Regardless of what kind of business you operate, efficiency should always be a top priority. Auto shops, in particular, can benefit from streamlining their processes. Time is money, and running your shop at optimal capacity can help you service more vehicles and make the best use of your labor hours.
That said, taking shop efficiency to the next level is often easier said than done. How can you implement smart strategies to improve auto repair shop efficiency?
The right tools and processes can make your auto shop more efficient, effortlessly saving time and money. Even if it takes a little bit more upfront time to set up and streamline new processes, the new direction will pay off in the long run. Here are some tips for improving shop efficiency when it comes to working with your staff, your customers, and even your inventory processes.
One of the most effective ways to invest in auto shop efficiency is through training your staff.
Trained, experienced technicians – even if they are paid at a higher rate – can actually save your shop money compared to untrained employees. Technicians with the right skills can often complete work more quickly and are less likely to create time-consuming mistakes. Imagine how efficiently your auto shop could run if your employees had the training necessary to complete daily tasks with ease.
Staff members also generally appreciate the opportunity to grow in their work and acquire new skills. Career development is a powerful way to engage your employees and retain talented technicians. Having a good employee retention rate in itself can improve shop efficiency. High turnover rates are not only costly, but also slow down the entire team as you invest precious time and money getting new hires up to speed on your shop’s processes.
The more busywork you can take away from your technicians, the more time they can spend focusing on the repair side of their job. Automation opens up a wide variety of opportunities, from streamlining a service order workflow to keeping in touch with customers.
If you want to increase engagement between your auto shop and your customers, then one area that yields significant dividends is service reminders that prompt customers to come back for routine maintenance on their vehicles. Software like AutoVitals lets you set up alerts to automatically text or email customers when they’re due for service.
You might even be surprised to learn that automating text messages for service reminders gives extremely high open rates (up to 98 percent). This can increase revenue month after month.
Another automation that proves useful is canned jobs. For services that are done multiple times a day, you can click just a few buttons instead of typing them in anew. Canned jobs can minimize time spent on order entry, making it easier and faster for service advisors to talk with customers about the work done on their vehicles.
Many auto repair shops are already set up with at least one computer workstation that remains in a fixed location. We encourage this, since the workstation can serve as a central hub when needed. You don’t need to worry about the computer running out of battery or getting misplaced.
However, the flexibility of mobile devices allows service advisors and technicians to take the technology with them. With the ability to take mobile devices on the go, they can eliminate time-consuming trips back and forth to the computer.
If you do decide to implement mobile workstations, make sure that the software will sync seamlessly across all devices. For example, you may want it on a computer, laptop, mobile phone, and tablet for convenience. Whether it’s a service advisor at a computer workstation or technicians in the bay with tablets, everyone should be able to access up-to-date info about part inventory, service order status, and more.
Streamlining communication in the shop goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip to implement mobile workstations. Fast communication from anywhere in the shop results in better customer service while improving the shop’s overall operational efficiency.
How much time do your employees spend walking back and forth from the front counter to the garage? Technicians and service advisors need an open line of communication between them so that they can better serve the customer and answer their questions about work being done.
Instead of service advisors having to hunt down the technician they need, they can simply get the answers to their questions digitally with solutions like AutoVitals. This can trim down on precious hours spent running around the building looking for the one person who can answer questions and resolve dilemmas for customers.
If you have certain workflows that take place on a daily basis in your auto repair shop, you can boost efficiency (and even profitability) by building habit and consistency. Teach your technicians to follow the same framework on each and every job instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. To this end, you may choose to implement guided inspections.
Digital Vehicle Inspections (DVI) with AutoVitals guide technicians step-by-step through a comprehensive vehicle inspection, ensuring they hit each and every point. Your techs don’t need to backtrack or scratch their heads trying to remember what they did or didn’t cover already. Workflow management keeps track of it for them so they can focus on the job.
It’s a win for everyone – customers leave the shop knowing their vehicle got a complete checkup, technicians free up mental space to do their best work, and your shop doesn’t leave any service opportunities on the table.
DVI also makes it easy to communicate with customers about what’s going on with their vehicle using detailed texts, edited pictures, and even videos showing customers the issue with their vehicle. These services increase work approval rates while increasing efficiency and streamlining the process for both technicians and customers.
Your parts inventory is a crucial source of revenue, and those vehicle parts account for a large percentage of the costs of your business. Getting organized with part inventory management is essential if you want to make the most of your business investment. You should know where parts are within the building at any given point, making it easier to talk with customers about where their repair stands.
Of course, another aspect of staying organized relates directly to your relationship with people who visit your business. Keeping detailed customer records can help you to look up the history of a vehicle and see opportunities for new business such as routine oil changes, tire rotations, and other services that happen on a routine basis.
We know how it is for shop owners and employees who have to wear a lot of hats. With so much going into day-to-day operations, it’s hard to buckle down, avoid distractions, and focus on doing your best work.
The Complete Shop Success Solution from AutoVitals includes everything your team needs to power up your auto shop efficiency and profitability. From tech dispatching and labor inventory management to communication tools and digital vehicle inspections, we build every tool and feature with independent repair shops like you in mind.
Ready to take shop efficiency to the next level? Reach out today to learn how AutoVitals can provide the tools you need to create a more efficient repair shop!