In today’s competitive landscape, enhancing customer experiences through automation has traditionally been an expensive endeavor, often leaving smaller businesses struggling to keep pace with larger organizations. However, the emergence of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform has changed the game, empowering smaller companies that find the right partner to compete on a level playing field. In this Case Study, we’ll explore how a local drive-through oil change business was able to leverage Power Automate and Dynamics 365 Sales to provide a better overall customer experience and efficiently improve the accuracy of their inventory tracking and accounting processes. Let’s dive in!
Staying competitive in the drive through oil change business depends on the ability to quickly and easily generate an accurate sales order for any vehicle that requires servicing while maintaining a clear and accurate picture of inventory. For years, Pit Crew Drive Thru had been using outdated onpremises software that led to errors and inefficiencies in their operations. While the platform they were using was built for the auto industry and could provide the information required to service a vehicle, it wasn’t specifically made for oil change businesses and was extremely limited in its capacity to connect to their operations. They needed a way to modernize their oil change process with a system that secured their data, provided more controls over inventory, and ultimately provided a better customer experience while reducing the potential for errors. To overcome these challenges, they made the decisions to invest in a digital transformation by partnering with the Catapult team and leveraging the power of a Dynamics 365 solution.
After some extensive work building an understanding of Pit Crew Drive Thru’s current workflows and requirements, a decision was made to utilize the Dynamics 365 Sales app in combination with the Power Platform. This combination allowed for an all-in-one solution that streamlined their processes while still providing the customization they required for some of their industry specific requirements. On top of that, choosing Dynamics 365 and Power Platform provided the Pit Crew team with the data and software security they were looking for.
"We had a clear vision of what we were looking for and we really needed someone who could take all those requirements and make them work within a Dynamics 365 solution. During the implementation the Catapult consultants did a really great job of listening to what we needed. They were able to find the solutions that would work for us and since we’ve gone live, our case management has been amazing. They’ve been helpful and knowledgeable. When we have questions, they’ve been answered within a day. We have nothing but great things to say about the Catapult consultants"
Working closely with the Pit Crew team, our consultants were able to build and implement a solution that provided three key features.
1) An integrated product catalogue
One of the key features required for this implementation was a database of service requirements for any engine the business might encounter. While access to this type of database service is available for purchase, they are often expensive to subscribe to, especially for smaller local businesses.
By utilizing a third-party database’s API along with Pit Crew’s existing customer vehicle catalogue, our team was able to create a database of over 20,000 engines that can be continually added to. Using Power Automate, the appropriate oil products are automatically identified and added to a customer’s order within Dynamics 365, saving the technicians time, and ensuring that the correct products are provided in the correct quantity for each customer. When a customer arrives at the quick service lane, a service technician can simply look up their name or license plate and choose the associated vehicle record, which pre-populates the products required for the order. This makes for an efficient experience for both the service technician and the customer. When new customers arrive, service technicians are able to search for and add new engines to the database for an admin to approve. This feature allows Pit Crew to continuously update their database, while allowing management to ensure any manually input information is accurate and confirmed for future orders.
2) Advanced reporting
Another significant requirement was the ability to run advanced reporting and analytics. With this feature, the accounting team was able to access real-time data and gain insights into the company’s financial performance. Reporting is broken down by the store location, the type of order, as well as the method of payment used. This new reporting and analysis tool allows for an easy reconciliation with their point-of-sale system and takes the hassle out of running accounts.
"With this new solution, our customer data is all just right there. We can look up anything we need with no problems. We used to have to rectify accounts on paper. It was a huge headache. Now, we’re almost completely paperless and our accounting team has quick and easy access to everything they need within the system"
3) Customized invoices
The ability to produce customized invoices was also implemented, enabling Pit Crew Drive Thru to print or email invoices to their customers immediately. The customization feature allows Pit Crew’s invoices to include additional information, such as service notes and recommended maintenance, that helps build stronger customer relationships. Having their branding present on the invoice also helps to build brand awareness and allows them to showcase their various product offerings.
With their new solution in place, the Pit Crew team has been able to provide a better experience for their customers and eliminate costly losses due to a lack of inventory controls. Most importantly, the new solution has allowed the Pit Crew team to provide a level of service and operational analysis that, until recently, could only be accessed through Enterprise level tools that come with enterprise level costs. Now, they can review real time data to identify and capitalise on peak business cycles in a way they had never been able to do in the past. On top of that, new reporting data has allowed them to make important adjustments to their pricing catalogue and identify and correct mispriced product packages.
"With the new reporting and analytics, we’ve noticed numbers we just couldn’t track before. We’re now able to look at live analytics and clearly see high volume business days that we otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of. The level of detail in the data has allowed us to update our price catalogue to reflect the market more accurately for certain products and positively impact our bottom line."
An Ongoing Partnership
By choosing Dynamics 365 Sales and utilizing Power Automate integrations, we were able to provide Pit Crew Drive Thru with a solution that addressed their specific challenges. But, as we always stress, going live is only the beginning of any digital transformation. As solutions are adopted and put to the test, new issues will arise, and new needs will need to be addressed. Pit Crew’s go-live was no exception. Shortly after their team launched the solution, the third-party API utilized to access vehicle information was discontinued due to a newly enacted privacy law. But, because the solution was built with an internal customer vehicle database, the Pit Crew team was much less reliant on that third-party provider than it may have otherwise been. Their team was able to utilize their own internal vehicle database for the vast majority of their customers while a new third-party data provider was identified. And, because the third-party data API was integrated using Power Automate, updating that connection was a relatively simple process.
As the Pit Crew team continues to adopt their new solution and the business grows, their needs will evolve, and our team will continue to work with them to ensure that their business solution evolves with them. With at-the-ready help desk support, update and upgrade management, and ongoing periodic solution reviews, our team is excited to continue our partnership with Pit Crew Drive Thru into the future.
If your mid-sized business is considering a tailor-made digital transformation with Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, get in touch today. Our team is here to help and ready to assess your requirements.