One of the challenges in covering fixed operations during a pandemic-induced slowdown is that much of the focus is on how body shops and service and parts departments can weather the storm.
The past couple of issues of Fixed Ops Journal have focused on new approaches these departments can take to remain operational and profitable during the coronavirus crisis.
While these articles were informative and helpful, I think too often people forget that turbulent times can be a chance to innovate and make changes. Liza Borches, CEO of Carter Myers Automotive in Charlottesville, Va., brought this up to FOJ writer Ken Wysocky.
She wanted fixed ops leaders to not just dwell on the difficulties that come with a crisis but to see slower times as an opening to create new ways of thinking and doing.
"In service departments we were so busy all the time that we didn't have time to slow down and introduce new processes and technology that we knew would be better for the customer experience," she said. "There's no better time than right now to make those processes as smooth, efficient and seamless as possible."
For our August issue, Wysocky is collecting stories from those who used the slowdown to refine some processes and adjust some operations. If you did this, we'd love to hear about it. Drop me a line at the email address below.
Also during a crisis, there often is not much time to reflect on what you've learned or how you've grown. I asked a few fixed ops folks to tell me one thing they've learned about their operations, their team or themselves during this crisis.
Scott Gregg, service director at Tucson Subaru in Arizona, told me the crisis renewed his faith in his staff. He said he knew they were good, but the challenges the pandemic brought to the service drive made him appreciate them even more.
"The way everyone has pitched in and pulled together to overcome all the obstacles and the way things have changed day to day has really just blown me away," Gregg wrote. "I've always counted my blessings, but I count them double now for sure."
What's one thing you've learned? Share it with me at my email, [email protected]. I'll print some of the responses in our August issue of FOJ.