SEATTLE — In the last year, the service department at Magic Toyota boosted its monthly volume of repair orders from about 2,000 to nearly 4,500 — without adding staff.
The number of replacement tires it sells each month has risen from 170 to as many as 700, and the number of alignments it performs has doubled, to as many as 140 a month.
Peter Chung, general manager of the dealership in the Seattle suburb of Edmonds, Wash., attributes these jumps to a redesigned shop and integration of separate data technologies sold by vendors.
“We mapped out our process during the redesign,” Chung tells Fixed Ops Journal. “We found we could save up to 18 minutes per [service] customer by changing how we did things. Our two overriding concerns were customer experience and throughput.”
The new shop, which opened in September, increased service capacity. Just as important, Chung says, a decision to merge the data yielded by two products — TreadSpec, sold by Tire Profiles, and fixed ops software developed by Dealer-FX — has enhanced efficiency and customer satisfaction.
TreadSpec checks tire and alignment diagnostics for vehicles as they enter the service drive, as well as automatically detects the VIN. A version of the Dealer-FX software specific to Toyota uses the VIN to produce a detailed history of a car or truck in for service.
The combination of data, Chung says, enables a service adviser to greet a customer by name, even if he or she has no previous relationship to Magic Toyota.
The adviser can offer a menu of specially tailored service work even before the customer gets out of the vehicle. That reduces check-in time by three to four minutes, Chung estimates.
The arrangement has been so successful that Dealer-FX, of suburban Toronto, and Tire Profiles, of suburban Dallas, now offer the integration to all of the roughly 130 dealership customers they have in common.
Late last year, Magic Toyota adopted Dealer-FX’s suite of integrated service lane tools, which typically cost between $1,500 and $3,000 a month. Using the VIN, the software gathers details from the dealership management system and automaker database.
Information about a vehicle’s service history, open recall campaigns and suggestions for regular maintenance, along with a multipoint inspection, can guide an adviser’s conversation with the customer.
At the same time, TreadSpec tire scanners at the entrance of the service drive analyze a vehicle’s tires and alignment. Four accompanying cameras capture the vehicle’s license plate, which produces additional data. Tire Profiles’ software contributes to the service report presented to the customer.
“As opposed to telling a customer what we think they need, we can show them what the vehicle is telling us it needs, through data, for an informed decision," Chung says.
While the vehicle is being repaired, large signs in the service department display its status.
The software enables the dealership to text or email repair photos and other information to customers, who can approve and pay for repairs digitally. That makes dealing with service customers easier and more transparent, Chung says.
Before the dealership installed its TreadSpec readers in September, he adds, the service department may not have inspected every vehicle for alignment issues because of the extra time required. Because the TreadSpec scanners and cameras are always on, Chung says, all vehicles now are analyzed.
About 750 dealerships use TreadSpec, Tire Profiles says. Its hardware costs about $22,000 per service lane installation, and after two years, the company charges $895 a year for system updates.