We are so proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary with our customers, the industry, and all the people who have worked with us and those who continue to drive Pentana Solutions’ success. ‘50 Years of Innovation’ is an incredible milestone to have achieved and gives me the opportunity to reflect on exactly what that statement means.
Cast your mind back to 1974, considering the state of the automotive industry, technology, and automation at the time, and then consider where we are today. It has been an incredible journey through a myriad of changes across the industry. We are proud to be at the forefront of that change. We are unbelievably grateful to have served our customers over this time and to have shaped the way the industry operates through our software.
Pentana Solutions’ Directors in 2001
Pentana Solutions is a privately held company with the original shareholders - Wal Pisciotta, Greg Roebuck, Grant Taylor, Rod Dux, Peter Aitken - still involved with the business today. Reflecting on the technology advances that Pentana Solutions has been involved in from the original Kardex systems that managed parts inventory, the Carsway system that managed basic general ledgers systems - through to the evolution of inhouse computing, network systems, the origination of carsales.com, CRM systems, digital platforms, Apps - it is almost too much to consider.
Wal Pisciotta and Geoff Brady in the 1980s
C.A.R.S building at 547 Blackburn Road, Mount Waverley
In our 50th year, with a global presence spanning Europe, Asia, and Australia, operating in 13 countries and serving over 54,000 users, Pentana Solutions has become a trailblazing success story in exporting innovations to a worldwide audience. Our expansion strategy prioritises delivering top-notch innovations to customers worldwide. With a presence in over 80 countries, we are at the forefront of what is driving the automotive industry in each one of these countries. Therefore, the trends that are operating in the Italian market; or the momentum shifts that are influencing Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia; or the way parts are traded in the Middle East, are all centralised by being a Pentana Solutions customer. When we deal with a distributor in the United States, we get the opportunity to understand the role technology is playing for them whilst ensuring that all these influences form part of the Pentana Solutions innovation family.
The role that franchises, Original Equipment Manufacturers and Distributors have played has been instrumental in our story so far. Managing the sharing of data between the many participants in the industry has been an important ingredient in creating accuracy and efficiency. With the ever-changing nature of how the industry sells its products and forms relationships with its customers, we see the role of our Company being a key driver of the sharing economy and automation. Respecting data ownership has been an element we have proudly supported for all parts of the industry and will continue to do so. It is our opinion that there is clearly a role for all participants in the automotive distribution channel and we see data as the bringing together of these value-adding players.
Throughout our history, we have organically grown our customers throughout the world and have combined a strategic approach to mergers and acquisitions. This strategy has seen Pentana Solutions acquire 8 businesses. These acquisitions have added to our product line-up, geographic expansion and recognised that adding a company’s intellectual property for our customers would add to their ability to achieve their objectives. We see enormous opportunity in the future with the continuing consolidation of the industry.
For 50 years we have been helping customers sell more vehicles, parts and services, control expenses and create efficiencies. Whether you are a single franchise retail dealer to the largest automotive public companies in the world, a distributor of vehicles or a customer needing help with document management; customers have always been the inspiration for our innovations. We have seen incredible customer loyalty with some only ever having one supplier through their entire time in the automotive industry. Being able to guide our customers through the ever-changing nature of technology over 50 years is a credit to our entire team and customers for embracing change so willingly.
Tape reel library
Reflecting on the monumental changes in technology over the last 50 years, we have progressed from dedicated computer rooms with servers and tape drives to complete software as a service that operates remotely. We have successfully made the shift from manual repair orders and invoicing through to completely paperless, mobile service departments with SMS-based payments. Consider running a dealership today with no internet, no email and manual stock cards for each new and used vehicle - through to internet kiosks, digital showrooms and people purchasing vehicles through digital demonstration with electronic contracts. A big system used to be 16 users connected to 1 server - whereas today our largest customers run over 6,000 users from 1 server. Back when we started ‘a cloud’ was a thing in the sky - today it is the engine room that drives all of our products and services. Think for a moment about only telephone-based leads, showroom walk-ins and newspaper advertising - compared to innovations we have delivered as the originator of carsales.com, CRM lead management and centralised Business Development Centres. Being at the forefront of every one of these innovations has truly shaped the way our industry operates and has helped provide us a first-to-market competitive advantage.
Computer room tape drives
We are humbled and proud of our most recent Torque customer satisfaction survey which saw 84% would recommend our Company to their peers. Thriving in the fast-paced world of technology and automotive requires constant improvement, and we are dedicated to maintaining this unique position.
As the CEO of Pentana Solutions, I am often asked about the secret to thriving for 50 years. The answer lies clearly in our people and our culture embodied by our En.R.I.T.C.H. principles - Enjoyment, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Communication, and Honesty, have been constant values that we have upheld since I joined the Company as employee number 52. With these principles at the forefront of our thinking, our diversity and inclusion direction through Pentana People - Diversity & Inclusion gives us one of the most diverse representations across the 5 dimensions of age, gender, culture & ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation.
The automotive industry, with its diverse personalities, entrepreneurs, and visionary business leaders, has made our journey enjoyable and enriching. Interacting with individuals who span generations in family businesses has given our industry its unique flavour and passion. Many of these personalities over 50 years have shaped our innovation as it has always been a constant that people in our industry never dance around an issue, they provide direct and candid feedback on our products and services. Whilst this can be hard to hear at times, it has made our products sharper and uniquely relevant to help provide our customers with the competitive advantage that they need. With every customer running the same version of our software, it provides the opportunity for each customer to draw the very most out of the software by providing the best discipline and execution. It is always a fun discussion with the founders of Pentana Solutions when we start talking about the different products that have individual customers’ fingerprints all over them.
It is an awesome legacy to think that we have helped hundreds and thousands of people run their businesses through the ever-changing world of information technology. This legacy has been driven by the thousands of people that Pentana Solutions has employed to help our customers get the most out of the innovations we provide. It has been this fundamental relationship between customer and Pentana Solutions team member that has seen dealers when struck by natural disasters, and more recently cyber-attacks, that has meant that Pentana Solutions is always there. The constant nature of Pentana as our customers’ informational technology partner means that we can be relied upon, even if we don’t have the answer immediately, we will figure it out, as we have always done.
Pentana Solutions’ head office - 549 Blackburn Road, Mount Waverley
Some would ask why has Pentana Solutions been a success for over 50 years? Many see the success of our products and services, but they don’t see the brave and courageous decisions that have been made to innovate. Many of the things we take for granted today have started with Pentana Solutions listening to the Customer Voice, and then boldly going where others have not, investing the R&D money, when no one else was willing. For example, a product called CLERA has changed the way parts are traded throughout our industry, this required a substantial investment by Pentana, a network to be established and then convincing customers to replace a manual system with a real-time automated function.
We are incredibly proud of our heritage and even more excited about the future. We would like to thank the entire industry, our customers, the franchisers, and all those people who have supported us through our first 50 years leading the industry.