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RFID Steers Arnold Clark Motorstore

The technology was integral to the design of a new showroom, helping the auto dealer to manage all of its cars and ensure the quality of its customer service.
By Bob Violino
Jan 11, 2010Arnold Clark Automobiles, Europe's largest independent car dealer, operates 145 dealerships throughout the United Kingdom. The company, based in Glasgow, Scotland, represents 21 new car franchises, and promotes used car sales at large "car supermarket" sites that are branded as Arnold Clark Motorstores.

These sites, which house more than 500 vehicles, are generally custom-built. But plans for the company's flagship store in Stafford, England—a 12-acre site with a 74,000-square-foot showroom and more than 1,000 vehicles—were more challenging. The firm needed to address the customer service issues associated with operating such a vast site, says Conal Furie, Arnold Clark's group IT manager. "If you line up all the cars in the site, they stretch over four miles, and you cannot have customers or staff manually searching for cars," Furie says. "It would take all day."

The Arnold Clark Motorstore in Stafford, England
Arnold Clark wanted to ensure that its sales process was as seamless as possible. Market research conducted by the company, Furie says, showed that when a customer is left waiting for more than 10 minutes while salespeople locate a car, he or she is more likely to move on to another dealership.

Another key challenge for the company was stock control. "On such a large site, we need to keep an eye on stock levels and stock turnover," Furie explains. "To ensure that our stock is turning over efficiently and effectively, developing a new system for this was essential."

In addition, vehicles would constantly move around the site, particularly while advancing through the purchase cycle. "We knew that building such a massive site catering to such a huge quantity and range of vehicles could potentially bring logistical problems," Furie says. "At full operating capacity, the site is capable of holding 1,500 vehicles."
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