White Paper: ShopLite™ for Independent Repair Shops
With automotive sales on the rise in the US and world, automotive service and repair is more important than ever. But servicing automobiles is becoming increasingly complex as more sensors and smart systems are added to vehicles with each passing year. The auto repair industry, which has generally lagged behind other sectors in its adoption of technology, is now facing challenges with its deeply fragmented information systems, lack of communication links with cloud systems, and inability to tap into the power of smart devices for faster checks, diagnosis, repairs, and customer service. And with the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles and cloud-connected cars coming just around the corner, auto repair shops need solutions that will provide seamless communication with the various systems that monitor, track and service cars now and in the future. Simply put: repair shops need a comprehensive mobile solution to keep pace with innovations in the automobile industry.
This paper discusses these business challenges, and how independent auto repair shop owners can leverage their smartphones to efficiently service any vehicle anywhere. It will also show owners how to tap into the fast-emerging mobile commerce industry to grow their business.
Although access to the latest technology is a key success factor for auto repair shops, many independent repair shops lack solutions to effectively manage customer service events–estimates, inspections, diagnostics and repairs, invoicing, parts ordering and fulfillment, warranty claims, product recalls, and more–that impact every area of their business. Many shops continue to work with inefficient hand-written records or point solutions, and spend substantial amounts of time creating, organizing, and filing paperwork, matching spends, and reconciling multiple systems of record for profit calculations. Such shops also find it exceedingly difficult to identify growth opportunities because of difficulties in cataloging and analyzing massive amounts of paper records.
Mobile, cloud-based record keeping and customer engagement solutions save time and give independent auto repair shop owners the data necessary to identify opportunities and accelerate business growth. They also give shop owners the ability to instantly communicate with customers and send them invoices, estimates, and status updates via smartphone. In a world increasingly reliant on smartphones and mobile technology, mobile customer engagement platforms let savvy business owners quickly and conveniently engage with current and future customers.
Another area ripe for technological innovation is accurate estimate creation. Estimates are currently created by consulting predefined estimates of typical jobs, or juggling various systems to account for multiple variables including labor, parts price and availability from local distributors, in-house supplies, outside services, and the cost of specialized or proprietary equipment necessary to complete the job. All of this takes up considerable time and requires a lot of guesswork for even experienced shop owners. Accurate estimates are absolutely critical, as unanticipated costs eat into a shop’s profit margin or are otherwise passed onto customers who feel cheated when their bill is higher than what was quoted. And the problem of inaccurate estimates will only grow as cars become increasingly complex and repair jobs harder to predict. Independent auto shops desperately need a technological solution that can automate estimate creation.
Vehicles must be inspected and diagnosed properly before service can be performed. But this process is fraught with problems. Not only do newer cars increasingly require costly specialized and proprietary tools to complete repairs, it is often difficult for independent repair shops to locate the manufacturer-specific instructions and tools necessary to diagnose car troubles. Independent auto repair shops need a centralized, manufacturer-agnostic clearinghouse for repair and diagnostic information.
Accurate Parts Orders from Local Distributors
Parts procurement is another segment of the industry rife with inefficiencies. Mechanical repairs, that is repairs due to the deterioration of parts from normal wear, account for 50% of revenue generated by automotive repair shops. But these services are costly for independent shops, which need to maintain a parts inventory to complete repairs. In fact, 45% of industry costs relate to the purchase of parts and service equipment. And much like the auto repair industry itself, the industry for OEM and aftermarket parts is highly fragmented. Seemingly every manufacturer and parts distributor has its own proprietary system or portal through which to order parts. Given that repair jobs can contain any number of parts from different OEM and aftermarket manufacturers, the lack of an open system to access local distributor systems for parts and availability makes it difficult to keep track of what parts need to be ordered for what job and when.
But sourcing works only if the technician identifies the correct part to order in the first place. Different car manufacturers and even model years require vastly different parts, and a single incorrectly ordered part can delay a repair job for days or weeks, and increase parts cost threefold. These costs hurt the shop’s bottom line and increase customer dissatisfaction. And ordering the correct parts will only get harder as cars become more technologically advanced and require ever more specialized parts. Auto shops need a centralized, manufacturer-agnostic solution that will ensure they order the correct high-quality and economical OEM and aftermarket parts.
Service More Cars
Data analytics is another glaring opportunity for independent auto repair shops. Most repair shop owners do not have a deep understanding of their shop’s performance or where growth opportunities lie. In-depth analysis of business performance is difficult when all records are maintained on paper or in multiple systems and databases. Many owners simply do not have the information necessary to determine the overall accuracy of estimates, profit margins of particular repairs, or even if individual jobs were profitable. Without good metrics, it is difficult for business owners to analyze missed sales opportunities or stay abreast with vehicle demographics and trends. The lack of detailed analytics also prevents business owners from creating and taking advantage of the smart, data-driven marketing campaigns and opportunities that accelerate business growth. Consolidating business records and customer communication into a single, comprehensive cloud-based platform will give business owners the visibility necessary to truly know their business inside-and-out.
ShopLite Can Take Your Auto Repair Business to the Next Level
SHIFTMobility ShopLite is an all-in-one smartphone application that helps independent auto repair shops across the nation manage their business activities, engage customers, market and sell their services, and run their business more efficiently.
ShopLite gives shop owners the ability to create estimates in seconds using license plate or VIN information and a comprehensive selection of both OEM and aftermarket parts, diagnose car troubles quickly leveraging smart tools, assign work orders, order parts from local distributors, and print invoices electronically with any smartphone. Customer information and records can be accessed conveniently from anywhere and at anytime. ShopLite also gives owners access to a host of communication and analytical tools to measure, understand, and visualize customer needs and preferences. With data analytics, owners can quickly spot inefficiencies in their operation. ShopLite also helps tailor marketing initiatives to attract new and repeat clients, improve customer service, and ultimately grow your business.
ShopLite also streamlines car diagnostics and automates the creation of inspection and maintenance estimates for all vehicles. ShopLite provides technicians with detailed car inspection sheets to identify and troubleshoot car problems. Technicians also have the option to search for symptoms in ShopLite’s extensive library of car repair and diagnostic manuals in order to narrow down possible causes for specific car troubles. Once a problem is identified, ShopLite will identify the repairs necessary to fix the issue. Technicians can then create an estimate in real time that factors in the labor and parts costs of the job. ShopLite allows technicians to print estimates or even send them by email to a customer’s smartphone. ShopLite’s automated estimates take the guesswork out of estimate creation, which streamlines operations and improves customer satisfaction by ensuring that clients are charged what they expect.
ShopLite takes the pain out of parts procurement. Once you identify the parts necessary to complete a job, the app’s license and VIN search feature ensures that you order the right part for the right car every time. No longer do you have to go back to your computer to search for the number of the specific part used on that year’s model. ShopLite instantly takes all the guesswork out of selecting and ordering parts. And with SHIFTMobility’s extensive parts procurement network, you can quickly buy locally-sourced, high-quality OEM and aftermarket parts from all leading manufacturers. Gone are the days of juggling each manufacturer’s proprietary ordering system. Save time by finding all your clients’ parts in one place.
And once you have all the parts necessary to complete the job, ShopLite serves as a centralized clearinghouse for the repair instructions, diagrams and technical data necessary to repair vehicles from every major car manufacturer. In fact, SHIFTMobility’s OEM library contains information for over 30 different car manufacturers. With ShopLite, you no longer have to worry about whether or not you can find repair instructions for late model, technologically advanced cars and trucks. There is much more!
With ShopLite, you have all the information you need to successfully engage your customers anywhere, anytime.