• January 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm#64389
    uzdparts
    Member

    Im managing a auto repair service for about 3 to 4 months how can I manage the cars waiting for parts cars waiting for payment and cars inline waiting for repair etc? I am helping a friend out! We have the napa system but seems the manager now does everything I asked written on paper! Can I use a simple white board or?

    January 31, 2014 at 2:02 pm#73423
    stvstb
    Participant

    We still track appointments on paper (it has a few advantages) with a big “week at a glance” sheet.  My Service Writer uses different colors of Hi-Liter for car here, car in shop, car waiting for approval, car waiting for parts and car completed.  The pad sits on the front counter and customers compliment him on how colorful it is and how creative he is.  I like that it WORKS!!!  Also we can all check status and keep it current when he is off…

    January 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm#73424
    Linda Hansen
    Participant

    Paper still works well, as long as everyone who works with the log sheet knows the system. Major DMS systems for dealerships have codes built in for the current status, but agin, if the status is not updated, it doesn’t work.
    Keep it simple, color coded, and have a separate parking areas based on the status. Vehicles waiting for pick up need to be in one area, easily retrieved for customers. (I’m not a fan of the customer going out to get their own car.).

    January 31, 2014 at 9:20 pm#73425
    uzdparts
    Member

    Thank you very much this is a big help! I really like the idea of the different colors and I wouldn’t want to have my customers going out there to pick their cars as well, thanks again for both of your comments

    February 1, 2014 at 5:32 am#73426
    Pirouette
    Member

    everyday I use a sheet of paper with each tech as a column and at the bottom the unassigned jobs

    under each tech I write their jobs,  
    If the job is held up for whatever reason (parts), authorization, machine shop, using a pencil, I put a parenthesis ( ) around the job which can be erased when the holdup condition has ended.
    The job at the top of each column has been in the shop the longest and should be worked on as soon as possible
    When I move the unassigned job to a tech, it goes to the bottom of the list.
    We use RO Writer which has a Status column on the Work In Progress screen but changing the status is tedious and inefficient.  People claim RO Writer is the best out there.  That may be true but it’s a pathetic statement about the state of software for our profession.
    finally – an affirmation  on LHansen’s comment about customers not having to get their own cars.  Check out the new car dealers – all new facilities have drive-in service bays.  In the cold Northeast, this is (to me) a critical statement of where we independents should be going – taking care of the customer with extraordinary service.  I am in a 20 Group (NCM20.com) and 2 shop just built new expensive facilities – I am stunned that they didn’t build sheltered bays for their customers to drive into.
    February 2, 2014 at 8:26 am#73428
    Tom Ham
    Participant

    Most of the better management software have some kind of customizeable Work in Progress Screen which is similar to a spreadsheet. The trick is to get training or do self training on every conceivable thing that you can do with the screen. Most users are unaware of many of the options…and since we are talking Windows the options are almost “to infinity and beyond”. 

    Once set up fully and correctly for your shop, it normally takes just a few clicks to entirely alter the screen to a different view that you have previously created to display certain information. A few clicks (maybe only 1 or 2) would bring up a display that groups together all cars waiting for parts, another group waiting for payment, another waiting for repair, etc…and displays them alone or all at once…and sorts the cars various ways within each grouping. 
    I still see many shops with paper schedules, dry erase boards, and so on because, for whatever reason, they do not know how to more fully take advantage of the WIP. Imagine that every person in your shop can stop at any PC or laptop in the building and within seconds bring up the organized status info (and many other details) about one car or all cars which are there and coming in. 
    To be clear, this is not some simple thing that you set up in a few minutes. It takes a lot of time to figure out what you want to see, how you want it displayed and so on. After that there will be a never ending editing process to continually fine tune it. But the results are well worth the effort.

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    February 3, 2014 at 8:24 am#73430

    I call on Automotive repair shops.  The number of different ways that this process is accomplished changes with each shop I visit. 

    Using the color codes works well.  White boards with catagories, etc.  Nice and easy to see at a glance how your day is going.

    Using a PC Software package also works well.  This can be done with just the service writer or usually in a large shop with input from the technicians.  Input from the technicians, over a network, is usually given some restrictions.  I have a few shops where the tech’s use their PC input as a time clock, order their own parts, etc.

    Multiple options for you.  My suggestion is to do this at first, away from the daily grind.  Decide what you want to do first, then try it alongside your current operation(as in a week or so) before fully implementing it.  Also when deciding to make a major change like this, do it when your business is (relatively) slow.  You need time to think clearly while these changes are taking place. 

    February 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm#73431
    rayrippey
    Participant

    With our software we put everything in a Work in Progress (WIP), then there are 5 simple status fields which are just colors, for instance Red means waiting on parts, green means it’s good to go, .

    Ray
    February 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm#73432

    I’m still surprised to see so many people using paper tracking methods now, even when they have electronic systems, many still hold onto it.

    I ditched using it in the 90’s because at the time, I saw it as a duplication of effort.  Then the techs still wrote their own flag tickets for their records, but EVERYTHING was in our computer system and EVERYONE was on the same page.
    February 5, 2014 at 4:58 am#73434
    Rick White
    Participant

    If you would like a Work-in-Process Sheet developed in Excel, shoot an email to [email protected] and I will send it to you.

    Have a SUPER day!
    Rick White
    “The Profit Guardian”

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