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We have a good workflow management system, very efficient, but sometimes the world just doesn't want to play nice. Today I have a real problem. Six lifts, six cars taken apart in a major fashion waiting for parts. Parts that are 2-3 days out. The special order parts looked right when we started the jobs. Something as simple as a hub bearing, press the old one out, go to press the new one in and the hub is trashed. Oops. Ready. Set. Stop.
Maybe I should know better to have more than one Suzuki and 15 year old Benz in the shop at the same time. Its going to be an interesting week. I haven't had a shop completely full of immobilized oddballs in a while.
By Oova At Autovitals
A Candid Analysis of Today's Workflow Management Tools
Lets summarize the tools and processes available to the independent shop owner, service advisor and technician to manage workflow.
the service advisor's ability to memorize what is going on the technician's ability to recall what the service advisor said 10 minutes ago or earlier the service advisor'a ability to decipher the tech's scribble The tech's ability to put clear explanations on a piece of paper (work order) the WIP screen in your point of sale software (POS) the printer printing work orders the paper rack holding printed paper sheets the bags keeping the key to the vehicle and the paperwork together the scheduler in your POS a white board or spreadsheet managing the vehicles going through the shop a time punching system or flag sheet The sad part:
Not one of these 11 pieces can be skipped. Service advisors are super heros juggling 11 disjointed "management tools" at any time during the day.
How do they do this? Super hero ability, you knew it already.
Now the even sadder part:
In order for the service advisor to juggle all this successfully, they often skip or at least minimize the engagement with the motorist.
Lets repeat that with different words:"Service advisors skip advising service because they are too busy doing busy work because the tools available are inadequate."
Do you agree, or am I smoking something here?
Last but not least, the saddest part:
You as owner can't measure behavior today, only results from the POS reports.
What does that mean?
you don't know what tech is pencil whipping or over recommending you don't know how many recs from the tech uncovered during the inspection make it to estimate (our research revealed 56% of all recommended actions from the tech are not sold. Fifty-six. Do you smell opportunity here as well?) you don't know why the vehicles are in the shop for way too long. Is it the waiting for parts or the service advisor or the dog ate the home work? you don't know why the tech efficiency of tech A is at 95% but of tech B at 53% you can't change behavior if you can't measure it
How to we turn 11 disjointed tools into 3 integrated ones?
You add a tablet(1) to the techs toolbox, replace the paper rack with a second screen(2) and download SmartFlow(3) to the tablet from the App Store or Google Play and add it to the browser bookmarks on the second screen.
Then get rid of
paper time punching system laptops in the back shop paper rack running back and forth (you might have to buy the service advisor a gym membership) white board spreadsheets bags flustered service advisors Done.
Now your service advisor counter might look like this
The photo credit goes to Matt Purselle, he turned a typical two screen setup into a four screen setup. One screen for the POS, one for SmartFlow, one for email, one for everything else. Two are enough for the beginning, some of our clients use only one and it works too, thanks to built-in alerts.
Matt's counter looks like this seen with the eyes of the service advisor(s).
How do the techs know what is going on? they clock in on the tablet, EVERYTHING is on the tablet now, Identifix, Alldata or Mitchell, work order, inspection sheet, any info they need. They stay at the vehicle and smart-chat with the service advisor and get alerted about new info and new assignments for them.
Have you introduced a daily huddle with the techs? Great, do it like Matt and use a 55 inch screen with touch overlay to manage the day.
How does that sound to you?
Service Advisors are freed up, and can focus on the customer. All recommended actions by the tech are on the estimate now. You can measure and correct tech and service advisor behavior. Pencil whipping, over recommedning, time on the vehicle, tech efficiency and productivity, shop proficiency, anything you want really, since you are digital now.
One of our franchise clients just send this over to me
Sound to good to be true?
Ask SmartFlow users in your area or us.
By Joe Marconi
Legendary college basketball coach, John Wooden, would preached that it’s the details of how you play the game that matters most, not the score. He also said that to focus on the win during the game did not matter as much as a focus on execution during the game. Sloppy performance during the game usually means a loss. If the players execute every detail to the best of their ability, the score and the wins will take care of themselves.
This concept holds true for the auto repair business. Everyone involved in the workflow process, from write up, to the repair or service, and right up to car delivery must be executed with precision and paying attention to detail.
It doesn’t matter that a 3 hour job is completed in 2 hours, if the car is delivered back to customer with grease stains on the steering wheel. It’s the details of the entire process that count the most. When you have a sloppy workflow process, you will produce sloppy jobs. And that will mean lost business.
The customer can only judge you on what she sees. The customer cannot see the brake shoes you installed, or the timing belt you replaced. But, they can see the condition of the car when it is given back to them.
Paying attention to every detail and executing each step of the process to the best of your ability is crucial. In addition, the work area, the service area and the shop in general must be organized and clean. If your surroundings are sloppy, there will be a tendency to be sloppy with everything else too. And again, the sloppiness is something your customers can see, and they will judge you on that.
Pay attention to detail, pay attention to every step in the workflow process. Execute each step with precision and quality. Don’t worry about the end result or when the car will be done. That will take care of itself if you take care of all the steps in between.