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Adjust SmartFlow to Your Workflow

Correct Workflow = Smooth Working

Please Note that the options described in this article are for the Advanced Workflow, which will be enabled as part of a workflow consultation with a trainer or workflow expert, offered for a small fee. If you are looking the Standard Workflow, please check here.

Workflow Overview

Workflow management is one of the most used features of SmartFlow. All vehicles are organized by the workflow step they are in and thus provide unprecedented visibility into the vehicle progress in the shop. No running back and forth between the back shop and the counter anymore when a customer calls and requires a status update.

workflow image

This help article describes how to add new workflow steps and configure all steps for smooth working. It affects what technicians see on the tablets, how jobs are identified as approved and many more crucial aspects of a smoothly working shop.

The image below shows the workflow setting page when clicking on “Configure Mapping of SMS Workflow” on the ‘Shop Management’ tab of the inspection settings.

configure the workflow

Let’s start with the workflow column on the far left.

Initially, it names 5 workflow steps, which are setup by default. The image above has added a few more using the “Add a new Workflow Step”.

By mapping existing statuses in your SMS, SmartFlow is able to read from your SMS certain steps already, i.e. the work order presence, whether there is an estimate or just an appointment. Note that this capability differs from SMS to SMS, but it is fair to say that no SMS has made workflow management a primary feature.

We recommend to not use additional statuses beyond estimate, work order, invoice, and closed-out. Just set up the mapping in the “Status in your SMS”, which correspondents with the workflow step in SmartFlow (e.g., “Inspect” in SmartFlow requires the existence of a work order in the picture above). For SMSs with more statuses than the typical document types (estimate, work order, invoice etc.) like YES or RO Writer we recommend to ignore those and solely focus on the workflow step in SmartFlow.

SmartFlow has two views the workflow view and the technician view (the workflow view doesn’t exist in SmartCheck). The next columns on the settings page configure the visibility in both views

configure the workflow

(2) controls whether the workflow step is even shown in the workflow view. This allows to test different workflows before settling on the best one for your shop.

(3) controls two settings

  1. Are vehicles in this workflow step visible on the technician view and
  2. Are billed hours of jobs for vehicles in this workflow step be included in the labor inventory dashboard at the top of the column, which are (2) and (3) in the image below (SmartFlow only) or not tech-numbers A typical scenario for omitting billed hours is the workflow steps “on hold” since it is typically unclear how long the vehicle stays in this step.

The tablet has two vehicle screens:

  1. The Active Vehicle Screen and
  2. The Idle Screen (tap the double car icon to get there)

Vehicles ready to be worked on, or in other words in workflow steps dedicated to work (typically “Inspect” and Work”), are shown on the Active Vehicle Screen. The Idle screen includes vehicles, which are submitted from the tablet, but need to be accessible to the tech to look up information.

The column marked (5) in the image below controls what workflow steps need to be visible to the tech on the Idle screen.

configure the workflow

The column marked (6) and (7) in the image below control the job authorization. In order to avoid that technicians work on jobs on the work order, which are not approved yet, the vehicle needs to be in any of the steps not marked in the Jobs approved columns (6) and (7). On the other end, the steps with checked checkboxes will add the jobs to the work order for the tech when the vehicle is moved to the workflow step (6) and/or when the jobs get added while the vehicle is in the given step (7).

Click on “Add a new Workflow Step” and the pop up image below appears.

add a workflow step

(1) name the workflow step and define the position of the workflow step (after or before an existing step). Then map the status in the SMS this workflow step corresponds to. If the name should be abbreviated for the technician on the tablet, use another name. Otherwise, leave blank to use the same name for Service Advisor on the Web and Technician on the tablet.

Current Process

In the paper-based process, statuses representing workflow steps are available in three different places

  1. The SMS status
  2. The paper rack, scribbling on a whiteboard, spreadsheets, magnets representing vehicles, etc.
  3. The brain of the service advisor

Especially the latter is the reason why many service advisors are extremely busy and skip advising customers about needed service.


Best Practice
  • Map the SMS document type (estimate, work order, invoice, closed out) to the SmartFlow workflow steps configured by default
  • Stop using any other status indicators in the SMS or otherwise
  • Add new workflow steps as you see the need (the less the better) and make sure to utilize special markers where they fit better.
    • e.g., if every car gets washed, implement a workflow step “Car Wash”, if only a minority of vehicles get washed, use special markers.
  • Make all workflow steps visible on both the technician view and workflow view
  • Configure the workflow steps so that jobs get automatically approved in inspect and work workflow steps.
Quantified Benefits

Using the SmartFlow workflow management process will enable

  • Complete visibility about vehicle status to all members of the staff and even to motorists sitting int he waiting room (if a big screen is used)
    • This eliminates vehicles falling through the process cracks and subsequently embarrassing moments with customers
  • The elimination of running back and forth between back shop and counter
    • At 4-7 trips per vehicle and app. 3 minutes per trip, this is at least 15 minutes per vehicle
    • At an idle minute of $3.50 – $4.20 this can create amounts of $2,000 per week of unbillable time and unused opportunity.
DST & Training

During the one-day Digital Supervisor Training, you will experience hands-on how to use the workflow management tool and how service advisors gain precious time to run the shop and educate customers.

Check out the location in your area, where you can sign up for the Digital Supervisor Training here

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