light pen strokes, and color highlighted entries on the vehicle sales and service documents.
Where will documents be stored? Where will people need to go to access documents? Physical journeys to filing cabinets and file rooms are analogous to the onscreen navigation required to use a document management system.
How will documents be filed? What methods will be used to organize or index the documents to assist in later retrieval? Document management systems will typically use a database to store filing information. The system should be able to retrieve/reproduce the documents (images) on paper using a reliable index to locate the documents stored in the DDM system. The system should include a method that clearly correlates (ties together) the front and back of a two-sided document.
- All documents relating to an RO or a vehicle sale should be cross-referenced to that RO or vehicle sale and be easily accessed.
- All RO-related and vehicle sale-related documentation should be retrievable by last eight digits of the VIN.
- Documents must be presented in organized batches by VIN (sales) or VIN and RO#, just as they would with paper files.
- To create efficiency in retrieval, documents must be indexed by VIN, RO#/Invoice # and sale date.
If documents need to pass from one person to another, what are the rules for how their work should flow?
How will documents be found? Typically, retrieval encompasses both browsing through documents and searching for specific information. What kinds of information about documents are indexed for rapid retrieval? When, where and by whom are documents created, modified, published and stored?
How will documents be kept secure? How will unauthorized personnel be prevented from reading, modifying or destroying documents? Dealers should take appropriate measures to ensure adequate backup of their DDM system. Backups should be stored off site (away from the dealership) in a secure environment.
How can documents be available to the people that need them?
- Status reports should be produced daily to ensure that RO’s and vehicle sales closed in the dealer management system have been scanned into the DDM. A report should be run to show documents closed but not scanned, and documents scanned but not closed.
Is there a way to vouch for the authenticity of a document?
9. Retention Period
How long should documents be kept, i.e. retained? As organizations grow and regulations increase, informal guidelines for keeping various types of documents give way to more formal records management practices. How can documents be recovered in case of destruction from fires, floods or natural disasters? Printed documents should only be disposed of when there is a method in place to backup (copy) and subsequently retrieve the electronically stored documents.
- Records relating to warranty repairs and vehicle sales will have a minimum period of retention for each OEM. There may be federal, state or local regulations that require a longer record retention period. Please check with your local officials to determine those requirements.
How can documents be preserved for future readability? Documents should be archived within ten business days of work completion.
Versioning is a process by which documents are checked in or out of the document management system, allowing users to retrieve previous versions and to continue work from a selected point. Versioning is useful for documents that change over time and require updating, but it may be necessary to go back to a previous copy.
Collaboration should be inherent in the system. Documents should be capable of being retrieved by an authorized individual. Access should be blocked to other users while work is being performed on the document to insure integrity of the document.