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Recon Roles Part 2: Managing Information as a Service Advisor

Mechanic and his service advisor using touchpad in auto repair shop.
Article Highlights:

  • Service advisors serve as the central hub for reconditioning information.
  • Streamlining repair orders allows resources to be used more efficiently.

When coordinating a process that requires a vehicle to change hands and move between departments, establishing good communication is essential to keep things running smoothly. Making sure everyone knows what they need to do and is aware of where things are in the process, allows your project to keep moving forward. Without that information, things can easily get delayed or lost in the shuffle. With vehicle reconditioning, a process with so many people and touchpoints involved, having clear and consistent communication can be uniquely challenging.

As a service advisor, you act as a liaison between different departments throughout the reconditioning process, even outside vendors. You have to manage a lot of information and make sure it is communicated properly.  It’s important you are aware of and communicating what is going on in your recon process to improve the speed and productivity of your team.

Let’s walk through three ways you, as the service advisor, can manage information and drive an efficient reconditioning cycle.

Streamlining Repair Orders

The manual process of writing and approving ROs can leave you running around, trying to stay on top of everything that needs to get done. Writing the ticket for the multi-point inspection, assigning it to the correct department, carrying out the MPI, getting the results, writing individual ROs or adding jobs for the work needed after the inspection for each department, getting approval on work, ensuring accurate part availability and pricing, coordinating with technicians and vendors – did I wear you out enough? Just writing out this process is exhausting; doing it manually, for every vehicle that comes through recon, is exhausting x10. A recon process like this eats up valuable time in your day and runs the risk of lost or forgotten ROs.

Utilizing an automated system to prioritize, dispatch, and monitor ROs can help simplify this process and make it more efficient. Being able to generate jobs directly from failed MPI items, you can instantly pass them along to the relevant departments and vendors for review and approval. You are cutting out the additional steps of writing, printing, and walking orders around the dealership. You are also establishing a central hub for RO information to live. Knowing what work has been done and still needs to be done allows vehicles to move through the process with ease, guided by a streamlined source of information.

Effective Scheduling

When managing the recon of a vehicle, one of the hardest parts is effective scheduling. You have to ensure parts are available when the vehicle is ready to be worked on and coordinate any outside vendors that need to do work as well. If repairs take longer than anticipated or your parts aren’t in stock, you have a backlog of work that can be hard to catch up on.

Centralized process tracking and knowing how long each step takes allows you to schedule recon more effectively. You can also better communicate the availability of a vehicle in the recon process to a potential customer, making them feel more confident in your ability to deliver on time. The more informed your repair timeline is, the better you will be at managing shop resources.

Building a Knowledge Hub

Advisors are often thought of as knowledge hubs. How many times has someone asked about the availability of a vehicle or part, and you wished you had the details wired into your brain? Information is constantly changing, making it impossible to recall at the drop of a hat.

Putting tools in place so you can access information, even from your mobile phone, lets you act as that information hub. You have all of the correct information in the palm of your hand whenever you need it. You can streamline your decision making and operate your recon process to its full potential when you don’t have to wait around for information.

Ready to know your reconditioning process better?

If you want to have complete  insight into your recon cycle time, it’s all about the right information. This is crucial for a productive and transparent recon process.

An efficient reconditioning process includes proper tools and systems as well as accurate and accessible information, but it still relies on the timely completion of repair work. In part three, we will explore how technicians can speed up reconditioning to aid in decreased cycle times.

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Director, ReconTRAC®, Reynolds and Reynolds

Brad Schafer has more than 25 years of industry experience, having held leadership roles at large dealer groups. He is one of the founders of ReconTRAC, a reconditioning software solution. With this solution, Brad has limitless reconditioning expertise and knowledge he uses to help dealerships across the country reduce their cycle time and optimize processes.

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