Digitalisation - The Way Forward

Dear friends,

As the monsoon rains have been bountiful, contrary to the Met Department’s gloomy prediction of rain deficit this year, there is a tad improvement in the business sentiment. However, going by the sales numbers of July 2015, the auto market remains subdued.

The rural economy has, for some time, been plagued by the uncertainty arising out of monsoon rains deficit last year and the erratic, unseasonal rains in the beginning of 2015. However, with the rain God being kind, the rural economic environment is expected to improve when the harvesting begins sometime in October 2015. 

What is more comforting is that the current macroeconomic indicators are encouraging. Factory output is slowly picking up; infrastructure development, especially, road building is gradually gathering pace; the inflation, barring seasonal fluctuations, largely remains benign; and commodity prices and, fuel prices in particular, are trending downwards. I am sanguine that the ensuing festive season will bring the smile back on the faces of automotive dealers.

I have been reiterating that the digitalisation of FADA and auto dealerships is the way forward with the explosion of Information and Communication Technology. There is no gainsaying that the digitalisation affords to customers the ease of buying and after-sales servicing. At the same time, it also helps the automobile dealers plug holes, cut costs and increase efficiency, productivity and profitability.

It has come out loud and clear in various research studies undertaken of late that preponderant majority of people (roughly 70%) do research on the internet for their purchase decisions and zeroing in on the dealers to go to. Therefore, the dealers who do not adopt digitalisation or strengthen their presence on the internet and social media are likely to be overtaken by the events.

In order to equip my fellow dealers to stand up to the challenges emerging from the digital era, we have been toying with various ideas, including tying up with the agencies specialising in the field and organising training programmes on the subject in different parts of the country.

The dialogue was initiated with Google and various other expert agencies. FADA associated with Google to organise a workshop on digitalisation of dealerships. We have covered a lot of ground and made a substantial progress since then and are on the verge of arriving at the understanding with the expert agencies that could help FADA and my fellow dealers in their digitalisation drive. 

In view of the currency and relevance of the subject, it has been decided that focus of the upcoming Auto Summit 2016 would be digitalisation of auto dealerships. To be precise, the theme of Auto Summit 2016, scheduled for 7th February 2016 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi has been finalised as “Digital Dealer”.

In addition to the industry leaders, the Auto Summit 2016 will have ‘who is who’ of IT industry across globe, who will be addressing and interacting with the audience on various aspects of digitalisation and how the businesses have to be managed in a digital era, which is a reality and cannot be wished away. A FADA team is feverishly working on the content and programme of Auto Summit 2016, which will be announced through the medium of this Journal and e-mail in due course.

The preparations for Auto Summit 2016, which will be the 9th edition of biennial event, have already started in right earnest. An Organising Committee for Auto Summit 2016 has been formed under the chairmanship of Mr Kailash Gupta, Past President, FADA with members drawn from different parts of the country and representing various segments and franchises. 

I, therefore, appeal to my fellow dealers to avail this unique opportunity and benefit from the deliberations of the Summit by participating in large numbers. Please block 7th February 2016 in your calendar for this mega event of automobile dealers.

Deviating from the past practice, the Auto Summit 2016 would be a one-day event. Incidentally, the 7th February 2016 happens to be Sunday, which has been chosen to enable my fellow dealers, especially outstation dealers, to visit Auto Expo on the previous or next working day when there will be relatively less rush of visitors.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

K V S Prakash Rao

 

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