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Unintended Consequences: The Impact of Over Reliance on Databases and AI - Diagnosing the Aftermarket A to Z

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Matt Fanslow discusses his concerns about relying too heavily on databases and artificial intelligence in automotive diagnostics. He emphasizes the potential long-term repercussions of this reliance on critical thinking skills and reasoning. He also brings up the issue of flat rate pay and how it can affect diagnostic work. He also mentions the challenges when a database lacks information on newer cars or technologies. This episode is a reminder of the importance of maintaining a balance between utilizing technology and preserving our critical thinking skills in the automotive industry.

  • The dangers of relying on databases and artificial intelligence (00:00:12) Matt discusses his concerns about relying too heavily on databases and artificial intelligence in automotive diagnostics and the potential long-term repercussions of this reliance on critical thinking skills and reasoning.
  • Issues with flat rate pay and diagnostic work (00:01:22) Matt talks about the flaws of flat rate pay and how it can affect diagnostic work.
  • The example of misdiagnosing a Chrysler vehicle issue (00:05:19) Matt gives an example of a Chrysler vehicle issue, highlighting the importance of developing diagnostic skills instead of solely relying on databases.
  • The Potential Repercussions of Database Reliance (00:09:54) The potential long-term repercussions of relying on databases and not developing diagnostic skills.
  • The Limitations of Databases and Artificial Intelligence (00:10:54) The limitations of databases and artificial intelligence, using the analogy of people getting lost without GPS.
  • The importance of balancing short-term gains and long-term losses (00:20:17) Matt emphasizes the need to consider the long-term consequences of relying on databases and technology and suggests taking short-term hits for long-term wins.


Thanks to our Partner, NAPA AUTOTECH napaautotech.com


Email Matt: [email protected]

Diagnosing the Aftermarket A - Z YouTube Channel HERE

Aftermarket Radio Network

Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
      As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
      But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
      Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
      Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
      Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
      The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
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