To say Rick's Automotive is a busy shop is an understatement. The shop has over 40 employees, 28 bays, consists of three buildings and takes in around 1,400 cars a month. Anything Travis Comfort, vice president of the Missouri shop, and his team can implement into the front or the back of the business to help run Rick’s more efficiently helps the over 300 cars a week go in-and-out faster with more ease.
Over time, procurement of parts began to slow down Rick’s Automotive flow—a bottleneck, per se. With time wasted on back-and-forth phone calls to local dealerships, chasing down a part that may not even be the correct one needed to complete the repair—something new needed to be implemented at Rick’s.
Soon, through nearby dealerships, the shop’s team began to hear of a possible solution to their bottleneck, a new online connection. RepairLink Shop became an all-in-one place for Comfort and his team to order quality OEM parts, access diagrams and other repair information, and most importantly, increase efficiency.
The Search for Quality Parts
Quality parts are important at Rick’s, and in order to ensure each part lives up to the shop’s warranty, about half of what they use are OEM. RepairLink Shop allows for the shop’s team to conveniently and easily order each needed OEM part.
“We want to install the best quality parts in our repairs to make sure it lasts throughout our warranty,” Comfort says. “Providing the best quality to our customers is what we’re about—it’s our brand.”
Mark Cummings, parts manager at Rick’s Automotive, is the team member who is primarily on RepairLink Shop, along with a few other service advisors (who use it for part estimates). The online ordering is fairly intuitive, says Comfort, and is simple enough for anyone in the shop to access and navigate if needed. And considering RepairLink Shop is web-based, it allows for 24/7 searching by either VIN or year, make and model (YMM) at any time.
“The ease of use alone is why we recommend it,” he says.
Comfort also mentions almost all dealerships in his area have adopted RepairLink Shop.
“There were a few stragglers over the last few years, but everyone has gotten on board with it,” he says. “Also, a lot of the dealerships will offer discounts if you order through RepairLink Shop, since it also saves them manpower.”
A Complete Look Inside
One of the most helpful additions to RepairLink Shop, has been part illustrations and technical diagrams.
“All of the diagrams are right online,” Comfort explains. “You can pick out the needed part from the specific diagram and then easily transfer that part to your shop management system without manually entering in all of the part numbers, prices, and descriptions.”
The diagrams and illustrations are well-organized within RepairLink Shop, and easily searchable, he says. His parts manager or technician can click on the specific category and get down to the correct diagram quickly.
“Anyone can look up a part in seconds,” he says, “so it's really been a great tool for us.”
Mainly, these diagrams help to ensure part accuracy by removing the many steps and drawn out exchanges between his shop and each dealership.
“When talking to dealerships back-and-forth, things can get easily mixed up. If they end up sending the wrong part, you have to wait a day or two to realize the mistake, and then start over from day one,” Comfort says. “It’s just nice to get all the diagrams dealerships use and be able to pick the correct part out with your own eyes.”
Speeding up the Process
Above all else, RepairLink Shop saves the Rick’s Automotive team time and, as Comfort says, “time is money in our industry.”
Before utilizing RepairLink Shop, a team member would have to take the time to individually call up each dealership and let them know what part they were looking for. They would then have to wait for a price quote to be written. Once written, another phone call to the dealer would have to be made—with the hope a parts person was available on the other end to order the needed part for them.
“Now all we have to do is click a button,” Comfort explains.
Since RepairLink Shop is connected to Comfort’s shop management system, it allows for anyone in the shop to order a part through the software without even having to make a single phone call.
“RepairLink Shop really just streamlines everything,” he says.
The illustrations and technical diagrams, as mentioned above, also ultimately save time at Rick’s Automotive.
“Not only has ordering the parts been faster, but our parts manager can look at the diagram with the technician and get the correct part, the first time,” he says. “It's been a huge timesaver.”
And saving time is ideal at Rick’s Automotive—where efficiency is needed in order to complete the repairs of hundreds of vehicles each week.
For more information, visit RepairLinkShop.com.
This article appeared as part of an 8-page special section sponsored by OEC
in the May 2020 edition of Ratchet+Wrench.