How to Eat Technology in your Shop? One Byte at a Time
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!
Architect/President at Autoflow
The Desire for Continuous Improvement
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.