Quantcast
Jump to content
    • You can post now and register later. Already registered? sign in now to post with your account.
    • ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


      Once you submit your question, a new topic will be created for you in our forums. Our moderators may move your topic to a more suitable forum category if one exists. Members will see your topic and be able to respond to your question.

    • This will not be shown to other users.
Gonzo

Article: Party Line - - - - People and programming... too much chatter means no communication

Recommended Posts

Party Line

 

Every once in a while I’ll get a car in that just doesn’t follow the normal procedure for reflashing or reprogramming. GM products seemed to be the most common ones to do this, but I’ve had it happen on other cars as well. Say you’re about to install a new PCM, and you have to download the new software into it. After you get the software loaded onto the scanner, you start to transfer the information, and when you get about half way through the procedure the screen freezes and says, “Download incomplete” or “Download failed”. The usual cause is one or more of the other modules on the communication line are trying to communicate while the scanner is sending the new information.

When this happens… and it does happen quite a few times, I have to find the splice pack where all the communication lines are, and disconnect it. Then using a scope (wiring diagram isn’t much help because all the comm. lines are usually the same color on the splice) find the exact lead that goes to the module that I’m trying to program, and jump that one… and only that one… to the ALDL. Then start the whole procedure over again. It’s my way of telling the rest of the modules to shut up… politely.

It’s like the old telephone party lines. (If you’re old enough to remember those.) Basically, several homes were on the same pair of wires, and each house had its own distinctive ring. If you wanted to make a call, you had to pick up the receiver and check to make sure nobody else was on the phone. If someone was, you politely excused yourself, and tried again later. (Of course there was always that nosey neighbor who would listen in on other people’s calls.)

That’s pretty much what it’s like trying to program some of these cars these days. Too many different systems are trying to talk all at the same time, and when that happens… nothing gets done. But, if you can isolate it down to one module, or somehow tell all the other modules to behave themselves for just a bit, then the new information can make it where it needs to go without any “Download has failed” across the screen.

It’s bad enough to deal with the “party line” issues when I’m out in the shop trying to get a new program installed, it’s quite a different thing when it’s at the front counter or on the phone. It doesn’t work as well to tell the background chatter to “shut up” when you have two or more people trying to explain their car to you all at the same time. Having to maintain that professional image while they are all try to engage in a meaningful conversation with you is quite trying. Seriously, sometimes I wish I could just shut them up…politely.

 

The other day I had a car dropped off that turned into the party line from the twilight zone. There was no way to avoid the confrontation in the front office on this one. In walks the whole entire family, dad, the wife, the two kids, the dog, and somebody who happened to be tagging along (I think he was the neighbor) with the rest of this ensemble.

“What can I do for you?” I asked…. Needless to say I didn’t address my greetings to just one person, but to the group in general.

At that moment the husband, the wife, one of the kids, and their extra person, (the other kid kept the dog occupied.) commenced to speak all at the same time, all in rather loud voices, and they all had different things to say. When one would hesitate, the other would jump in even louder than before, then the other one was speaking over the first one again. It was a free for all of random car problems, and not one of them was giving an inch as to who was going to speak first about the car. It kept getting louder and more confusing as they went on.

“Hold on a second,” I said, louder than normal, “One at a time, I can’t answer all of your questions at the same time! Let’s have one person explains things; the rest of you please keep quiet… I’ll get to you all in a minute.”

Now it’s like some old vaudeville act in the lobby, one person turns to the other, “Oh I’m so sorry, you go ahead.” …. “No, no… you first”….”No really, you should tell him.”… “You drive the car more … you should be the one to tell him.” … “Oh no, you should tell him.”… (The kid jumps into the act), “I saw it do it, Mom. I can tell him!” … then the neighbor, “It happened to me the other day when I borrowed the car. I just don’t want to get blamed for it messing up, but you should tell him, it’s your car.”

Everyone was apologizing to the other, you tell him-no you tell him-no that’s perfectly alright… you tell him. This went on for so long I was waiting for the giant hook to come from stage left and end this show. I suppose in some small way I must have been part of this comedy act, and I’m the guy who has to straighten this whole mess out, time to say something, “I don’t care who tells me… but somebody tell me what’s going on here!”

It still took a few more apologizes to finally get the mom to begin to tell me about the car. I swear… I’ve had less trouble isolating a communication line on the scanner. But, with a room full of people I couldn’t just scope out which one had the right info or not. I’m out of my element. (This is definitely not part of my training.) Unbelievable… and what a party this has turned out to be…!

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t install hidden cameras in the front lobby for just these sorts of things. Put it on YouTube or something. Hilarious stuff. As a technician/mechanic I’m pretty capable of dealing with the frustrating party line chatter on the communication line in the car, but this… this is way too much vaudeville for me.

Well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Repairing cars is what keeps the shop in the black, and at times dealing with the owner is more of a challenge than making the repairs. Maybe I’ll eventually laugh about all of this, but until then I’ll just keep at it working on improving my communication with the scanners…. and those occasional vaudeville entertainers. Ring, ring, ring… it’s the phone… … hold that thought… there’s another party on the line… here we go again.

