Tools and Equipment Shop Floor

SmartFlow by AutoVitals

Order Reprints


Dan Garlock has always run his shops, Silver Lake Auto in Oconomowoc and Hartland, Wis., with a keen eye for the numbers. So when he set specific average repair order (ARO) and hours-per-ticket goals, he knew he needed a way to track those.

“We were just not getting any traction,” he says. “The reason I started looking at digital inspections is that I felt it was a real progressive way for us to show vehicle inspections to customers.”

Garlock started using the Digital Inspection Sheet component of AutoVitals’ software in July 2014 and then added the SmartFlow workflow management tool. The SmartFlow system has been integral in helping the shop track technician’s times and tech’s labor inventory, Garlock says.

“We can figure out how many hours of labor we have per technician per day,” he explains. “We can make sure we’re maximizing those available hours for each tech. All of our service advisors can see that so at any point in time, they can move work around, take work in or bring an extra car in to help us get some more customer vehicles throughout the week.”

The tablet- and Web-based platform allows for one paperless, streamlined workflow management process that has benefits for everyone in the shop. The workflow part of the program promotes increased visibility throughout the repair process, says Garlock, by allowing everyone in the shop to have complete real-time visibility of the status of a repair. When a customer comes in, the service advisor at the shop will start a repair order, and, as the vehicle goes through the repair process, shop staff clicks through on various options in the program, which then alerts the next staff member in the chain that the vehicle is either ready for them, waiting on parts or an estimate approval, or ready for  customer pickup. 

“It’s instantaneous so everyone has the information right away,” he says. “The communication is much more thorough and dynamic.”


Garlock says that more than anything, utilizing the SmartFlow system has allowed him to reach the goals he set for the shops. Since July of 2014, when he started using the system, the shop’s ARO has gone up 21 percent from $398 to $501. In addition, the hours per ticket has gone from 1.63 to 1.94, and technician efficiency has jumped from 94 percent to 110 percent technician productivity.

Plus, he says that customer interaction and confidence have become more streamlined, as well. “What we found is that we’ve gotten a lot better at our picture taking,” Garlock says. “With our pictures being much more accurate and more of what the customer is looking for, it takes any bit of buyers’ remorse or any question out of their mind whether they should have fixed that car or not. They have complete trust and confidence at that point in time.”

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