DMS software typically includes support for all aspects of running a dealership such as:
- Tracking sales
- Parts inventory
A typical DMS installation includes a central server which stores all data, allowing multi-user access for as many as 50 or more client computers. Some installations may include thin clients. Other DMS providers use a centrally-hosted, or software as a service/application service provider model.
A DMS usually offers interfaces with other systems, especially manufacturer's systems to enable automatic processing of purchases, warranty claims, price lists and many other data.
In Europe many automotive manufacturers prescribe specific DMS to their dealers though this is no longer officially allowed under the Block Exemption Regulation.
Dealerships use specific software to meet the complex requirements of their business. Typically small scale dealers will manage their business with a generic accounting package and extend functionality with plugin's or other bolt-on software. The advantage for dealers running a specialized system are numerous, however the primary outcome is a more efficient dealership. Dealer Management software typically encompasses all the tools mentioned above however difficulty arises when dealership staff are evaluating vendors and deciding what software to implement. Integration of these tools is key but dealer principals and other key staff still need to pay attention to other factors such as cost.