Always plan for the future, have an innovative mindset and embrace opportunities. Those are three tips an automotive repair shop leader applies at his company, and are essential for others.
“Technology is definitely driving new trends in the automotive space,” said Joe Hyde, director of automotive technology at Christian Brothers Automotive (CBA). “And that’s exciting, right? We all love those new challenges. And using this technology has enabled us and the industry to change the face of how we are currently doing business and how we’re going to do business in the future.”
But to keep ahead of technology and enhance your shop’s offering, shops need to ask what they’re doing today that’s going to benefit them and their customers in the next 18 months to two years from a technology point of view, he said during the Mobility Innovation Conference hosted by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association.
For CBA, they nurture strategic relationships with vendors, original equipment manufacturers and tier one suppliers. It’s all in an effort to ensure instructors and support specialists at the company have the training and resources related to new technologies and diagnostic methodologies.
“And you have to be willing to invest the time and the resources into vetting that technology,” Hyde added during the session Repair Shop Perspective: How Christian Brothers is Staying Current with Technology. “It’s not just taking someone’s word for it. It’s investing your time to really take that technology through its paces, see how it’s going to work in your workflow process and in your day-to-day business.”
Being a shop these days means having an innovative mindset.
“To kind of sum it up easily: An innovative mindset is the ability to be forward-thinking, creative, open to testing. You’ve got to be willing to make mistakes and try again. You want to be collaborative — you want to work with others — and you want to progress,” Hyde said.
“But most of all in having that innovative mindset, you have to understand that people who have that mindset, they don’t love the past. They know that the new is always coming. And they’re thinking about what that new looks like and how they’re going to address it.”
Along those same lines, shops need to embrace opportunity. Whether is the latest in advanced driver-assistance systems, electric vehicles and the like, these can seem scary — but they’re also creating a great deal of opportunity in the mechanical repair sector.
“The technology has many companies scrambling to adapt to changing diagnostic processes, targeting systems, the lack of standardization across OEM platforms,” Hyde said. “But with this in mind, I would like for you … to focus on is the positives and what we can control.”
Speaking specifically about ADAS, he pointed out that the technology has been around for many years and has evolved over time. The industry is just seeing more of that evolution.
“It is important to remember that ADAS technology — although we think it’s new and it might seem new — it’s not new technology. It’s an evolving technology,” Hyde said. “Think about it from the first cruise control system to automatic transmissions to ABS braking — these are all advanced driver assist systems. And these advanced systems are simply evolving to the next evolution of safety and convenience.”