As more and more auto repair shops have gone to a paperless operations process, their managers have discovered the many advantages of running their shops using digital files only. Let’s go over the pros of going paperless and the cons of continuing to use paper to document and save all of your operation’s files.
The Pros of Going Paperless
- A streamlined, organized shop – All employees of an auto repair shop using up-to-date management software and equipment are able to enter information and access it quickly and efficiently. It’s simple for them to find previous history on customers and vehicles and to access repair orders without taking the time to rifle through file cabinets or look through stacks of papers. If all employees are trained to enter all relevant information into the customer’s file at the point of service, this will produce a comprehensive portrait of both the customer and the shop’s procedure and service record without creating any more work. Furthermore, bulky file cabinets can be eliminated from your shop space, neatening up the place.
- Less employee time needed and fewer errors – Good auto repair shop management software takes the place of organizational staff, so that saves money on staffing costs as well. A shop that uses paper methods of recording and organizing will be duplicating effort on every work order as staff write and rewrite the same information multiple times. Handwritten notes or instructions must be transcribed into the computer. This creates endless opportunities for error to be introduced into the process.
- Reduced costs – Printing costs ink and paper, and those expenses add up quickly over time. Most auto shops are already using some form of auto repair invoice software, so it’s only a matter of making the choice to also add management software for information storage and access. Additionally, it’s much less expensive to email documents to customers and suppliers than it is to print out information and take the time to address an envelope and mail it.
Cons of Sticking with Paper
- Image – As more and more businesses go paperless, the ones that choose not to will seem backward and low tech. The fact that a paper organization system is actually less efficient and effective doesn’t help either. In a high tech field, it helps to look high tech. It’s not enough to have an updated website.
- Insecure records – As we’ve all seen this week in Houston, natural disasters happen. Even a small fire can be ruinous for your recordkeeping if all of your files are in one place. Maintaining a database backup of all files offsite prevents that from being a risk and also allows for more expansive recordkeeping, like including pictures of damage and repairs (which insurance companies like).
Given all of the above reasons, don’t you think it’s time to make the transition to paperless? If your auto repair shop has not gone paperless yet, what is holding you back?