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Mangement Software, help on decision


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I have been back and forth over the past few weeks about my shop management software. Currently we are using Shopkey5 aka Mitchell1 manager. After speaking to my rep and some back and forth, I decided to give the new Mitchell1 Enterprise aka Protractor a shot. I began integrating and training on the protractor software back in March, and I do like a lot of it. However we were supposed to go live today and begin using only this software. We have invested a lot of time and money into the software at this point, and I am beginning to have some serious doubts.

 

The Protractor software is very robust, but also tedious. There are a few things that it falls short on, so far the service writing portion of it seems very lacking to say the least. We are about half way through the training and it does not seem like it will be a good fit at this point. However, I still have not given this a fair shot, and plan on working with it some more before making a final decision. I sent an email to some of the people I have been working with tonight expressing my concerns and hope they will find a way to address them. I feel that there have been too many instances at this point that I am having to settle. Honestly, for the price tag, I would have thought this software to be gods gift to shop management.

 

I am now thinking I moved to quickly to a new management system, and should have given Shop key 5 a better shot by upgrading to the quick books integrator and inventory system. I can work through the shop key service writing at an incredible pace, and do it in a really nice way for the customer with the use of sub estimates. I think it is very nice to have pick and choose packages, and the customers seem to like this, we also have a very high rate of success with our up-selling because we take the time to estimate multiple scenarios and show customers savings with over lapping work.

 

Another fail of the protractor is the limited catalog integration. We use Worldpac a lot (average 8K per month). While it does integrate with Worldpac, it is very limited and "glitchy". For instance, in a ticket that has 10 part lines, most of the lines will not be found when interrogating Worldpac, and then if we launch the speed-dial application from the software, the parts must be brought back in one at a time.

 

We have not gone into the training for administration, but at this point I am very concerned about investing any more time into this. Bottom line is this program feels very outdated and not quite capable of dealing with complex estimating. Every process that needs to be done requires at least a few additional steps vs how we deal with it now.

 

Any insight on management programs would be a great help, specifically these two. Please bear in mind we only work on European cars and a lot of the work is performance oriented. We do heavy repair including manufacturing of our own parts. Thanks.

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I have been back and forth over the past few weeks about my shop management software. Currently we are using Shopkey5 aka Mitchell1 manager. After speaking to my rep and some back and forth, I decided to give the new Mitchell1 Enterprise aka Protractor a shot. I began integrating and training on the protractor software back in March, and I do like a lot of it. However we were supposed to go live today and begin using only this software. We have invested a lot of time and money into the software at this point, and I am beginning to have some serious doubts.

 

The Protractor software is very robust, but also tedious. There are a few things that it falls short on, so far the service writing portion of it seems very lacking to say the least. We are about half way through the training and it does not seem like it will be a good fit at this point. However, I still have not given this a fair shot, and plan on working with it some more before making a final decision. I sent an email to some of the people I have been working with tonight expressing my concerns and hope they will find a way to address them. I feel that there have been too many instances at this point that I am having to settle. Honestly, for the price tag, I would have thought this software to be gods gift to shop management.

 

I am now thinking I moved to quickly to a new management system, and should have given Shop key 5 a better shot by upgrading to the quick books integrator and inventory system. I can work through the shop key service writing at an incredible pace, and do it in a really nice way for the customer with the use of sub estimates. I think it is very nice to have pick and choose packages, and the customers seem to like this, we also have a very high rate of success with our up-selling because we take the time to estimate multiple scenarios and show customers savings with over lapping work.

 

Another fail of the protractor is the limited catalog integration. We use Worldpac a lot (average 8K per month). While it does integrate with Worldpac, it is very limited and "glitchy". For instance, in a ticket that has 10 part lines, most of the lines will not be found when interrogating Worldpac, and then if we launch the speed-dial application from the software, the parts must be brought back in one at a time.

 

We have not gone into the training for administration, but at this point I am very concerned about investing any more time into this. Bottom line is this program feels very outdated and not quite capable of dealing with complex estimating. Every process that needs to be done requires at least a few additional steps vs how we deal with it now.

 

Any insight on management programs would be a great help, specifically these two. Please bear in mind we only work on European cars and a lot of the work is performance oriented. We do heavy repair including manufacturing of our own parts. Thanks.

 

I switched from Manager plus 13 months ago to manager Enterprise. I am still learning this system it is difficult but it is very flexible and i have grown to like most of it. I am still having problems learning the accounting side of it. I have used R.O. Writer, Manager Plus and Enterprise and I think Manager Plus is the easiest and has the best support system. Enterprise has a tough learning curve but does a lot of stuff. I mainly switched because I wanted to separate my tire sales from my parts sales and Manager plus would not do it. All programs have thier strenghts and weaknesses. If you want to talk about it call me sometime. Work #423-472-6900. Tony Gobble

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I have also used both R.O.Writer, Manager, and Protractor a bit. Mitchell Enterprise is licensed Protractor from Canada, and very strong for multi shop locations and different levels of work stations.

 

Take a look at Manager SE or Manager Plus SE (Inventory). I believe they are on 6.4 now. It has some additional features and easy catalog integrations. It's more robust with new features over regular 5.9 manager. Protractor is nice, but pricey and a bit too windows explorer layout fo me.

 

http://www.m1products.net/sms/managerse/upgrade.asp

 

http://www.seupgrade.com/

 

What's new in Manager/ManagerPlus SE 6.4

 

•Microsoft Windows® 7 and 64-bit operating system compatibility.

•SQL database allowing wireless connectivity.

•In addition to all the online parts catalogs available in Manager 5.9, Manager/ManagerPlus SE also integrates with many new catalogs including CARQUEST WebLink v2, Autoi (often used by Federated Auto Parts), and the MORE catalog for ordering factory dealership parts.

•VIN decoding through CARFAX.

•Integrated credit card processing.

•Quick access buttons to tab between Management system and OnDemand5.com / ShopKey5.com.

•Integrated e-mail function for easy e-mailing of estimates, repair orders, and invoices to customers.

•Custom Shop logo printed on estimates, repair orders, and invoices.

•WIP (Work in Progress) - Columns are easily sortable, searchable, and can be dragged and dropped into place.

•WIP (Work in Progress) – Individual cells can be edited on the fly.

•User definable vehicle notes categories.

•Repair Order locking to prevent two users from editing the same record at the same time.

•Online Help system and Training Videos.

•Installation and lease license extension performed via internet.

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Guest Bay-masteR

That is quite a dilemma. If interested, I do know of a program that is user friendly, works well with WorldPac among other integrated suppliers and Quickbooks Pro. Not only that, they convert Mitchell users at no charge so you would be able to switch your customers/vehicles and vehicle history. No contracts either. Let me know if you want any more information.

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thanks for the input guys. After sending the email to all the people at enterprise support, we had a large conference call addressing my concerns. Basically, it looks like i am going to have to deal with the shortcomings in service writing, but i should recoup that time in administrative functions. We will see how it pans out. Thanks.

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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