Auto Service World
News   July 3, 2024   by Adam Malik

Shops need suppliers to do these to make life easier

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There are a handful of things suppliers can do to make the day-to-day operations of a shop easier, according to an industry observer.

As shops face many challenges, such as training, talent and technology, Barry Neal, senior partner with consulting firm Roland Berger listed five ways that both equipment and parts suppliers can do on their end to respond to the labour shortage.

For equipment suppliers, the key is to optimize inventory management systems and centralize knowledge, he told attendees of the Aftermarket Technology Conference, hosted by MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers.

The first is to create universal diagnostic equipment that works with the majority of vehicles that are out there today.

“But more importantly, the shift of scanning tools for really providing information,” he noted as a second point. “The diagnostic trouble codes [need] to a more prescriptive solution, providing information around parts, as well as parts ordering, as well as linkage directly to prepared instructions and videos linked backwards to supplier support and training.”

This leads to the third key point which is to reduce the need for an individual to carry so much knowledge by building a centralized infrastructure of know-how. By allowing scan tools that can work universally, they can lead technicians to a central location where a vault of information awaits to guide them through the issue in front of them.

Neal also urged suppliers to look at internal processes and inventory management to find ways to optimize stock levels and produce ways to minimize the need for excess labour by moving towards increased automation of materials handling.

Finally, he called for outsourcing of non-core functions, like logistics and IT support.

As for parts suppliers, Neal pushed for improving catalogue information. Make it easier to order parts.

“Integrate that into the shop management systems for ease of automation, as well as looking at backwards into the e-commerce platforms and setup to really make that simple frictionless solution for diagnostic all the way through to the parts and repair,” he said.

He also called on suppliers to encourage replacing parts instead of the more labour-intensive option of fixing them.

Finally, Neal wants to see shops reduce their manual ordering, He called for more investment in e-commerce platforms and digital ordering systems to streamline the process for purchasing parts by a shop.

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