Do you want to take your auto repair shop to the next level? Jodi Knepper, owner of Lee Myles Auto Care & Transmissions in Reading, PA, has the secret; Auto Vitals and Protractor integration. According to her, it is a “win, win, win.”
The staff at Lee Myles
Jodi and her shop were early adopters of the integrated auto repair shop computer software, and they have never looked back.
She knew they were going to move their auto shop POS software over from NAPA TRACS to Protractor after having some frustration with their previous system, but Jodi was a bit nervous about the transition.
In an effort to ease her nerves and ensure the new automotive shop software was working as it should, Jodi created a system with her crew to track their hours.
“We’re a flat rate shop, so [the techs] care about their time, and they need to feel secure that they’re not even going to miss a tenth of an hour,” she told Tom. “So for us, part of making sure that everything worked out for the best of everybody meant I print out some paper sheets that I give each of my techs. I say, ‘Hey, just during this transition I need you to write down the work order number, I need you to write down the number of hours and what you did, and then we’re going to match it up at the end of the week and see if this all came out right.’ And it did, so that built confidence. They understood that nothing fishy is going on, and they can rely on this software.”
Jodi also had a couple of secret weapons in her back pocket to guarantee a successful switch.
First, she completed all the integration training AutoVitals offered, and second, she had Sara, the Protractor specialist at AutoVitals, in her corner.
It is Sara’s job to help the transition go smoothly, and her main focus is your data.
“When we are looking at the integration, we are truly going in and we’re looking at your data,” she said. “We are making sure that we understand what fields your information are stored in, so when we migrate that data over, we’re able to monitor those fields coming back into the system so that it all populates the way that it’s supposed too.”
It’s common for repair shops to come from different systems, so this step is auto repair POS software specific, but that is precisely why Sara and her team spend a lot of time on the back end.
Jodi’s switch to the integrated system did have a minor hiccup when it came to moving motorist phone numbers. Instead of the numbers moving to the phone number field, they instead were put in the notes section.
At first, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but then Jodi realized there was a bit more work she needed to do to take advantage of one of her favorite Protractor features.
“It didn’t seem like a big deal, but in the end, it actually was a little bit of a big deal because one of the coolest features that Protractor offers is that white pages lookup where you just put a phone number in, and you can see if the customer is in your system. If they’re not in your system, it’s going to look up the address for that customer and you have lots of information right at your fingertips.”
It took some time, but the data got entered into the correct fields. Now, they can use the lookup feature whenever they want. Additionally, Sara was able to find a solution to make sure the same issue doesn’t happen to other shops going forward.
“I was a little afraid in the beginning,” Jodi said. “You know, you have those fears of, ‘What if I lose all my data,’ or ‘What if the whole shop is shut down to a standstill because nothing’s working,’ and I really didn’t need to worry. It went, really, very smoothly.”
Sara has some suggestions for those auto repair shops that are making the switch to the Protractor and AutoVitals integration.
“The first thing if you’re on-boarding, reach out to us,” Sara said.
There are two reasons why. First, since Jodi made the switch to Protractor, AutoVitals has developed “shortcodes” for the entire service package library, which comes as a default with the Protractor software. Additionally, they have mapped all of the actions from a digital vehicle inspection using the shortcodes. You can customize these processes before you transition over to Protractor. Second, since your information is pushing back to Protractor, you need to match your time clock events to your TeE Time events.
“We want to make sure that we have you set up for success from the beginning by, once again, installing those service packages with the codes, and then just talking about your workflow,” she said. “Make sure that when you’re talking to your advisor, your trainer, that we know what you’re looking for – that we know how your shop works so that we can make it as seamless as possible and as successful as possible.”
While switching to a new automotive shop and sales software can be daunting, both Jodi and Sara say the benefits should outweigh any hesitations you may have.
“In Protractor, there are a ton of features that they were just mind-blowing,” Jodi said. “We didn’t have access to before. They helped us level-up honestly.”
One simple reason for success with the integrated systems is how everything transfers with the push of a button.
“The way it moves back and forth together, it reduces a lot of steps on the service advisor side and still is helping you to, you know, keep your ATI reports straight because all of your dashboards that you’re pulling up, all of that time data is transferring directly into that,” Sarah said.
Jodi has also found she can track things she hadn’t even thought of monitoring previously.
“This software is so much more accurate on every possible level,” she shared. “Specifically for accounting and for parts management because of how everything is, it’s all tracked, every bit of it. Whether you received a part, if you returned the part, did you get credit for the part that you returned or that core that you returned? All of those things, we never looked at that before. We just kind of assumed everybody was doing their job, and you know, at the end of the month, hopefully, the margins looked good, right?”
This additional tracking has saved her several times when parts have been accidentally left on shelves instead of returned.
“It’s a lot harder for somebody to mismanage your business or take advantage of your business because they have access to things,” she said.
While Jodi and her team are old pros with the automotive shop computer software integration, there are still areas they are working to improve.
She is looking forward to using analytics to drill-down and see how specific KPI’s influence other metrics and KPI’s.
“That’s where I am, personally, going next,” she told Tom and Sara. “Just to try and target the things that I think are going to make the maximum impact for our business. What I really love is that it feels like one system, you know, AutoVitals and Protractor. It feels like one system.”
The Business Control Panel is where you can track the key metrics that influence the bottom line of your business.
“We’re a specialized team that are pulling together all of our resources to help the individual shop meet their specific goals in a short period of time,” Sara said. “We are working on group check-ins where we are pulling everybody together that may be struggling in a specific area so that we can have that collaboration between the shop owner and the service advisor. Whatever it’s going to take to help the shop owner and the shop succeed.”
She has seen this program work, and she wants every repair shop to benefit from it.
“What can we do to help you reach those goals, to be your partner, to make it all happen?” she stated. “So that’s the up and coming that is the most exciting to me. I’ve seen the program work, and just helping to share that and see everybody become as successful as they possibly can.”