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My name is Kiley and I write for "The Return" in Ratchet+Wrench magazine. (For those unfamiliar, 'The Return' is more of a personalized review that gives readers the chance to learn about how a product works inside a shop that uses it as well as the shop's review of the product.)
My question to you all today is this: what tool has made an impact in your shop? If someone was looking for a product to add to their shop, what would you recommend? (This can range from shop floor tools, security systems, management systems, payroll, etc.)
Thank you so much and have a great day!
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
If you want to build a more profitable, successful auto repair business, you’ll need to make sure that every single employee has a clearly defined, written job description. If you’re a shop owner who has a manager in place, then here’s a list of things you will need to include in their job description.
1. They must know the goals of the company, as well as all of the relative Key Performance indicators. For example, when it comes to the company goals, they’ll need to know the long-term goals, as well as the annual, quarterly, weekly and daily goals. They will also need to know the goals for car count, sales, ARO, customer retention and satisfaction, gross profit, technician productivity and efficiency, and taxable income.
2. All shop managers must embrace the mission and culture of the company. The mission is why you do what you do, and the culture is the glue that holds your team together. For example, the mission may be to be to better your community, and the culture of your company may be defined by your shop’s ethics.
3. Shop managers need to ensure that they have a team of superstars, and they need to know how to keep their employees operating at peak performance. This means they’ll need to know the minimum levels of acceptable performance for each position, and all company policies. They will also need to know how to hold effective team meetings and perform reviews, and how to deal with every type of employee issue.
4. Shop managers need to know how to effectively manage customer concerns, and have a firm grasp of the situations that warrant contacting the shop owner, or their designated superior.
5. Shop managers must know how to properly secure the facility, vehicles, cash, checks, credit card information, all customer information and all employee records they have access to.
6. All shop managers must be able to properly maintain equipment, and process both customers and vehicles in a safe and efficient manner. This includes managing the shop’s labor inventory and expenses, properly assigning and dispatching work, and complying with all governmental requirements.
7. All shop managers need to know how to report to the shop owner, or their designated superior. We understand that every shop owner will have different reporting requirements, but at a minimum the manager should be required to provide a daily report on all relative KPI’s, violations of company policies, and customer concerns. This reporting must also include scheduled meetings with the owner (or their superior) to discuss the performance of the business and their recommendations for improvement.
8. At Elite we realize that there will be limitations on the control and authority assigned to the manager, but regardless, they must be held accountable for the overall success of the business. If the manager feels there is something that is holding the company back, or causing harm to the brand in any way, they have an ethical responsibility to advise the owner or their superior immediately.
9. All shop managers must effectively manage their time and tasks. They need to ensure they have a daily plan in place that allows them to remain focused on their goals, roles and responsibilities.
10. Shop managers must accept the fact that it is their responsibility to provide leadership to all the employees. They can fulfill this requirement by remaining focused on the goals of the company, fulfilling the requirements of their job description, treating all others in a professional way, and behaving in a manner that reflects that they will never compromise their ethics, show preferential treatment, or put money ahead of people.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com, or calling 800-204-3548.
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So I started a new venture and I need some new shop management software. I have a new venture where I have moved to a lower volume, high margin operation where we offer primarily concierge service to high end customers with high end vehicles. As such my current needs are very mobile, I've been doing some research, but I though I'd post up here for some additional input. What I need is an entirely mobile platform. This sticks me with SAAS based products which is fine. Finally mobile data is plentiful in all the areas I operate in. Many of the web based services out there are still designed for desktop use, and although they are mobile in a sense, they are not truly do business anywhere solutions. I need to be able to book appointments, see service history, attachments to ROs (like photos), check recommendations, start new ROs with customer complaints, accept signatures all from a mobile phone. I could live with an iPad if needed, but the phone is most ideal.
