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5 Questions to Determine Fixed Ops Efficiency: Write-up and Dispatch

Article Highlights:

  • Wasted time equals lost profit.
  • Communication is the biggest barrier in achieving efficiency.

This is the second article in a three part series to help you determine whether your dealership is as efficient and streamlined as possible when it comes to various phases of the service experience.

As I discussed in the last article, all retailers are trying to make things more efficient while gaining the maximum profit per customer. How are they doing it? They are implementing modern technology to eliminate the need for manual processes. How can you do this in your retail environment? In your dealership, the segments of the service process which are most often manual are write-up and dispatching.

Take the short quiz below to gain insight about how efficient your dealership may be. Answer honestly, and record the number of ‘no’ answers. Afterwards, I’ll discuss how your dealership can improve efficiency and profit using powerful solutions and digital processes.

  1. Are your advisors using a mobile tablet for a walk-around inspection and write-up?
  2. Are jobs digitally dispatched to technicians, based on skill-level, availability, and other performance metrics?
  3. Can technicians and advisors digitally check parts availability before recommending a repair?
  4. Are your technicians able to take pictures of repairs and add them directly to the RO within the same system?
  5. Can your employees (advisors, technicians, parts) communicate digitally within one system?

OK, tally up those ‘no’ answers. If you have one or less ‘no’ answers, you’re in a great spot in regard to efficiency. If you have between one and three ‘no’ answers, you have some room for improvement. If you have more than three ‘no’ answers, technology improvements could have a tremendous impact on your efficiency. Here are some tips to turn those ‘no’ answers into ‘yes’ answers and improve your dealership operations:

  1. Go digital. Greet customers with a tablet. Customer experience is critical. Customers have come to expect modern technology and conveniences in every retail experience. When your advisors greet them with a mobile tablet, it communicates an elite environment and also makes them accustomed to your modern, efficient process—different from the status quo’s paper and clipboard. Also, the best providers offer a unified system so your advisors don’t need to do the write-up, and then re-enter that information again into a separate software application.
  2. Keep technicians in their bays. If your dealership is not dispatching work electronically, and selecting the appropriate technician based on preset skills, you’re making life hard on your employees. Digitally dispatching jobs helps get the wrenches turning faster, allows advisors to stay on the drive to accept inbound opportunities, and stops all the walking and talking that eats away at profitable labor time.
  3. Give service employees access to parts information. Wasted time equals lost profit. Giving employees the ability to check on available parts makes the process go smoother. No more technicians standing around the parts counter waiting for fulfillment. Every time your technicians find repair opportunities, they should know whether or not the parts are on-hand for the job. Let your money-makers see availability, request the part, confirm the repair, and keep working.
  4. Be transparent with your customers. Transparency is a huge value add. With the ability to take pictures of actual repairs, your dealership can show customers exactly what they are recommending in regard to maintenance. Simply saying “you need a new filter” versus showing the customer his own clogged, dirty filter are two very different manners of persuasion. The images of the recommended repairs are the proof that customers are seeking. Furthermore, linking actual repair images to the repair order gives your dealership great leverage when referring back to recommended/declined services.
  5. Drive efficiency through digital communication. Communication is crucial. A Carlisle & Co. study once noted that communication is the biggest issue between technicians and advisors—accounting for a large gap in lost profits and wasted time. When a technician cannot quickly get the information he needs from an advisor, it causes a delay in the repairs and triggers a delay in the customer’s repair promise time. Allowing your employees to digitally communicate through one system eliminates unnecessary walking and reduces the confusion that accompanies hand-written information.

Now armed with tips to improve your write-up and dispatch processes by going digital, it’s time for you to take action. Don’t hold back—invest in your dealership’s digital efficiency today, or your customers will go somewhere that does.

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jeff Adams is a Product Planning manager for Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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