The Experience of Going Paperless

Many benefits come with implementing The Digital Shop®. When Matt Purselle, owner of Revolution in Decatur, GA, started, his first goal was to replace the whiteboard used for tech dispatching and eliminate the running back and forth of service advisor and techs. Two years later Matt is enjoying consistent shop operation, an overall boost in morale, transparency in inspections and educational information for motorists, and unparalleled customer satisfaction.

The whiteboard managed the shop. It was used to indicate where each vehicle was in the workflow, and what tech is working on what vehicle.  The system worked well, but it wasn’t perfect. Matt discovered the possibility to replace the trusted whiteboard his staff had been using for years with a new electronic system that would carry him into the future. The opportunity to make this process digital made him excited and curious. Could it really be that there is a system, which would eliminate the need to walk up to the board and update the status manually?  In his current process, service advisors and techs were walking a lot making trips from their stations to the white board. So Matt inquired further and found that not only would the whiteboard information be updated digitally, this technology added the ability to chat (digitally) between the techs and service advisors!  It seemed there was really the ability to eliminate the constant back and forth hollering and walking between the back shop and front office.  So his curiosity and hope for a better way got the better of him and he gave the company AutoVitals a chance and purchased SmartFlow, a digital inspection workflow management tool. SmartFlow is based on each technician having their own tablet and the service advisor using a second screen as the replacement for the whiteboard.
Matt was on a roll, and while thinking about what he could do to help his two service advisors even more, he added three additional monitors per advisor and replaced the whiteboard with a 55 inch TV with touch overlay so that everybody in the shop and even motorists could see at any time the current status of every vehicle in the shop and upcoming appointments.


In addition, technicians have everything they need on the tablet (see image):

  • Clock-in, lunch, and clock-out
    • Based on the shop owners configuration other non-billable time can be captured, such as helping other techs, training, going to the tool truck etc.
    • The pace indicates how well every tech is on track to reach the goal in billable hours at the end of the pay period (‘Goal’ in the image on the right’)
  • The active work orders, including service history and TSBs and Recalls.
  • Additional info such key tag, what service advisor is responsible, the promised time and last but not least the priority of all vehicles (the most left is the most important one)
  • The inspection sheets to be performed.
    • Based on the jobs on the RO different inspection sheets can be assigned to the technicians automatically.
  • Additional information from AllData, Mitchell1, Identifix and other OEM specific web based info can be looked up right there on the tablet.


Equipped with this new set of tools the following benefits are achievable:

  • The service advisor is less interrupted and can use the time gains to educate motorists. Combined with the educational pictures and videos on the inspection results, an ARO increase of more than 15% is inevitable.
  • The consistency in the collaboration between service advisors and technicians relying on each other’s’ information is priceless. Pencil whipping and over-recommending goes down, since techs have more confidence in the service advisors to educate the motorist and vice versa.
  • Motorists appreciate the opportunity to educate themselves right when the inspection results have been emailed or texted to them. If the service advisor marks up the images, the degree of education and approval even goes up (images below). Often motorists call back to the service advisor before being called and sometimes they even text the approval right back. 


Matt’s curiosity has paid off, his leap to digital has him moving forward at a pace that was impossible with his old process. He now has visibility into shop activities like never before. Utilizing the SmartFlow reports, Matt is able to easily run payroll, calculate the tech efficiency, and more importantly see where the shops processes need to be improved. This way he can target a problem and address staff to adjust behavior where needed. See below a typical trend graph of 3 key performance indicators, which clearly indicate how technicians and service advisors work together.

Technicians on average have made 8-9 recommendations about actions to be added to the estimate.

In contrast, service advisors are still making an effort to email/text every inspection report to the customers. With app. 50% of all possible inspection results not emailed, the opportunity to pre-educate the customer is missed and so is a higher vehicle health’s score of the customer’s vehicle.


Are you interested in going digital and running your shop with a consistent process? Learn more about what this means for your shop and how to begin the transition everything from shop processes to  training your staff can be found online. Join the AutoVitals Partner Forum on Facebook and have Matt Purselle and 1,500 members of the group help you in your move to digital, or call (866) 949-2848 for a demonstration of The Digital Shop®.

Note that this blog post will be published in the next February/March AutoFocus magazine.