The software must have what are now a days standard features (or should be)
Scheduling app with integration to previous recommendations/estimates in the booking interface This should also have some CRM features such as customer reminder notifications, would be great to have multiple contacts notified as often there is a groundskeeper or administrative assistant that we are dealing with as well RO management that includes technician notes, photos attachments, service recommendations and job status (linked to procurement management when parts need ordering) Ability to link service recommendations to estimates and easily turn them into new ROs Inventory management, supply chain integration is nice, procurement management for tracking when and where all the parts are coming from VIN or Plate scanning via mobile camera to start new ROs or estimates with your now common carfax VIN lookup and service history Basically I need all the points of interaction with the customer to be completely mobile, they will not happen in the shop (usually), the RO processing itself can/will happen on a larger device such as desktop or tablet in the shop.
Is anyone working with a company that has this level of mobility yet? My research shows that many of the companies that have long been players in this industry are very slow to adopt this new way of thinking, there are a lot of new names out there though!
While I'm thinking about next level software, the software companies that know how be be ahead of the curve will soon start integrating calibration data VIA J2534 attached to the vehicle record and cross link to manufacturer databases for recommended updates. This will become increasingly important as more and more vehicles integrate complex self driving, in car entertainment and safety features that will require updating. Automatically notify technician of TSBs related to a vehicle and include other data integration features like this.
On going battle between my Manager and Tech staff. They like to look up about everything online before doing the work. When a RO says 'Specialty Tool' they think they need the tool to complete the work. For example, a recent 2009 Lincoln MKX had a RF axle seal leak. Pretty common problem. Tech doesn't want to do it without the tool kit. Took kit would cost more than the job.
We all have seen mechanics who can fix and think their way around an obstacle. I've got a shop full of parts hangers. Perhaps the Lincoln is better suited for a drive line shop or dealer but I figure we can figure it out and get it done like we've usually done. I've had Techs make their own tools and solutions and lately the younger guys just give up if they don't have YouTube instructions and specialty tools.
Article: Bugs In The Rugs - - - What have you encountered from the insect world while working on a car?By Gonzo
Bugs In The Rugs
Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots).
No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide. That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another. It’s enough to make your skin crawl.
Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where. For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal. I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do. Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there. The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair. As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps. They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me. I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself.
Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy. It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor.
Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet. The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it. For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car. You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly. A capital “G” for gross. Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills!
Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet. I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders. We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door. Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl. He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers. The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down. I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done.
Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like. The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from. Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car. If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where. Good luck with that.
Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place. Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you. Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment. They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests. One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days. The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it. He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out. After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up.
The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car. He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?”
Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it. As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on. Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either.
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By Joe Marconi
Shop production is a hot topic these days. High production results in higher sales and profits. But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels.
I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s. The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow. For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive.
What are your thoughts? Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position? And how does this role affect production?
By Joe Marconi
Source: Improve Your Repair Shop Production with the Power of Praise!
By Joe Marconi
This is a questions that's been bounced around a lot lately. Below is a link to a video from Motorage featuring Brian Canning that is worth watching:
By Joe Marconi
What do doctors, dentists, eye doctors and hairdressers all have in common? Thats right; they all book the next appointment. So why dont we do it? Oh, I know many of you do, and that's great. But most shops don't, and I have heard every excuse under the sun why booking the next appointment does not work: "My customers dont know what they are doing in 4 month." Well, guess what; when your dentist books your next cleaning, you dont know if you will be available on the booked date in six months or a year from now either, do you?
Booking the next appointment will help to smooth out the highs and lows in your workflow. It will keep the customer coming back to you and not thinking of someone else.
But, there is a trick to the success of booking the next appointment. What does your dentist do a day or so before the appointment date? Yes, he calls you. And if you cant make it that day? Right again; he books another day. So the trick is to set up a call system to remind customers.
The thing to remember is this.every car in your shop today will need future service workthe questions is this; will that customer come back to you? The odds are in your favor when you book the next appointment.