Noriega: New system leads to more efficient, profitable shop

Florida Shop Owner Nails Down Process And Enjoys Increased Success As A Result.

Bob Noriega

In the years since founding AutoWorks of Tampa, I’ve seen my fair share of ups and downs. Initially I started the business out of the side of my house, working on neighbor’s cars, my friend’s cars, and the cars of other, word-of-mouth customers. As you can imagine, this wasn’t very efficient, and didn’t lead to that five-star experience that we all strive for.

After nearly five years of working out of my house, I walked into an opportunity to purchase a shop. The former owners of my location and I made a deal on a Friday, we closed that weekend, moved in, and were up and running by Monday. A quick turnaround to say the least. With this expansion, we faced new challenges.

When I acquired the four-bay shop, we had three technicians, but were only grossing $30,000 to $35,000 per month gross revenue. It was barely enough to keep everybody paid and food on my own table. After a thorough analysis, I determined that the root of my problems was inefficiency. One of the biggest causes of this inefficiency was my point-of- sale system.

When I studied our process, I paid close attention to the amount of time staff spent writing on paper. This would start at the sign-in process, where a client would fill out a check-in sheet, and the service writer would input the information by hand to dispatch the ticket. Then, the technician would spend time filling out an inspection sheet, including a breakdown of recommended repairs, the parts needed and the labor times. This paperwork would get passed to the service writer to copy the information into the shop management system. After the job was sold, the service writer would have to perform a secondary check on the parts to place the order. It was obvious where we were losing time and money.

During my visit to the VISION Show in 2015, I interviewed every shop management system in the building and found my golden nugget of a shop management system. The workflow process starts at check in, where the client signs off on the repair order right on a touchscreen computer. Then, the ticket is dispatched immediately to the technician.  The results of the inspection, recommendations, parts and labor are selected within the system and sent back to the service writer. Once the job is sold, the service writer can order parts directly through the management interface.

What we have found is with the new system, all redundant steps and double entries have disappeared.  Productivity of technicians increased has 10 percent to 15 percent month over month, and the service writer is able to handle more clients. Today our shop is averaging $110,000 per month with two technicians and a general service technician. 

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