The interaction between the service advisor and the technician is still handled outside the software system by some shops. Managing these activities through the software system can have a major impact on productivity, sales and profits. The more these activities are performed through the system the more time is available for value-add activities. In the case of the technician an increase in time available equates to more time to spend doing repair work. Following are key areas of interaction between service advisor and technician:
- Work Assignment – An often used method of issuing work to technicians is to place the paperwork associated with the vehicle into a bin that’s assigned to the technician. When the technician is ready to begin work on a vehicle the paperwork is taken from the bin. This method takes the technician assigned work offline and outside the shop management system. Handling the process this way eliminates visibility of work status and results in many other work related activities being performed outside the shop management system. When assignment of work is done inside the shop management system and the technician works from the system all related information can be processed accordingly and stored within the shop management database. The improvement in efficiency and productivity is huge.
- Prioritization – When operating outside the shop management system using the bin method of work assignment above – prioritization is handled by placing the paperwork for repairs into the bins in the order they’re supposed to be worked on. When managing work prioritization this way visibility is limited and re-prioritization is not readily known to all shop personnel. Managing work prioritization within the shop management system provides real time visibility for all and personnel can see priorities from their work station. There is a strong positive impact on productivity.
- Recommendations – A common practice when handling recommendations is for the technician to handwrite them on paper then forward them to a service advisor. And in many cases the service advisor pulls together pricing information for labor and parts on paper then contacts the customer for approval. With this method the entire process is handled offline outside the shop management system. When handling this through the shop management system the recommendation requirements are communicated through the software system from the technician to the service advisor. Then the service advisor builds the recommended services using labor guide and parts interfaces as required. Finally the approval process is handled through the shop management system and the technician has immediate visibility of the results. The productivity gains recognized by performing these functions through the shop management system are significant.