Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 38

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FIXED OPS JOURNAL

"When somebody comes in for service today,
chances are, it's going to get done that day."
TOM MOSER, service manager, Jim Burke Ford-Lincoln

ON THE CLOCK

 Software helps service departments answer: When will my car be ready?

G

JIM HENRY

foj@autonews.com

arrett Ming got into the software
business four years ago, after he
spent 27 years in dealership fixed
operations. The main reason for his
career switch, he says, was the frustration he
felt as service advisers couldn't accurately tell
customers when they could expect to pick up
their vehicles.
"Every customer asks the same thing: How
long will it take?" Ming told Fixed Ops Journal.
The company Ming founded, KABI, of Bakersfield, Calif., offers software products
called WorksTiming and ShopLoader. They
are designed to organize and schedule service
work, enabling service departments to set
promise times more precisely.
WorksTiming, which costs a dealership $600
a month, is designed to focus exclusively on
routine maintenance such as oil changes and
other quick service.
That work generally doesn't require technicians to diagnose such symptoms as a "check
engine" light or an electrical problem. As a result, Ming says, the length of the job is usually
predictable.
The WorksTiming software offers a digital display that shows where the vehicle is in line. It also identifies the technician assigned to a job.
A countdown clock predicts how soon the
vehicle will be ready. At their expense, dealerships can install a screen in the service lounge
that displays the information.
Service customers who download a free app
can get the display on their cellphones, along
with text-message updates.

Speeding things up
Todd Citron is general manager of Hub City
Ford in Lafayette, La., which includes a Ford
Quick Lane service facility. He says the
WorksTiming system uses an average based on
each technician's actual time spent on recent
jobs to calculate how long it should take that
tech to perform a task.
Citron says the software makes it easy to
keep track of service work and monitor technicians' performance.
"Customers all like to know what's going
on," he says. "We like WorksTiming - it's a
pretty good system."

PAGE 38

DECEMBER 2017

Software solutions

Software can help service departments
solve common problems, says former
fixed operations manager Garrett Ming,
whose company sells software to
dealerships. Some examples
Problem: Customers seeking routine
maintenance want to know when their
vehicle will be ready - especially if
they're waiting in the service lounge.
Solution: Provide a big-screen display
in the lounge, or a display on smartphones, that shows customers where
their vehicle is in line and how long the
work will take.
Problem: For more complicated work,
there can be a long delay from when a
repair order is written to when the job
is assigned to an available, qualified
technician.
Solution: Automatically assign repair
orders to qualified techs as soon as
they are created, using a system that
remembers work schedules and tech
certifications.
Source: KABI

By contrast, Ming says his ShopLoader software is designed to speed the completion of
more complicated repair jobs that require diagnosis by an advanced technician.
The product costs $800 a month. Unlike
WorksTiming, ShopLoader does not provide
an automated display. It requires the service
department to contact the customer.
At most dealerships, Ming says, a service adviser writes a repair order that goes into a pile
- either a stack of paper or an electronic file
- to be assigned to a technician.

Advisers don't know which technicians, with
which skills, are available, Ming notes, and
techs don't know what work is coming until it
lands in their bays. Each step wastes time and
makes it virtually impossible to predict when
work will get done, he says.
"In traditional systems, there's no way for a
service writer to give a customer an honest
answer beyond: 'I'll do my best to get it looked
at, hopefully today, and I'll let you know as
soon as possible,' " Ming says. "That word
track is followed thousands and thousands of
times, every minute of every working day."

What's the problem?
ShopLoader uses a service customer's "description of the problem" to assign a job automatically to the next available, qualified technician, Ming says. It also allows customers to
ask for a specific tech or service adviser.
For customers with appointments, repair
work can be assigned to technicians ahead of
time. For walk-in customers, a job is assigned
as soon as the repair order is written. Dealership employees must keep the system up to
date about each technician's schedule and
qualifications.
Tom Moser is service manager at Jim Burke
Ford-Lincoln in Bakersfield, which previously
employed Ming as its vice president of fixed
operations. Moser says ShopLoader lets technicians plan for jobs and assigns work to qualified techs faster.
"When somebody comes in for service today, chances are, it's going to get done that
day," he says.
The system also has cut down on "open," or
uncompleted, repair orders in his service department, Moser says.
"In the past, each adviser might have 90
open ROs - in the summer, or other peak
times, more than 100," he says. "Now, we average 25 open ROs, and 75 percent of those are
less than five days old."
Moser says his dealership does as much as
$600,000 a month in labor sales. He's heard of
dealerships one-third its size that have 10
times as many open repair orders.
Dealerships falling that far behind are "not
managing their workflow at all," Moser says.
"The customer making the most noise, that's
who gets taken care of next." 



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Big verdict
Ho-ho-ho
Battery charge
Price is right
Tomorrow’s techs
Selling accessories
SEMA dreams
To the rescue
Profit Builder
Richard Truett
On the line
Letters
Real time
Feedback
After hours
Efficiency expert
Longer lasting
Shop Talk
Five Minutes With
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Big verdict
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Ho-ho-ho
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Battery charge
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Price is right
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Tomorrow’s techs
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Selling accessories
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - SEMA dreams
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 31
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - To the rescue
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Profit Builder
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - On the line
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Real time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - After hours
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Efficiency expert
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Longer lasting
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover4
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