Efficiency almost always comes down to organization. Without knowing what goes where and when, or who does what and how, systems break down and precious time is easily lost. As a way to organize the vehicles coming in and out of the shop, as well as how the steps of the repair are communicated to the team and the customer, shop owners turn to the digital solution of a shop management system.
Find Your Shop Management Match
With hundreds of different options to choose from, finding the right management system for your shop can be overwhelming. But it is vital to consider the many variations and levels of systems before investing in one for your shop. Similar to TV packages, there are bare-bones options, extensive upgraded versions and everything in between—all coming in at different price points.
For more organized, well-trained and operations-savvy shop owners, a more robust management system could be a good option. Whereas new shop owners should look towards simpler management systems that translate well from handwriting estimates. For example, ALLDATA Shop Manager is a simple management system for day-to-day shop essentials. Owners who are new to the position or are not as familiar with shop technology could be overwhelmed with a more complex system and may not be able to take advantage of the added features without further training. Before deciding on a management system, ask yourself which features are a necessity for your shop and which ones you would like to grow into using.
Once you become more familiar with using a management system, you can look into upgrading your current system or finding a more advanced one that lends more guidance—all while improving efficiency along the way.
Utilize Your Tools and Speed Up Efficiency
Every shop management system has different features and tools to help speed up efficiency and grow your shop. Below are a few elements that aid in getting vehicles in and out of your shop quickly and efficiently.
One feature that can be found on almost all shop management systems is a scheduling element. A full digital calendar allows owners to schedule out customer visits while recording and archiving important customer and vehicle information. Keeping staff and vehicles rolling on a strict daily schedule pushes the flow of jobs efficiently through the shop. Additionally, housing information about customers’ cars and past repairs in an organized and digital space removes paper records and makes relevant data easy to access, quickly.
Similar to a scheduling element, select shop management systems have a built-in internal workflow management tool. Shop owners or managers can assign out individual steps in the repair process to specific team members. The entire staff is able to visually see where a vehicle is along the process, eliminating possible confusion or “lost” jobs and allowing the team to plan for the next repair.
Shop management systems commonly have communication tools integrated into the system for either internal or external use. With customer information directly logged into the database, direct or automatic messaging can be set up with customers to alert them to where their vehicle is along the repair process. This can eliminate excess phone calls and allows timely information to reach customers faster.
Many shop management systems either have their own payment processing system or can integrate with an existing system at your shop. Quick and easy payments with customers speed up the repair process by allowing them to pay for their repair without added hassle or processing. Some systems allow customers to pay directly online, eliminating a clumsy over-the-phone transaction or unneeded in-shop payment.