Technology has become an integral part of most businesses, big or small, as they play an important role in managing business operations, stakeholders and transactions on a regular basis. Technology has also impacted the automotive industry in a big way and how can an automobile workshop/garage be left behind. The significance of the usage of technology and software in garages has become much more important as they have been rightly identified as the nucleus of the automotive aftermarket ecosystem, because, this is the place where most of the stakeholders of this industry converge. Stakeholders ranging from vehicle owners to spare part vendors to insurance agents to pre-owned car dealers etc, do visit these garages on a daily basis for some or other business transactions.
The usage of software in the garages has become more important than ever before, because of the challenges being addressed or the value additions they bring in, in today’s fast paced, tech-savvy world. A garage owner can reap multiple benefits from using software in garages, and some of them are mentioned below:
The software will help manage the customer most effectively by recording its data and transactions in a structured way. This will also allow garages to understand the customer and their needs in a better way and then provide a personal touch in all their dealings.
Effective Data Management
Physical data management through files and papers are things of the past. Softwares help you store and organise data efficiently for easy search and retrievals. Cloud software helps the user access the data from any internet-enabled device. The data is the new oil in business and will help the garage owner provide relevant insights into its business to make future strategies and informed decisions.
Effective Time Management
As the business processes are getting streamlined and the efforts are being tracked through software, the garage owners are saving a lot of time brainstorming future strategies. Many time-consuming processes like generating various types of reports, accounts, and book-keeping are just available at the click of a button, saving a lot more time for the garages.
Effective Resource Management
Managing employees and inventory and ensuring their optimal utilisation is the key to any business success. The garage management system will keep track of the low productive days of the garage and can compel the owner to think of some marketing strategies for such days. Similarly, the garage management system will keep track of fast-moving spares/lubricants and can compel the owner to keep sufficient stock of them.
Effective Stakeholder Management
Managing clients (retail or fleet ) and establishing communication with them if their services are due or sending a promotional campaign, or communication with various vendors, be it spares, insurance, tools, etc, during sale or purchase, the garage management system will definitely help garages nurture these relationships and take it to a next level which can lead to cross-sells and up-sells.
Most of the garage management software is available over the internet as SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings and this also helps garages to remain updated with the current business trends, practices, and technology upgrades.
Apart from software applications, we have IoT devices like OBDs that help garages diagnose the problem accurately and provide appropriate solutions. OBD scanners are available in the market that read the Digital Trouble Codes (DTC) from OBD and helps the mechanics reduce the guesswork and know the problem in a better way.
These devices have been very helpful for collecting the vehicle health and driving parameters, which subsequently are analysed to provide predictive and prescriptive maintenance advice for the better upkeep of the vehicle. This advice is based on AI algorithms that are fine tuned over time to reduce the margin of error.
The automotive industry right now is deeply impacted by key technology trends like AI in form of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to create effective voice-based applications. Multi-lingual voice-based digital assistants will be the key feature in every garage to help technicians get information about the vehicle, its history, and a host of solutions or advice for the problem reported in the vehicle.
Augmented reality and virtual reality-based solutions are also picking up within the automotive service industry where its deployed to train technicians in the garage/workshops where skilled manpower is scarce.
With the usage of a good garage management system, the garage/business owner will gain good insights into the business and the challenges being faced in the garage. The insights are derived from data analysis and hence it forms a key component of a good garage management software. Mentioned are a few insights that can be valuable for a business owner:
● Revenues earned from different types of services.
● Revenues earned by vehicle brand and model.
● Fastest moving spare parts.
● Amount of business done on days of the week (To plan promotions, if the business done is less on a particular day of the week).
● Vehicle wise turn around time.
● Technician wise turn around time, etc.
These days we have advanced garage management systems that not only help the garage owner organise and manage the business but at the same time help in some cross-sells and up-sells, leading to an increase in revenues. These systems are integrated with insurance companies which helps in getting competitive quotations from different insurance vendors and thus helps garage owners to sell or renew insurance policies to/of the customers. Similarly, the garage management systems are also integrated with various spare vendors from where, not only they can buy spares but can sell salvage spares, parts, and lubricants (for recycling), which adds to their revenues.
To conclude, the benefits of using technology in garages is endless, but a good garage
management software should help garage, regardless of their size, to make smarter business decisions, gain business effectiveness, to reduce operating costs, and to increase business revenues.