New Technology Boosts Tech Productivity And Shop Communication -

New Technology Boosts Tech Productivity And Shop Communication

Shop owners using the electronic inspection sheet, as well as the paperless back shop, have been going through some inflection points. Getting rid of paper has allowed them to present professional-looking inspection results to their customers and an unprecedented opportunity to educate on "Why now?" and "What happens if I don't do it?"

Shop owners using the electronic inspection sheet, as well as the paperless back shop, have been going through some inflection points. Getting rid of paper has allowed them to present professional-looking inspection results to their customers and an unprecedented opportunity to educate on “Why now?” and “What happens if I don’t do it?”

With the introduction of a tablet per technician, a new tool in the tech’s toolbox has been introduced and it has changed the way techs document inspection findings and record jobs they’ve completed. And, it has allowed the shop owner to measure technician productivity and efficiency.

The service adviser’s confidence to recommend the technician’s findings to motorists has also significantly increased, due to the consistency of the process and the ability to look up the vehicle’s service history and compare it with the OEM service recommendation.

Using images and voice recordings, the customer experience could be personalized so that emails with inspection and test results can be reviewed at the customer’s home or workplace, and the estimate gets ­authorized sooner.

These enhancements are possible because of a new ­Internet-based IT infrastructure where the Shop Management Software (SMS) and its database are made available in the cloud so that mobile ­devices are updated in ­real time.

bill connor, general manager at craig’s car care in allen, tx, explains inspection findings at the counter on a one-touch screen.

Workflow Management Is Controlled Chaos

Interestingly, even shops with the most refined processes still use a paper rack for their ­workflow management. Existing shop management solutions don’t seem to be adequate in providing a fully digital solution that allows all participants to work effectively together, be it the service advisor, service manager, technicians, parts order ­people or the shop owner.

As we were talking to shop owners and service managers across the country, we realized that we had a big opportunity to tackle the removal of the paper rack. After we invested time to come up with the best ­approach, we learned that it was not a sequential process, simply moving the vehicle from one defined workflow status, like “Inspect,” to the next step “Estimate.”

"“i’m “/>

Larry Moore with Larry’s Autoworks in Mountain View, CA, said it best: “Moving vehicles through the shop is more like driving logs down a river. Sometimes, there is seemingly effortless floating, and other times, the river can’t carry all the logs at once and they get stuck.” Or, as Darleen Reese with Christian Brothers Automotive in Brentwood, TN, put it: “At any point in time, I want my technicians to work on a vehicle, no matter what workflow status the vehicle is in.”

Realizing the difficulty of managing this complex workflow, we tackled the daunting task of helping to control the chaos. And, we can proudly say that testimonials from shop owners around the country indicate that we are on the right track.

While reading this, I’d like to suggest visiting to watch the video taken in one of our pilot shops, or scroll to the video at the end of this article.

“Everybody has complete visibility of what’s going on in the shop,” said Bill Connor, ­general manager at Craig’s Car Care in Allen, TX.

Connor and his team demonstrated just how ShopFlow works in their shop. No change of the existing workflow is required, just some initial configuration in the ShopFlow tool. And, you can continue using your existing SMS, as we pull the data out of it in real-time and make it available on the techs’ tablets. There is no duplicate ­effort, and no confusion about what to do next.

The best way to understand how ShopFlow works is as an add-on to your SMS, which makes it really easy for the service adviser to know where every vehicle is at any point in time, and how far along each technician is on each job. Plus, they have all the data at their fingertips: jobs completed, time budget available, ­service ­history vs. OEM service recommendation, inspection results, etc.

The paper rack has been replaced with a big screen TV so everyone in the shop can see what’s going on. Or, affordable touch screens are made available to service advisers to not only run the shop with a few taps, but also to show the results to the ­customers at the counter.

The times of shouting, as well as going back and forth between the front office and back shop, are a thing of the past. The tablet has become an important tool in the technician’s toolbox and is used not only for documenting a job’s progress, but also for looking up where the next job is in the repair process. Is a log getting stuck in the approval process river while “waiting on parts?” Just check the status on the tablet assigned to the technician. In example 1, you can see how many ­vehicles are “Idle” in ­“Estimate,” ­waiting for customer ­approval.

Technicians now have everything on their tablet. Clocking in and indicating when the job is done is all just a few taps away. Moreover, the tablet now seems to be the place where all the work is documented, so when payroll time comes, everything is clear.

What’s Next? I’m excited to see ShopFlow taking hold in more and more shops. Integration with the shop management software is vital for effective networking in the shop. I’m proud to announce that our ­proprietary technology allows us to integrate with any SMS in the market, and we’ve started ­releasing ShopFlow add-ons that allow for saving data, like ­inspection results, back into the SMS database so everything can be stored in one place!

I’ll keep you posted, so please stay tuned.

By Uwe Kleinschmidt, CEO, AutoVitals 

You May Also Like

Top Ten Ways To Make A Brake Job Harder

Brake jobs may not be difficult but care still needs to be taken. Here’s what often goes overlooked, even by pros.

Sometimes, rookies make mistakes (pros aren't exempt either). Here is our Top 10 list of common mistakes that can happen when replacing calipers, brake pads or rotors. It's a solid reminder to pay attention to the small stuff.

1. Not cleaning the brake slides and hardware: Just slapping new pads and abutment clips where the old ones once resided never works. The caliper bracket slides need to be clean and free from rust. Don’t get overly aggressive with the wire brush. Some automakers are using anti-corrosion coatings and surface treatment on the brake caliper bracket lands. If brake cleaner and a nylon brush can’t tackle the deposits, you might be making the corrosion worse by using a wire wheel or file.  

How It Works: A Look Inside The Scan Tool

We take look at the internal and external features that affect scan tool performance and durability.

What Can Cause ADAS Calibration Aborts?

Troubleshooting the problem comes down to knowing the common “hiccups” that can save you time and money.

Six Tips To Make Battery Diagnostics Better

Dead doesn’t always mean gone, especially under the hood. Here’s what to check when there’s no life in the battery.

How Accurate Is Your Click-Style Torque Wrench?

The inner construction of the click-style torque wrench makes it naturally susceptible to a loss of factory calibration.

Other Posts

Team Appreciation Taken To The Next Level

“Help set and meet the shop’s goals and we’ll all go to Hawaii,” says owner. Team responds, packs bags for vacation.

Why Would You Jump Start an EV?

If an EV with a full battery won’t start, here’s how you can get it up and running.

Business Growth Opportunities

What steps will you take to join Top Shop Operators in making 2023 exceptional for your business and yourself?

Five Technology Trends that Will Define the Future of EVs

According to research firm IDTechEx, Li-ion is forecast to maintain its dominant position.