Technology is a multiplier, and we in the auto repair world should love and respect what it means to our businesses. I know we all resist change because we’re comfortable with the way things have been done, but isn’t it nice to no longer have to remember all 3,000 phone numbers of the people you know and, at the touch of a button (or, with a command), have your phone dial it for you? Or, what about Google maps, which I am pretty sure has saved my marriage along with countless others? Isn’t it so nice to be able to pull up directions on your phone in real time vs. the old Mapsco way?
In our shops, we now have the ability to leverage technology in multiple ways to our advantage: digital inspections, quick communication, online parts ordering, remote learning, and on and on. A person in your shop is always going to be a limited resource. They only have so many hours they can work. Technology doesn’t stop, sleep, or rest, and, when used properly, can make your processes so much more efficient.
Let’s take Amazon vs. Walmart as an example of a technology multiplier. Both primarily do the same thing: sell things to people, a simple yet very complex process when you start looking at supply chain management, logistics, and everything else that comes with selling things to people. But, the big difference is the use of technology by Amazon with its storefront being online and super convenient. Sure, there is no greeter online at the Amazon store, but that is something I can live with.
In gross sales, Walmart is still king (only five times larger, but it used to be 16 times larger back in 2012); however, if you look at revenue per employee, Amazon is three times that of Walmart ($623,000, sourced from Time article). Amazon also employs a fraction of the people Walmart employs, with 34K Amazon employees compared to Walmart’s 2.1M employees in 2010. As of 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart in value with $244 billion vs. Walmart’s $206 billion.
Amazing when you look at the two companies and what they do. Sure, both are open 24 hours a day, but I would much rather order things from the safety of my computer at 4 a.m. than step foot in a Walmart. Strange things happen at 4 a.m. in Walmart.
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...