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A Candid Analysis of Today's Workflow Management Tools


Lets summarize the tools and processes available to the independent shop owner, service advisor and technician to manage workflow.

  1. the service advisor's ability to memorize what is going on
  2. the technician's ability to recall what the service advisor said 10 minutes ago or earlier
  3. the service advisor'a ability to decipher the tech's scribble
  4. The tech's ability to put clear explanations on a piece of paper (work order)
  5. the WIP screen in your point of sale software (POS)
  6. the printer printing work orders
  7. the paper rack holding printed paper sheets
  8. the bags keeping the key to the vehicle and the paperwork together
  9. the scheduler in your POS
  10. a white board or spreadsheet managing the vehicles going through the shop
  11. a time punching system or flag sheet

The sad part:

Not one of these 11 pieces can be skipped. Service advisors are super heros juggling 11 disjointed "management tools" at any time during the day.

How do they do this? Super hero ability, you knew it already.


Now the even sadder part:

In order for the service advisor to juggle all this successfully, they often skip or at least minimize the engagement with the motorist.

Lets repeat that with different words:"Service advisors skip advising service because they are too busy doing busy work because the tools available are inadequate."

Do you agree, or am I smoking something here?


Last but not least, the saddest part:

You as owner can't measure behavior today, only results from the POS reports.

What does that mean?

  • you don't know what tech is pencil whipping or over recommending
  • you don't know how many recs from the tech uncovered during the inspection make it to estimate (our research revealed 56% of all recommended actions from the tech are not sold. Fifty-six. Do you smell opportunity here as well?)
  • you don't know why the vehicles are in the shop for way too long. Is it the waiting for parts or the service advisor or the dog ate the home work?
  • you don't know why the tech efficiency of tech A is at 95% but of tech B at 53%
  • you can't change behavior if you can't measure it


How to we turn 11 disjointed tools into 3 integrated ones?


You add a tablet(1) to the techs toolbox, replace the paper rack with a second screen(2) and download SmartFlow(3) to the tablet from the App Store or Google Play and add it to the browser bookmarks on the second screen.


Then get rid of

  • paper
  • time punching system
  • laptops in the back shop
  • paper rack
  • running back and forth (you might have to buy the service advisor a gym membership)
  • white board
  • spreadsheets
  • bags
  • flustered service advisors



Now your service advisor counter might look like this post-2281-0-40686400-1442779200_thumb.jpg

The photo credit goes to Matt Purselle, he turned a typical two screen setup into a four screen setup. One screen for the POS, one for SmartFlow, one for email, one for everything else. Two are enough for the beginning, some of our clients use only one and it works too, thanks to built-in alerts.

Matt's counter looks like this seen with the eyes of the service advisor(s).post-2281-0-58685000-1442779215_thumb.jpg


How do the techs know what is going on? they clock in on the tablet, EVERYTHING is on the tablet now, Identifix, Alldata or Mitchell, work order, inspection sheet, any info they need. They stay at the vehicle and smart-chat with the service advisor and get alerted about new info and new assignments for them.


Have you introduced a daily huddle with the techs? Great, do it like Matt and use a 55 inch screen with touch overlay to manage the day. post-2281-0-23165900-1442779338_thumb.jpg


How does that sound to you?


Service Advisors are freed up, and can focus on the customer. All recommended actions by the tech are on the estimate now. You can measure and correct tech and service advisor behavior. Pencil whipping, over recommedning, time on the vehicle, tech efficiency and productivity, shop proficiency, anything you want really, since you are digital now.


One of our franchise clients just send this over to me post-2281-0-58071900-1442781373_thumb.jpg


Sound to good to be true?




Ask SmartFlow users in your area or us.



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