An easy-to-use solution for service intervals
Liz Hochstedler, Managing Editor
April 24, 2013
Filed under Features
Service Manager Pro keeps schedules, profits growing
With thousands of different powersports vehicles of the road, remembering each model’s service intervals and the recommended work for each can be hard to manage. A 2010 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, for example, needs its front forks and rear suspension inspected every 8,000 miles, along with other service; a 2009 Yamaha FZ6 needs its valves adjusted at 26,600 miles; a 2012 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic needs its primary chain case repaired and replaced every 10,000 miles, and every other model that a dealer has sold will have other requirements.
So how does a service writer keep all of this straight? Most have to take the time to sift through a manufacturer’s service schedule every time a customer comes into the department, but others are now enjoying a simpler solution, with Service Manager Pro’s service schedules.
Customized service schedules
The system, which works in conjunction with SMP’s labor guide, allows a service writer to create a customized service schedule for each customer’s vehicle. Then when a customer comes in for work, the writer can check to see which service intervals have been completed and which haven’t.
“The service writer within two or four or five clicks of the mouse can say, ‘OK, Mr. Customer, here’s what the factory says you should do to the bike; these are the service intervals,’” explained SMP founder C.R. Gittere.
The intervals are derived from each vehicle’s service manual, so, for example, the intervals for a 2009 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 will be unique to that model and different from a 2012 Kawasaki Concours 14.
Once a service writer gets into the system, finds the right unit and the current service interval(s) needed, the writer can view a list of the recommended services and print a list of those approved by the customer. The printed customer-approved list then goes to a tech, who can check off all the work done and make notes on further repairs needed. Gittere took time to make sure the lists are conducive to the way in which techs work.
“Everything is grouped. What I mean by grouped is we group it by category, whether it’s engine, chassis, frame and body, whatever, so the technician isn’t scanning up an down or running around the motorcycle,” Gittere said. “It’s specifically built and specifically ordered to make the technician more efficient when they’re actually performing the service work.”
Once the work is complete, the tech signs the form and returns it to the writer, who can provide a copy to the customer.
“When the customer comes back in to your shop and picks up his bike, you can show him that checklist and say, ‘Yeah, we know you just spent $500, but this is what we did to your bike for $500.’ And now we’ve got a very visual way for a service writer to actually sell service work,” Gittere said.
Up-sells not forgotten
Gittere’s goal when creating the service schedules was to allow any service writer to easily find the intervals on any vehicle and assure the writer doesn’t miss any work that’s associated with that interval.
“I developed it because I felt like there was a need in our industry to realize the profit that could be gained in the service department and increase service absorption rates for our industry,” he said.
Though the service schedule creates a clear list of what should be done during each interval, it doesn’t restrict the writer to only selling the work on the list. In fact many intervals call for items to be inspected, but up-sells could come when that item is worn and needs replacing.
“There are certain times where we think that you maybe need to add service to it, depending on the condition of the vehicle, but that’s a service writer’s job to sell that,” Gittere said.
Showing a new buyer the intervals during their initial purchase may also increase their likeliness to purchase a prepaid maintenance plan.
Labor Times also available
Also in SMP’s system is a labor guide, which allows users to accurately determine how long specific services or repairs will take.
“You can give your customer a quote while they’re standing in front of you, and you can be assured your technician should be able to beat that labor time that you’ve quoted to the customer and also treat the customer right in terms of consistency. Whether you have one service writer or five service writers, they can quote the same labor time over and over and over again and the same job over and over and over again,” Gittere explained.
Some of the information for the labor times comes directly from the OEMs, while other data is gathered from dealers. SMP also offers guidance on how to multiply those given times per region to calculate more accurate estimates. The program also gives prices for those labor times on three tiers.
SMP has more than 500 dealers using its program, and the feedback on the service schedules, which were launched in December, has been positive. The complete system costs $199.95 per year or $24.95 per month, with a 30-day free trial available.