How do you eat technology in your shop? One byte at a time 🙂

by | Jan 30, 2018

I believe most things in life need to be approached in phases; there is a cost in trying to take on too much. We are human, and the more change we try to put on ourselves, the more resistance we get from ourselves and everyone around us. That is why I love the statement, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I say we also need to apply that to implementing technology in our auto repair shops.

Don’t try to become “digital” overnight; start with the first steps:

  • Getting tablets into the hands of your techs is a good first step. Have them look up Identifix and your different repair programs. And, don’t worry about them destroying tablets. I have only had two lost in the last four years with a total of six tablets in my bays.
  • Make sure your website can take appointments.
  • Get a workflow and communication platform in your shop to replace the phone and paper trail system you’re currently operating under. Moving from rotary phone to a digital phone speeds up the process. Sending a text vs. calling a customer is many times faster and still counts as communication with your customer. Trust me when I say they are too busy to pick up the phone when you call, but they will respond to texts within minutes of receiving them.
  • Replace your paper inspection with a digital inspection. Yes, at first your techs will slow down because it is change, and no one likes change. But, I promise if you were to have started your techs with a digital inspection and then moved to paper, they would have thrown a fit and told you EXACTLY what they are telling you about going from paper to digital.
  • Look hard at replacing your Shop Management System. If you have been with that system for 20+ years, it is time to move on. A cloud-based system makes perfect sense for many reasons, one being the empowering ability to integrate your platform with many others. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are here to stay and make cloud-based systems communicate more effectively between themselves.
  • When you go to conferences (and, there is NO excuse not to go to conferences), make sure you start sitting in on technology classes and not just management classes. Surround yourself with the idea of technology, and it will become easier to digest.

I published this site http://www.shoptechnologytimeline.com as a road map to help shop owners determine where to start and evolve their shops with technology. Good luck, take it slow, and consume it one byte at a time. I promise you, there’s a good chance the shop next to you hasn’t even considered making this move. The quicker you move and adopt, the more space you create between them and you, and that gap is a good thing!

Chris Cloutier

Chris Cloutier

Architect/President at autoflow.com

As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time. With 20+ years experience as a software developer including employment stints at Southwest Airlines and Wyndham International, Chris had seen the benefits of the marriage of software and customer service.  With the entrepreneurial passion to create an innovative solution to solve a common industry problem, Chris designed autoflow, a tool that dually functions as a visual workflow management system and as a means for keeping customers engaged and informed by providing status updates throughout the stages of the vehicle repair process. Click here to read more...

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