Once you decide to go paper-free or to upgrade to a smarter shop management system, bring your team aboard with the least amount of resistance.

Building A Roadmap to Adopt a Better Shop Management System

Change feels hard. Let’s just say it out loud and accept that hard truth. When you believe you could use the same auto repair shop management system guide blindfolded, it’s daunting to start anew.

However, the world around you keeps changing and you cannot leave your head in the sand and expect to still thrive in the marketplace. That means keeping up with the technology that customers expect from a professional auto repair shop.

Once you decide to go paper-free or to upgrade to a smarter shop management system, you’ll want to bring your team aboard with the least amount of resistance. However, how do you get them to believe in a future they have yet to see? To help, we turn to the experts at Harvard Business School for their advice on managing change within any type of business.

Communicate why you need a new shop management system

First, talk with your staff about what is happening in the auto repair industry and what other shops are doing to survive. By sharing strategic information and listening to staff members’ views, you create a culture that faces the elephant in the room.

Together, discuss where you can improve your workflow and what is eating up employees’ time. Address their frustrations and offer to find solutions that will make their days easier. As they recognize and understand that things can get better, they gain awareness that the status quo cannot continue. Taking this step opens the door to overcome the natural urge to resist new ways.

Create and share your plan

Next, map out your ultimate goal, the steps to get there, what key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll measure along the way, and who is responsible for each stage. As a result, you’ll get it all on paper or into a spreadsheet so it feels more manageable.

After that, identify what processes will change and who will be affected. Don’t forget to capture the roadblocks and wrinkles you expect to encounter. It’s best to prepare for them ahead of time too.

Follow your roadmap

Above all, involve key members of your team, no matter the size of your shop, so everyone is aware of what is coming and why. Now that you know what you want in a shop management system, shop around and report back on what you find. Talk to other shops to see what is making them more efficient and generating more profit. People like to talk about their successes so use your network accordingly.

Most importantly, talk with staff about what you’re learning and empower them to help you prioritize which shop management system best suits your shop(s). They may see solutions that have eluded you so far, so draw on their expertise. Reward those who share your enthusiasm and prepare to face negativity from those who like things the way they are.

Keep reminding employees WHY you need to adapt. Make it about the process and the big picture.

Man lying on a deck chair under the banner Manage Your Shops from Anywhere

Embed the new shop management system in your processes

Once you have a new shop management system in place, train your staff thoroughly to build their confidence. In other words, don’t allow them to slide back into old habits or you’ll really struggle to move them forward. Work with them closely to reinforce how much you believe in this new phase of the business. Your energy will become infectious during this key phase.

Working with a shop management system provider that offers seamless onboarding and continuous support will help you maintain the momentum. Keep that in mind when shopping around so you can succeed at this crucial juncture. Learn from what the trainers have seen work elsewhere and stick with the processes that work.

Check back on your numbers

Once you’ve gone through the full process, check back with your initial goals and see if any gaps remain. Be honest about where you came up short and why. Understanding your weaknesses helps you seek out help where you need it. You may need to tweak some processes or shuffle responsibilities to better match the new dynamics of the new shop management system.

Celebrate your achievement! While some gains will be obvious, don’t be shy about pointing out how you’re meeting your KPIs or when you or a colleague discover how a new feature really pays off in terms of dollars or time. Tools like the GP Optimizer make it easier to see where you are winning.

By now, you will have learned who your forward-looking champions are, so make sure they stay engaged in the business. You can learn from this adaptation as you prepare to fearlessly ride the next wave of change – thanks to the leadership you’ve shown so far.

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