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Why techs need shop management systems training

Aug. 19, 2022
Mitchell 1 emphasized how training techs to view shops holistically streamlines their repair processes, improves shop communication, engages them with customers, and further incentivizes them to track their performance.

Understanding the broad strokes of a shop’s processes and priorities aren’t just for foremen and fleet managers. While at the 2022 ASE Instructor Training Conference, Ben Johnson, director of product management for Mitchell 1, demonstrated how shop management systems can outline the basics of running a shop to medium and heavy-duty truck technicians to maximize productivity, reduce downtime, and help ensure customer satisfaction.

Johnson explained that instructors should take the opportunity to teach students about the business aspect of shop management – in addition to standard technical training – because it will increase a shop’s synergy and a tech’s clarity with customers.

 “The tech will get a greater understanding of the whole process of receiving a vehicle for repair, diagnosing the problem, fixing it, and delivering the vehicle back to a satisfied customer on time,” Johnson said, “and the shop benefits from return customers and technicians that are fully engaged with their business.”

He added that shop management tools can help technicians “tell the story” of a vehicle’s visit to a shop, including documenting the actual repair, the steps taken to diagnose the root cause, work that was performed, and whether or not the repair resolved the customer issue.  The software also helps technicians accurately measure and improve their own efficiencies – and at the same time, provides the shop with a full history for every customer and vehicle.

Johnson also encouraged instructors to “treat their training centers like a shop,” and illustrated each step of the process using Mitchell 1’s Manager SE software.  Some suggestions in Johnson’s presentation include:

  • Introduce modules within the training program on building a business plan.  Trainees can “work the plan” as part of the curriculum and evaluate success – performing the front-shop duties as well as the back-shop technical work – working each job as a shop would.
  • Use the shop management system to measure the trainees’ productivity as they advance through each step of the repair. Teach students how to use time management tools to measure their productivity against what they are “paid” for (flat-rate).
  • Have trainees design and implement a consistent vehicle inspection, helping to identify and document the overall health of the vehicle.

Doing so will better prepare technicians to enter the workforce efficiently, quickly transforming them into an asset on the shop floor.

About the Author

Fleet Maintenance staff

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