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Technology Rocks
Posted to Tool & Equipment Forum on 6/9/2013 26 Replies

I'm still not all that comfortable with blogging; or, with posting in Forums like these, for that matter.

I know that must sound a little strange for someone who's been writing multiple columns to both sides of the Industry for almost thirty years, but it's the truth.

There is a difference between sharing something with a friend: something important, at least something important to you; and, prying open the top of your skull and going 'stream of consciousness' on the entire Galaxy and beyond.

The columns I write almost write themselves or at least cry out to be written. You've got to think about everything else a little too hard to make it seem worthwhile sometimes.

Well, this isn't going to be one of those times.

This is all about technology and how it can work for you instead of against you. How it can remove or at least reduce a portion of the stress that normally accompanies any new technology, instead of tying knots in your stomach and trying to see just how high the numbers on the blood pressure cuff will go!

[Pull Downs 1]

It has to do with something new we've been working with at our shop: the first new something everyone in the shop is actually anxious and excited to work with. It's an Electronic Inspection System that allows our technicians to communicate whatever it is they've found directly to the Front Counter and provides you, your Service Advisor and/or Manager with the tools they need to communicate that information directly to the consumer.

[Pull Downs]

It allows the technician to take digital images of those findings: images that can be sent or shared with the customer simultaneously. And, for problems that require difficult or complicated explanations, it allows the tech to digitally record that explanation. You can build more than one Inspection form or modify an already existing form -- I just modified our 30-point Courtesy Condition Report to more closely follow the technician as he or she is engaged in the Inspection this afternoon.

More than anything else, it's an incredible time saving productivity tool and I'll tell you why. The form itself can be modified to require the fewest number of keystrokes possible. It can be set up with pull-downs or open fields and no one has to 'copy it over.' No one has to transcribe anything… No matter how hard it is to read that one Tech's writing, no matter how many words are misspelled and with no greasy finger prints anywhere because the form is both digital and electronic! And, because it's digital and electronic, communication is instantaneous!

We've figured out that it's saving about ten minutes per inspection on the shop floor and at least that much in the office. I don't know what your Car Count is, but if it's anything like ours that's a lot of time everyone can be involved in doing something lots more productive than re-writing something someone else has already written down!

To take this one step further, AutoVitals: the company that built our EIS, has enhanced the process by adding a number of short -- Operative Expression: short -- Yet, very high quality videos designed to educate and explain what are probably the ten most common if not important services that require an explanation at the Counter or over the phone…

We've got our first Inspection sheet flowing almost exactly the way we want it to and just now finished getting the videos online and available.

[Customer Report]

I'm sharing this now because I think it's something everyone should be using. It raises the bar on customer communication and takes it to the next level. It gives your Service Advisors the tools they need to compete with the retailers, chains, franchises and dealerships, and it offers your customers a level of professionalism they aren't used to or expecting from our Industry (OK, maybe not your place...).

All in all, it's pretty amazing when Technology is actually made to work for you instead of against you. And, when that happens you can honestly say, "Technology Rocks!" and, mean it

Mitch Schneider
Schneider's Automotive Repair, Inc.
Simi Valley, California, USA

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