Position Yourself to Succeed

If you work in this business you either embrace change or change leaves you behind.

You’ve heard, or read, that technology is growing at an alarming pace, and it seems that every time I attend a connected-car event the countdown to autonomous vehicles backs up a couple more years.

Yes, the evolution of new technology is something that we’re going to need to keep up with. And there will be many new facets to our craft that will require employees who possess developing new skill sets that will return drivers or driverless cars to their correct operational condition. What follows are a couple of other areas that I think should demand your attention.

This year at CARS we held a panel discussion titled “Not Your Grandfather’s Repair Shop.” In that discussion, we talked about changing business models, new competitors, consolidation of service repair shops and finding your niche. I view these developments as being on a crash course with the reality of a vehicle over-population problem that could exist in less than a decade, or the alternative: considerably more car sharing and alternate transportation.

It seems likely that the miles these vehicles are driven will not change significantly. However, I think the change likely will come in more miles driven by fewer vehicles. The opportunities for service and collision repair professionals are numerous, and there are many ways to become informed so that you can position yourself for the best success.

The key is to plug into the most useful information channels that fit your business direction and aspirations. There’s a good chance that the service and collision repair shops of the future will look much different when they’re servicing cars that can perform their own fleet management.

And the final area I want to share with you involves the network security in your shop. If you have a wireless network that you share with your customers, it can be a great customer service. But if your business machines and scan tools live on the same wireless network, it can be a dangerous proposition.

For many of us, just the fact that we managed to get a wireless access point working was enough of an accomplishment that we let the sleeping dog lie. But the internet has become a more dangerous place than ever before, with people and sometimes even countries, attempting to plant viruses that can attack your customer’s vehicle networks. Their intention is to cause chaos in the streets. Repair shops and technicians should be part of the solution to this problem.

Very soon, we expect to have an across-the-industry educational tool that will help you learn how to control and protect the machines in your shop, as well as provide you with a certificate that shows that you understand the intricacies of the process.

My key point here is that ASA continues to monitor technology trends as they evolve, and our board of directors and operations committees are researching responses and information to help you guide your business into a successful future.