New iPad app aimed at truck dealers reveals all

Considering Laurie Dealer has just removed the brick (portable battery) from his mobile phone, those revelling in 1980s technology will understand, the launch of an iPad app for dealers leaves the used truck guru a bit...miffed.

Luckily, Pinewood Computer Systems, the company behind the iPad app, took time out to explain to Laurie Dealer exactly what this iPad app is all about.

MD Neville Briggs says the iPad app frees dealer personnel from being tied to their desktop dealer management software, allowing them to interact more naturally and effectively with customers.

The first trial at Stratstone MINI Derby has seen a minor revolution in how sales and service personnel work, he says.

"The iPad app lets service personnel enter a customer's registration number as soon as they drive onto the forecourt so that by the time they have stepped out of the vehicle, they know their name and can greet them at the door.

"From there, they can take the customer to a desktop terminal and if they already have a service or sales appointment, guide them to the right department and hand them over to the appropriate person.

"The iPad app can even be used to access information such as the customer's favoured daily newspaper and whether they have sugar in their tea or coffee. It helps to create an immensely slick and personalised customer experience.

"Really, for the first time, dealer personnel are being freed from their desktop PC and can use the Pinnacle iPad app to deal with customers in a much more natural and effective manner."

Well, Laurie Dealer might require his eldest grandchild to help explain, but in general he gets the idea. Customers do love to be pampered, even if they have only come in to complain.

Jobs a good un. 

FTA turnover falls but membership holds steady

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) saw its revenue fall by 5% last year, despite its membership levels staying steady.

According to its annual report, total income at the FTA in 2010 was 5% lower at £23.7m, compared with £24.9m a year ago. Income from commercial activities was £19.97m, compared with £21m in 2009. Membership numbers held steady at 14,003 (2009: 14,017) with income from membership fees £3.7m (2009: £3.9m).

Net funds ended the year at £2.9m, compared to £3.6m at the start of 2010.

However, the association is looking to partner with government bodies to deliver CPC courses and other services.

Theo de Pencier [pictured], chief executive of the FTA, says: "It's not as simple as organisations such as VOSA giving up training provision wholesale, but given the squeeze in funding it's increasingly likely that they will have to scale back and focus on their core enforcement role.

"It's likely we'll look to increasingly co-operate with government bodies and avoid duplication. In the case of VOSA they produce a compliance guide as do we, so why double up?