A Mechanic’s Laptop Makes Manuals All but Obsolete
It does add to the mechanics’ overhead. Mike Brewster, owner of Gil’s Garage in Burnt Hills, N.Y., pays subscription fees for independent services like Alldata, Mitchell’s and Identifix; such services typically cost $150 a month. Mr. Brewster will buy 24-hour access to a manufacturer’s site only as needed.
“It’s just a part of the cost of doing business,” Mr. Brewster said. “But having current information available is such a pleasure.”
By SCOTT STURGIS
Published: January 28, 2007
It's interesting who will value and invest in sharing information in organizations. This second story is from me.
What You Can Learn During an Oil Change
I used to lease a car from a dealer that offered a great customer service edge. Two shifts. Mechanics were available from 8 AM to Midnight.
I eventually figured out that there was only one guy who took the time to learn the ever changing repair manual software. Both shifts were dependent upon him since so many of the repairs were now based on software downloads. If he had the flu, the basic extra value added customer service hours were really nullified.
For some reason, this reminded me that the auto repair and auto parts business is far better networked than our health care information and data exchange. It’s much easier to get a bumper for a 1957 Morris Minor than sending my chest x-ray from a pneumonia incident while I had been traveling to my primary care physician. Privacy issues are of course, a major consideration. But it's the ease of knowledge sharing that often gets inhibited for less than important reasons.
This is not news about medical information and greater minds than mine have written extensively on the subject. But the point hits home every time an elderly person works to arrange an important doctor appointment and upon arrival discovers that some piece of the puzzle is missing to make the visit with the doctor completely effective.
Now what does this have to do with work and survival?
- Ask your doctor's office manager how much time is spent on records exchange that is still manually handled because one office can't easily exchange with another
- Ask your Service Advisor when you get your car checked about parts inventory vs. the repair of the "technology option" in the car. Which one is really a problem?
The parts search is connected to a complicated Integrated Supply Chain and Customer Relationship Management process world but will probably be solved quickly. The new technology malfunction however, will most likely be dependent on the one or two people that have the knowledge to respond. Hopefully, they will not be on vacation.
But most of all think about how many times you have heard or said in your workplace:
- "That would be great, but it's not in our job description to change it”
- "They probably would like that but they would never think that should come from us"
Survival in terms of economy is like the way the ancient Greeks looked at the meaning of the economist or head of the household. To Sustain The Life of Something for As Long As Possible.
Your home, your job, your work, your health.
Innovation is not simply about an astounding idea. It is also about clearing away what confuses us. It's about what people are able to do together to bring clarity and vision to moving things along.
That one mechanic who helped the others and was willing to share -- he understood survival & the workplace.
Hope to hear from you,