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[Podcast] Adapt or Die – A Look Ahead [THA 174]

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Carolyn Coquillette of Luscious Garage, San Francisco, CA chairs the ASCCA Connected Cars Committee, serves on the ASCCA Board of Directors and is active in her local San Francisco chapter. She’s also the Founder and CEO of Shop-Ware. Look for Carolyn’s other episodes HERE.

Scott Brown is an ASE Master Certified Automobile Technician with over three and a half decades of professional service industry experience. He and his wife own Connie & Dick’s Service Center Inc., a 57-year-old independent shop in Southern California.

With a strong focus on engine performance and electronics, Scott began collaborating with other industry professionals, online, beginning in the early 90’s. Since 1995, he has been an instrumental resource in the development of the largest online community of automotive service professionals, the International Automotive Technicians Network — iATN where he once served as company president. Additionally, he serves on the NASTF Board of Directors and is a member of the following associations: ASCCA, CAT, ETI, I-CAR, & SAE.

Scott is the founder of diag.net. Find other episodes that have featured Scott HERE. Diag.Net HERE

Chris Cloutier is co-owner of Golden Rule Auto Care in Dallas Texas and CEO of Auto Tex Me. He spent many years in the software industry developing solutions for companies like Southwest Airlines, and Wyndham Intl. He’s worked for companies that understood the marriage of service and software, and have applied it in an effective way. Chris has his ASE C1: Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test (C1). He brings the business side to the business and his brother Pat brings the Braun. Chris is also a musician. Hear Chris’s previous episodes HERE.    Autotex.me website HERE.

Sheri Hamilton is the Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA) Executive Director. She does not only lead the shop owners in six Midwestern states, she is also the Conference Manager of VISION Hi-Tech Training and Expo. Hear Sheri’s previous episodes HERE.

Key Talking Points:

  •  Serving your customers will need innovation based on each customers way of being served
  • Innovation and evolution on looking outside the industry to find new and different ways to serve, survive and compete
  • We meed to present the details and complexity of the car to our customers in a clear way so they understand
  • Embrace change. Become a change agent.If you choose to change you decide not to change
  • Be careful not to say ‘Never’. You will adapt. Don’t fight it.
  • The 5% of people that separate the good leaders from the great leaders. We’ve been forced in the last few months to make those tough decisions.
  • We should be in a continuous loop upgrade to your systems and processes. The slowdown should have prompted you to spend time looking at this critical area of your business
  • People have different learning styles and on-line webinars are for them. Some cannot pay attention with digital training. LMS (Learning Management Systems) will be involved to test if knowledge transfer happened.
  • We are a resilient industry when confronted to do somethingYou must move and act to keep ahead of the pack
  • Many shops have not missed a beat and their numbers Shops must become more efficient
  • Look at their marketing skills
  • They are reminded that everything matters
  • They are missing communityOnline networking has helped  
  • “A person who thinks they are leading and no one if following is just taking a walk.” John MaxwellAs an essential company, how did you lead your people through the crisis?
  • No one told us to disinfect cars, protect our customers and people, what our customers wanted in a touchless, sanitized transaction. We had to figure it out on our own
  • There are so many government agencies that put pressure on businesses to shut you down, don’t let your leadership skills hurt your business
  • Scott Brown is extending his branding on loaner cars by putting a sign inside the car that says it is a Covid19 support vehicle
  • Change does not come all at once like a waterfall. It is iterative. Incremental. Agile. Put into practice and see if it works.
  • Being an essential business was good for our mental state. Even is no cars to fix we had a place to go every day.
  • Sheri Hamilton. There will be changes in the meeting industry. It will be dependent on the facility. Theatre vs classroom seating
  • Check-in methods will be different
  • Possibly health screening
  • Meeting face to face will continue to be important
  • If you have DVI and do texting, don’t stop there.Will 3D printing be in our future?
  • Voice technologies will grow. Will touching become taboo?
  • Alexis skills.
  • Keyboards and mouse is old tech. Will voice take its place
  • On-line meetings. Will they become the standard?
  • New car sales slump will help our industryWe can help our customers keep their vehicles for 200K+ miles to improve their ROI
  • We need to tell our customer that we are going to keep your vehicle safe and relatable and have a sanitized experience.Tell them how we are going to handle the transaction. 
  • Reassure them that you are doing everything to keep them safe
  • Book: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership John MaxwellLink to Books Page.
  • Use your credit facilities to help customers do the right repairs. Look at the ads on TV for Car brands. They have 0% and 84 month terms. They are creating a ‘credit’ buzz around buying a new car.
  • If your organization has a negative ‘state of mind’, you need to lead it up and out.Build the team by asking them to help solve your problems
  • Ask them for solutions to their problems
  • Be empathetic if you lay someone off
  • Explain that you did not save enough money for a rainy day
  • Be truthful and learn to lead. Be transparent
  • Associations are an important resource and to build community so you know you are not going through any challenge alone
  • Don’t be an islandNot one person has all the answers
  • Networking
  • Continue to adapt. Every day learn something new. Ask your team.     
  • Marginal gains. Google it.The compounding effect of making one small change every day
  • Give yourself credit for what you are doing great
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you stumble
  • Eat an elephant one bite at a timeWill you change or will someone make the decision for you?
  • Chris hates the name aftermarket and it should be promarket
  • Go to a conference when things open upConnect with shop owners. We don’t know everything
  • Our industry has achieved a lot. We should be proudWe’ve been through a lot and reflect on what you did. Learn from it.


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This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at shop-ware.com

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Most shop owners would agree that the independent auto repair industry has been too cheap for too long regarding its pricing and labor rates. However, can we keep raising our labor rates and prices until we achieve the profit we desire and need? Is it that simple?
      The first step in achieving your required gross and net profit is understanding your numbers and establishing the correct labor and part margins. The next step is to find your business's inefficiencies that impact high production levels.
      Here are a few things to consider. First, do you have the workflow processes in place that is conducive to high production? What about your shop layout? Do you have all the right tools and equipment? Do you have a continuous training program in place? Are technicians waiting to use a particular scanner or waiting to access information from the shop's workstation computer?
      And lastly, are all the estimates written correctly? Is the labor correct for each job? Are you allowing extra time for rust, older vehicles, labor jobs with no parts included, and the fact that many published labor times are wrong? Let's not forget that perhaps the most significant labor loss is not charging enough labor time for testing, electrical work, and other complicated repairs.  
      Once you have determined the correct labor rate and pricing, review your entire operation. Then, tighten up on all those labor leaks and inefficiencies. Improving production and paying close attention to the labor on each job will add much-needed dollars to your bottom line.
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