Today’s data-driven marketplace only has room for the fittest, and given the industry headwinds and uncertainty ahead only data-savvy dealers will survive in tomorrow’s market.

Over the last decade, relying on data and software to give you a competitive edge has grown and matured from a flashy yet hollow promise to being business (and survival) critical. But too many dealers still fail to embrace the incredibly positive impact harnessing data can have on their businesses and are suffering because of a lack of the right tools and a general sluggishness to adopt and adapt.

The automotive industry is way behind other industries and may continue to rely far too much on unaided human decision-making.

Outside of automotive, other industries are generally further ahead in the use of technology to optimize operations. Look no further than the strides made in the areas of retail consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry in supply chain logistics, inventory management, pricing management and just-in-time delivery.

CPG’s retail supply chain has benefited from the use of advanced robotics, software, and sensors. With RFID, retailers can easily track and anticipate stocking needs, helping them optimize inventory replenishment. As a result, stocking efficiency has become a key differentiator and competitive advantage for retailers that adopt these supply-chain technologies.

The airline industry leverages technology to derive real-time supply/demand and pricing data to ensure they maximize revenue yield on every one of the 76K+ commercial flights in the USA per day.

At this point, can’t machines beat humans at almost every decision? Outside of automotive the answer is yes.

If you remember back to 1997, IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beat reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

Gary Kasparov vs IBM Supercomputer Deep Blue

Fast forward to 2011, and Watson won against two of Jeopardy’s biggest past winners.

Watson on Jeopardy

In 2016, Google’s DeepMind beat the number one ranked Go player in the world.

Google Alpha Go

Yet in the automotive space, we still force dealers to rely on looking into their rear-view mirrors to make decisions. One would think that there has to be a better way.

The time for harnessing data into insights in the automotive space has finally come. The sooner dealers are provided the right tools (and trained on how to use them), the sooner they can leverage data, advice, and insights to their benefit.

Translating actionable insights from data is bit art and a bit science. You need to really understand the valuable “use-cases” that need to be unlocked, and then harvest and distill the data to enable these use cases.

Empowering your employees to make informed business decisions with ease and clarity increases their effective IQs, productivity and processing power, and ability to make better decisions, more often.

Capitalist markets work by natural selection. And natural selection is never a stronger force than in times of huge environmental change like we’re about to face across the automotive industry.

Investing in data and software is no longer a luxury; it is something all dealerships must do if they want to survive — and thrive — in today’s tech-savvy market.

Dealers today either evolve or die. Learn how to make the robots work for you, or fall far behind in the retail rat-race. The choice is yours, but the proof is indisputable: robots can do data better. Why not let them?