2021 Techman: Tips for a fast start

GMS providers and Top Technician and Top Garage sponsors TechMan examine ways to begin 2021 with a blast

Published:  10 February, 2021

With so many businesses falling victim to the COVID-19 outbreak, workshops have had their fair share of challenges during 2020.
The common theme heard from garages is this; They now realise shortcomings in their business processes that they used to live with are now a priority needing to be urgently addressed. This may be the only way to work towards recouping the lost takings from 2020. Time is always at the top of the agenda for all concerned. This could be the time it takes to perform an admin task, or to book a new customer in the diary, or to look up parts prices, or to produce an invoice, or to tell a customer their car is ready to collect. Then there is the time a technician spends  on a job versus the time given to them on job card. In short, small time gains at any level can produce massive improvements to bottom line figures by end of the year. How do garages tackle the dilemma? Also, how far can a new GMS go to relieving some of these pains? These are TechMan’s five top tips for consideration:

1. Analyse processes
Every garage that comes to TechMan will be aware of areas they can improve on. Key places to begin include understanding where the majority of costs to the business come from, what steps in their process cause bottlenecks or where delays are coming from and what steps of the process take the most time to get done.

2. Develop a culture of adaptability
Common sayings like “we have always done it this way” or “I’m not sure if my guys are ready for this” can cripple change within a business. Lead from the top and use examples your team will understand, like streaming music online or using a smartphone. In 2021 workshops must embrace new ideas and working practices to stand any chance of competing in tomorrow’s world.

3. Choose technology that can drive growth
Workshop owners are the first to tell us about their new purchase whether that be a diagnostic machine, ADAS equipment or even hand-held or drive-over tread depth readers. Most come at considerable cost to the business. Meanwhile, these same businesses often still run a paper diary, paper jobs cards or use an outdated invoicing system to run their entire business. Choosing technology that can streamline nearly all of these processes and monitor performance can make significant changes to profit at the end of the year.

4. Work it into your budget
While paper diaries and an old copy of some software from 2003 can seem like an inexpensive option, are we really robbing Peter to pay Paul? Factoring in the cost of a business management tools like a GMS can seem like a luxury, but finding a small monthly budget to cover such costs can a sound investment 12 months down the line.

5. Review the process
The work does not stop after you have made decisions on how to improve your workshop admin or track efficiencies of technicians. Today’s fix can soon become tomorrow’s pain. Having a process in place to stay on top of change can be crucial. Partnering with forward-thinking businesses that can do some of this thinking for you can also provide a huge advantage.

With all this in mind, TechMan have been busy behind the scenes in 2020 looking at ways in which workshops can use technology to achieve some of these goals and give back some of this lost time. Web bookings direct to diary: TechMan customers have seen web bookings double during the COVID-19 pandemic. Users can apply a widget to their existing website/social media page that offers configurable time slots for any type of labour to be allocated direct to their diary in real-time. This negates the need to make a booking in the diary from an online inquiry, and consumers will even receive a notification to confirm their booking. Integrated parts catalogues: Our integrated catalogue from LKQ Euro Car Parts allows users to look up parts direct from within a job and view costs, RRP and stock availability at their local branch. Once added to a job card, an electronic order will be fired off to their local branch, removing the need to pick up the phone and place an order. Initial feedback from TechMan users have reported upwards of an hour per day saved in time spent on the phone speaking with suppliers.

Real time tracking of technician performance: With time being the only real commodity for workshops, who wouldn’t want to know how long their techs are spending on jobs? Once thought of as a main dealer attitude, more and more independents are now heavily focused on how long a job is taking to complete against the time they have allocated a technician to do it. With TechMan’s technician efficiency feature, techs log on and off jobs in real time, calculating how long they have spent on the job and alerting the front of house if the job over-runs. This feature produces unparalleled information on where time is lost or gained within a workshop allowing the businesses to make real time decisions and understand which jobs are profitable and which are not.

Paperless workshops with electronic job cards, service sheets and advisory reminders: Paper job cards have been compared to a data graveyard by industry experts. Over two thirds of TechMan users are opting to go paperless and are giving their technicians a tablet. This allows techs to take images and video and even record advisory follow up dates on pre-defined service or checks sheets. OE service schedules can also be filled out electronically, negating the need to print or download them from data providers. Techs can also view OE data from Haynes Pro next to the vehicle where they require it, rather than queuing up around an office or MOT station PC. Tech data: TechMan’s newest release has seen the ultimate source of vehicle technical data from Haynes Pro made available to all users in the TechMan platform, whether they are front-of-house, or technicians with tablets. There is no need to purchase multiple licenses either. This could single-handedly be the biggest time and cost saving feature introduced in 2020 for all TechMan users.

To understand how businesses have used a new GMS to see profits skyrocket or just take away the daily pain of running a garage, make an enquiry with TechMan. Taking a 20 minute tour of the software could really be the difference to a fast start to in 2021.

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