An updated online system lets auto makers, dealers and others constantly track the progress of vehicles in transit.
The new application automates an otherwise paper-intense process among dealers, transport brokers, manufacturers, auto auctions and other shippers.
CentralDispatch.com connects all the major players in the transport process, says Joe Steinberger, the firm’s vice president-product and business development.
An enhanced Web-based process essentially serves as a customer-relationship management system for vehicle transportation, he says.
The new software suite officially debuts Feb. 22, but dealers can preview it at the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention and expo Feb. 9-12.
“The auto-transport industry has grown tremendously since we launched our first website 10 years ago,” says Steinberger. “And things have certainly snowballed for us in a good way.”
CentralDispatch connects dealers to more than 5,000 pre-screened carriers. Access to the online network runs $49 a month.
Software has been upgraded since the launching of the system in 1999, but the current version is significant.
Steinberger says there’s no waiting for phone calls, faxes or status checks. The moment a dealer decides to move a vehicle until it is delivered, the system provides online updates with e-mail alerts whenever the vehicle status changes.
Dealers are asked to post details on CentralDispatch.com on any vehicles needing transport, including pickup and delivery locations, make and model.
System users can:
- Check out carrier history, including insurance and performance before accepting.
- Track vehicle progress and interact through the website.
- Log on any time from any location for access to vehicle status while in transport.
- Use support staff to help resolve issues in the transportation process.
- Click “assign” for dealers to choose a preferred carrier.
- Click “accept” for carriers to execute the contract.
Group 1 Automotive Inc., one of the nation’s largest dealership chains, uses CentralDispatch.com to transport hundreds of vehicles a month.
“This technology allows us to manage our own transportation,” says Geoff Bedine, Group 1’s director-used vehicle operations.
The system provides a broader variety of transporters, he says. “We are constantly looking for ways to leverage our scale.”