You’re short-staffed. You’re struggling to hire. You’ve got one employee doing the work of two or three. Tasks may be slipping through the cracks. One task that cannot be the victim of today’s labor shortage is proper document scanning. With increased audits seeming to be a source of revenue for OEMs, and stringent state laws about deal document retention, sloppy scanning can lead to big charge-backs or fines.

Even if you don’t have an employee to monitor every step of the scanning process, you can put safeguards in place to keep your team accountable. In my view, two components are essential:

  1. A written, standard operating procedure across all departments that details step-by-step instructions to guide team members to perform tasks in a consistent manner.
  2. An automatic, dynamic reporting document for deal and RO scanning.

Why is a written, standard operating procedure so important? Consider two scenarios:

A dealer group switching to a new DMS suddenly realizes they are missing documents. The scanner operator says, “I’ve scanned all I have.” Who’s responsible for the missing documents? How do you audit the process to find out where things fell apart? A written operating procedure can help you pinpoint where procedure wasn’t followed and who to hold accountable. It also acts as a training guide when hiring new employees.

Another example is a dealer group facing a manufacturer warranty audit. The auditor asks for a random selection of 50-100 VINs. These records are available online, but the auditor discovers documents such as technician notes or diagnostic tests never made it to the scanner. Who’s responsible for failing the audit? A written operating procedure can help you trace back what happened and where documents went missing.

Why is a dynamic reporting document so important?

When you’re short-staffed, a system that keeps your team accountable by tracking scanned documents is invaluable. This type of reporting displays documents scanned to a third-party but not matched in your DMS. It also reports documents that have not yet been scanned to your third-party but are in your DMS.

This detailed, dynamic reporting helps you and your accounting employees ensure compliance by verifying all documents are properly scanned before shredding paper copies. It also helps you drill down into unscanned or unmatched documents to resolve issues within minutes. Document titles, deal numbers, and RO numbers, can be corrected directly in the report.

I recommend reviewing and managing reports on a regular basis to avoid a backlog of documents to review. Assign one employee (your Scan Operator if you have one, or someone in your accounting department) to check the unmatched section of the report each day to verify all scans from the previous day were appropriately named, transmitted, and processed correctly. Service managers or Owners should check the report monthly to review the previous month’s unscanned documents.

Once the unscanned list for the month hits zero, all documents can be considered safe to shred if permitted by your state, OEM, and CPA retention requirements.

Everyone is short-staffed, but that doesn’t mean proper scanning must fall by the wayside. Create a written, standard operating policy across all departments, and lean on dynamic reporting for complete scanning compliance. Putting these safeguards in place can protect your dealership from a hefty OEM charge-back or regulatory fine.