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How to Improve your Automotive KPI dashboards

  • Stephen Lavery
  • 9 March 2018
  • News, Data

In order to make sure your dealership is running as effectively as possible, while generating a good amount of profit and growth, it’s essential that you can see top-level performance metrics at a glance. While most dealerships have some method for tracking their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), if you’re still using manual reporting methods like spreadsheets, you may not be getting the full picture.

Automated KPI dashboards can be a great time-saver in a busy car dealer environment. A good automotive KPI dashboard will collect data from one or more sources, and display it automatically in handy visualisations. A good quality KPI dashboard will also be interactive, allowing you to alter the date range to see how your dealership is performing that week, month, or year.

At RWA Automotive, we understand the role that sales data and automotive KPIs play in running a successful dealership. Here is some advice from our experts on how to get the most out of your KPI dashboards, and how to use business intelligence tools like these to gain actionable insights.

5 Essential KPIs for your Automotive Dashboard

Although each dealership is different, there are certain metrics that are always useful to have to hand, and should be included in your KPI dashboard. As well as your personal goals (for instance, if you’re keen to sell more units of a certain model, or whether aftersales are a key focus), these top-level metrics are essential reading for every dealership manager.

1. Individual Employee Sales

As obvious as it may be, too often we focus on the big picture of total revenue, and forget to drill down into the sales stats of each employee. However, this isn’t just about identifying poor performance. Knowing who your high performers are, and encouraging them to share the methods that work for them, can have a huge impact on floor sales and help you to develop your team’s skills.

2. Year on Year Comparisons

Keep on top of trends and seasonality by integrating YoY data into your monthly and weekly views. As managers, it can be so easy to focus in on the present, whereas YoY data can help you to predict a seasonal drop in sales after summer, or a sudden rush on de-icing products in November.

3. New Customers

New customer data is some of the most valuable information going, as it gives you the opportunity to learn how customers are finding your business, and what led them to choose your dealership over other competitors. Discover how effective your marketing channels have been, if the customer found you via social media or other channels, or whether it’s a certain model you have in stock that drew them in.

It’s also good to keep an eye on the number of returning customers, to ensure the experience your dealership offers is one that encourage repeat visits.

4. Aftersales

Aftersales are an excellent way to increase profit on each transaction your dealership makes. Track which employees are achieving the best aftersales results, and come up with creative ways to incentivise aftersales.

At RWA Automotive, we understand that aftersales are a huge part of growing an automotive business, which is why we offer auto industry-specific aftersales BI solutions for car dealerships.

5. Gross Profit

As obvious as it may seem, keeping Gross Profit front and centre in all of your KPI dashboards and reports will help you and your team to remain goal-oriented, with a shared target to work towards. Having gross profit data at your fingertips can help you with future planning for your business, and will allow you to react quickly when new opportunities present themselves.

4 Tips to Improve your Dealership’s Automotive KPI Dashboards

Designing a KPI dashboard can be challenging to say the least. Choosing how best to communicate many important metrics, without overwhelming your end users, can be difficult. Here are some tips and tricks to help keep your dashboards engaging and looking sharp:

1. Sometimes a number will do

With the shift from Excel to BI packages, it can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to turn everything into a visualisation. But sometimes just a number will do the trick – particularly for headline figures like total sales, profit and units sold. It’s best to put these leading KPIs at the top of your dashboard, as they’re typically the best indicators of the overall health of your business. To highlight these numbers even further, put them in bigger and bolder text and add a boarder around them to draw your user’s attention.

2. Limit excessive detail

Does it really make a difference that your sales for last quarter were €200,974.65 as opposed to €201K? Displaying excessive detail on your dashboards can cause your visualisations to look busier than they need to be and can overwhelm your users. Remember, you’re designing for top line KPIs, and additional detail can be added into a drilled down version of the report. If you’re working with an interactive tool, you can add additional detail into a text object, which pops up when hovering the cursor over the view.

3. Pie charts aren’t (always) evil

There’s a preconceived notion among the data visualisation community that pie charts should be avoided at all costs. This is not because pie charts are inherently bad, but because they are often used incorrectly. The human eye isn’t great at deciphering small differences in angularity. This is why more often than not it is better to opt for a bar chart, where small differences in length are easy to identify.

Similarly, when using a pie chart, you should always be comparing a part of a whole. For example, you should never display your top 5 sellers and their percentage of sales in a pie chart. This would be misleading, as it could be interpreted that these top 5 sellers represented the total sales for the business. Pie charts are particularly effective when comparing 2 measures as a percentage of a whole. Think online sales vs store sales. As a general rule of thumb, don’t have more than 4 measures in your pie chart, otherwise the differences between the slices become difficult to decipher.

4. Use colour sparingly

Data visualisation tools today make it easy for us to add colour to every element on our dashboards. It’s easy to get over-zealous and add colour without properly thinking it through. When adding colour, ask yourself; Is it really necessary? What is it adding to the visualisation? Colour should be used sparingly and should only be added if it has a purpose. Keep your colour palette simple and stick to 3-4 colours max.

Remember, grey goes with pretty much anything, and softer colours are easier on the eye. Also keep in mind the media of delivery for your dashboard. What screen resolution do your end users have? Will your dashboard be printed in black and white? These are important considerations to test for during the development phase.

If you’re looking to drive your dealership further with the customer and sales data at your disposal, RWA Automotive have a range of BI solutions, tailor-made for the automotive industry. Our PriceSmart software is a favourite among our used car customers, with smart pricing support and automated exception reports, which can help you to increase the profit per rooftop on all of your used cars.

We also receive plenty of praise for our Aftersales solutions, as well as our fully automated management accounts, for fast, on-the-spot reporting. Whatever your business intelligence needs, RWA Automotive have the BI solution for you. Browse our full selection of services for the Automotive industry, or fill out a callback form on our Contact page. An expert member of our team will then be in touch to find out how we can help you to grow your auto business.