 

 

Click here to view the article

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      I can't speak about all businesses in my area, but the repair shops are doing ok. In fact, most had a normal or near normal summer.  A few weeks back we had a major storm that knocked out power for nearly the week. That killed the week. But aside from that, we had a very good June, July and August.   With a miserable March and April, this was a great morale lift and financial boost.
      The only  down side is the affect COVID is having on other businesses, like restaurants, deli's, sport businesses and other businesses. Will this have a trickle down effect on our industry.  No one can tell for sure.
      I will be shoring up my finances and preparing for the unknown. 
       
       
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      In my 40 years as a shop owner, I have battled the age old dilemma: Is it my car count, my customer count or some other reason why some weeks I find it hard to hit my sales goal.  
      It always comes down to production.  Now that's really simplifying it, I know.   But, when you look at the numbers, with the right jobs and a balanced schedule, the ARO goes way up and car counts become not as important as we thought. 
      Another thing to consider, this is not 1995. Cars do not come in 5 to 6 times a year for an Oil Change Service.   You are lucky to see some customers every 10,000 miles as they wait for that Oil Change Percentage light on their dashboard to tell them...NOW IT"S OK TO GO TO YOUR REPAIR SHOP. Isn't it funny how so many people will listen to the dash board light, and not you!
      Anyway, what are your thoughts.  How do you reach your weekly sales goals and what KPI's are important to you? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      The year was 1980 - the year I founded my company. And, like many new business owners, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was needed to grow a successful business.  I thought that success would be determined by my technical skills and my willingness to wear the many hats of the typical shop owner. It wasn’t until I began to let go of trying to do everything that I realized that success is not just dependent on what I do, but by the collective work accomplished by the team. I eventually discovered that I was not the center of my universe.  After a few years in business, I began the transition from simply owning a job to becoming a businessman. And, while technology has reshaped our industry throughout the years—and will continue to do so—there is one constant that will never change: success in business rests largely on the people you have assembled around you.
      By the late '80s it was obvious that I was doing way too much. I looked at each role I had my hands on: shop foreman, service advisor, shuttle driver, bookkeeper to lot attendant. And, as long as I’m confessing all this to you, I need to disclose that I was also the shop’s maintenance person; making repairs to the bay doors, the slop sink and equipment. You name it, I did it. I was literally too busy to be successful.
      In order to lead my company, I had to first clearly define my responsibilities. These are working on the business, recruiting and hiring the best employees, becoming a leader of people and making sure that my business was successful. I also needed to fulfill the obligation I had to my employees. I realized that this required a deep understanding that putting people first is the best strategy for success. This was difficult at first because it requires working on things that have no immediate impact on the business. Unlike working in the trenches and having your hands on everything, working as a businessperson means that you need to spend time building for the future. The things that are most important to your success in business are the things that have a payoff down the road.  
      I also clearly defined the duties I should not be doing and assigned those tasks to others. This is a critical step for any shop owner.  Warren Buffett says that in order to be successful in whatever you do, it’s crucial to focus on the things that generates the greatest return and that you can’t do it all, and that means sometimes you have to say, “no.”  
      By the late '90s it became clear that the most valuable role I played in my business was that of coach. All the best marketing plans and the best business strategies mean nothing without a team of great people around you all pushing in the right direction. And that takes a strong leader. Not just a boss, but a leader.  Leaders inspire people. Leaders get others to reach down deep inside themselves and perform at their best because they are aligned with the leader’s vision. 
      Leaders inspire others through praise and recognition for the work they do. When people feel their work matters, they have a purpose. People are motivated by the heart, not the wallet. That’s not to say earning a decent wage isn’t important. But a focus on money alone is not a strategy for success. Focus on people first and profit will follow.  
      Spend time with your employees. Get to know them as people, not just the role they have in your company.  Find out what their dreams and goals are. And then find a way for others to achieve what they want out of life.  People cannot be motivated until they realize that what they do every day helps them to achieve what they want in their personal life.  
      There are other people in our business world that we must never forget. And that’s our customers.  If you were to ask me, who is more important, my employees or my customers? I would answer, “They are equally important.”  You cannot have a successful business without the right employees and the right customers.  
      One last bit of advice I can give you is to focus on your success, no one else’s.  Be very clear about the pathways you take and never forget about the obligation you have to others. Build a company culture of teamwork, quality and integrity.  Focus on what’s in the best interest of the customer and the people around you. Put people first, and everything else will fall into place.  
       
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on February 4th, 2020

       

      View full article
    • By JustTheBest
      Hi!
      This week, I had a chance to review recent results with a private client (aka Car Count Hacker . You may find this surprising, specially when you find out the size of the shop. 
      I detail it all in this video.

       
      You can see the entire video here. I welcome your comments or questions.
      I welcome your comments or questions. 
      Hope this helps!
      Matthew
      "The Car Count FIxer"
      P.S.: Join me on YouTube at Car Count Hackers! FREE Help to grow your Car Count, Income and Profit! 
      P.P.S.: Like and Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook
      P.P.P.S.: Have you registered in my FREE Training? "How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days"
    • By Gary A
      I would like some feedback from those who have been using BG products. Which ones should I start out with? Which ones are you using the most of? I have a customer who is bringing their car in for 45K service and it says "install BG service kit".


  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors

Tire Rack: Revolutionizing tire buying since 1979.
Fast Free Shipping on All Orders Over $50

Fast Free Shipping on All Orders Over $50
×
×
  • Create New...