Pre-Order Parts to Speed Up Auto Repair Shop Workflows
On an average day, a service advisor obsessively tracks open ROs to keep auto repair shop workflows moving smoothly. They get stressed out over the job status and parts supply for every work in progress.
As a result, staff take time-eating trips back and forth to the shop to make sure techs:
- spend time on the highest-priority jobs
- have the parts they need to do the job
- communicate with the other shop employees about what they need
These factors could slow down the repair process and miss the deadline to have a car ready for the customer. Yet, having the right features in your shop management software can take that mental strain out of your day.
If you have smooth workflows and could pre-order parts before the car arrives, you’re more likely to deliver on time. And only Shop-Ware can deliver on both promises in real time.
But first, let’s look at how this problem begins.
What causes logjams in auto repair shop workflows?
In March 2021, our partners at AutoText.Me asked their clients to identify the most challenging phases of their team’s real-time workflows.
They discovered five key auto repair workflow phases where process breakdown, setbacks and delays occur. They also recorded how often each one disrupts the process:
- 30% – setting up repair orders while checking in vehicles
- 25% – ordering parts and managing bay workflows
- 22.5% – updating repair orders between staff and clients
- 17.5% – tracking approvals and sales
- 5% – getting clients’ vehicles ready for pickup
Overall, shops focus so much on making the sale that they don’t put as much energy into the next steps. Yet, shops can easily automate each phase to engage clients better during the entire customer experience.
Even though it ranks second, their survey reports that most communication breakdowns occur when it comes to ordering parts. As a result, AutoText.Me’s advisory shops asked for a deeper integration with parts vendors and shop management systems.
How to improve parts ordering auto repair shop workflows
Shop-Ware continually responds to auto shop managers’ needs by developing several features and processes within the best shop management software.
First, we created dispatch technology to lighten a service advisor’s mental load by doing the work FOR the entire staff. The exclusive Expeditor works behind the scenes so you can drag and drop ROs to transfer them within the Workflow Tab. (Watch for the parts messages shown in red.)
It clarifies if a tech has the RO, understands its priority or has started work. None of this is possible in other shop management systems. You can digitally pass the repair order back and forth, between any two staff members:
- from your advisors to your techs
- your techs back to your advisors
- or any other staff members, such as managers or the parts department
We call this “the Expeditor” because it saves your staff time and allows your shop to get to work faster. As a result, it makes you more accurate, increases speed of service and creates more visibility for staff and customers.
Second, with parts allocation, you no longer have to keep track of parts in your head. The allocation engine tells you if you have the parts or not when you are building an estimate. You can quickly see if they are on order, short or needed.
That spares you from worrying or wondering:
- if the job can proceed
- if you still need to order parts
- if it’s ready to get back to the technician.
Shop-Ware does this automatically for you. That way, your staff can trust it with total confidence and take fewer steps when managing inventory.
We call this the “Allocation Engine” but you can think of it as a traffic cop in your parts department. It earned that name for its computerized red and green lights inside your workflow page.
Speed up auto repair shop workflows by pre-ordering parts
Also, Shop-Ware is the only automotive shop software that allows shops to pre-order parts before a customer even shows up. With supply chain delays, this allows your shop to keep humming along. Meanwhile, other shops have cars – and techs – sitting and waiting for parts.
For example, Jon White of Phil’s Pro Auto Service sees the ‘short’ label when ordering parts within an RO.
“It helps me keep up on things we stock,” he says. “The biggest key to this is using the same part numbers as your supplier.”
He also recommends:
- making sure you have your minimums and maximums set properly
- doing for the rest of your inventory once or twice a year.
Before switching to Shop-Ware, Autowerkes Maine wasted time pre-writing orders and pre-ordering parts. Meanwhile, its staff printed lists of stock items and manually keyed each item into WORLDPAC speedDIAL.
Owner Voit Ritch and service manager, Mike Bergeron, noticed an immediate uptick in shop efficiency and gross profits after converting. The shop now saves more than 25 hours per week and up to a 5 percent increase in parts GP.
With Shop-Ware’s auto shop software, the shop brings in thousands of dollars more per month on parts alone. Further, with fewer waits for parts, Autowerkes’ customers feel better served and return for more services and repairs.
“With canned jobs and past services, I’m writing up $4,000 tickets in minutes when it used to take me more than an hour,” Mike says.
The final steps to parts profits
Finally, Shop-Ware’s Native Parts Catalog allows users to view and order auto repair parts for fitment, pricing, and availability. This occurs across multiple aftermarket parts distributors, all from within the Shop-Ware platform. In short, you can order parts for the next day whether you use PartsTech, WorldPAC speedDIAL or another vendor.
Even better, with Shop-Ware, shop managers can decide how to make this system their own. Just like any other part of our auto repair software, you can easily customize it to suit your needs.
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