The new year is a time for reflection—what went right last year, what we want to change for this year, and just generally figuring out how to have a successful and satisfying year. For businesses, annual budgets are usually planned, discussed and finalized before the new year arrives. A key part of this planning process is evaluating your current tools and technologies, including your diagnostic and shop management resources, and determining what best fits your shop’s needs. If you haven’t started yet, now is a good time.
There are a variety of shop tools available from well-known brands, which offer similar features and functionality at different price points. The first question in your evaluation should be: what is most important to help your techs do their jobs efficiently? Is it an intuitive search for repair information that quickly returns relevant results? Is it the ability to quickly zoom in on a mechanical drawing or electrical schematic? Or add notes and bookmark repairs? Maybe it’s being able to tap into a network of technicians for real-world experiences and results?
Next, ask what would help your shop run most efficiently and make your job easier. Is it integrated invoicing and billing? Simple online parts ordering? The ability to access your shop management system from home at midnight to finish something? Or being able to quickly train techs and make them productive members of the team?
Now, think about the tools your shop is using. Are you satisfied with their performance and ease of use? Do you use multiple diagnostic resources because you don’t have an all-in-one solution? Do your techs rave or complain about any features? What would you like to see added or changed to make one solution your ideal repair, collision or shop management tool?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a solid idea of your business needs and can begin researching solutions. Evaluate leading providers and their offerings against your shop’s needs. Check pricing, including any bundle deals. Review some user forums, like The Garage Journal, to see what other techs and shop owners say. And contact the companies to see if they offer free trials-most do. You’ll be able to learn more and figure out the best fit by actually trying the products. That will put you in a great position to decide what will work best for your shop.
ALLDATA is constantly adding information and new tools to make your job easier. It started with the industry-leading ALLDATA Repair® and ALLDATA Collision® and has expanded to include ALLDATA® Community℠, ALLDATA® Tech-Assist℠, ALLDATA® Mobile℠ and ALLDATA Manage® Online—becoming a one-stop information resource for running a shop. One tech can access OEM repair information in ALLDATA Repair and search for tech-verified repairs listed in ALLDATA Community, while another calls ALLDATA Tech-Assist for help with a tough problem as he is using the ALLDATA Mobile-enabled tablet under the car. And you can be relaxing on your boat while you finalize invoices and order parts from ALLDATA Manage Online. Call ALLDATA today to start your free trial – and enjoy 2015 even more.