Recent Easter promotion in centre of Blenheim
Showing innovation is risky. Innovation doesn’t always get received well and can leave a business a bit high and dry if people don’t ‘get’ what you’re trying to do. We have been closely scrutinised for building service pits into our workshop. Pits are an outdated idea that have been replaced by the convenience of well priced service hoists in the industry. They are also expensive, we could have bought 10 hoists for the price of our pits. What we’ve learned though is how quick and easy they make servicing a car. Just drive over and no sooner is the engine switched off the oil can start draining. One technician works underground while the other does all the top service.
Prior to opening our business I travelled to Florida USA to the AOCA (Automotive Oil Change Association) conference. There I met a number of the management team for Super Lube. They have some 60 branches and I spent a day visiting four of them in the Orlando area. They were mostly multi million dollar builds with vast underground infrastructure. We certainly don’t have the budget for this or the populations to make it work so it meant that we had to innovate somewhat in building something that would work in a small town in a very small country. We are still learning and our systems are constantly evolving.
We carry a good level of filters in stock that covers more than 90% of the market. This innovation means a much more streamlined approach than most garages who book a service and then go and get the parts for it.
We have spent money on plant that makes things work much quicker and efficiently. We have our popular oils on tap and dispense them much like a post mix machine in a bar.
We have a youtube channel which; while not fully utilised yet does provide links to videos we make online.
We pride ourselves on our ever growing online presence and this community is getting bigger all the time. A recent innovation is our online booking system. It is proving popular with foreigners who may struggle with the language barrier making a phone booking. Besides it is all about the convenience.
Our current crisis is that we’ve now reached the capacity of our small yard and two workshop bays. We are expanding and installing a hoist in an extra bay. This is to allow us to take on more conventional work; a lot of which is currently subbed out to another garage.
It seems that the business is set to grow and grow and we need to keep learning to innovate and evolve our practice to not only meet the needs of our growing client base but to keep stock of our staffing and safety also. It is common now for me to notice customers attempt to drive in but pull away siting that we are too busy. We need some innovative ways to better manage our workload. It may be a night shift or perhaps a satellite operation nearby. The benefits of night shift are twofold. Firstly, it does not add significantly to our expenses as rental and rates etc remain the same. Secondly most people do not need their cars at night. Their cars sit at home unused when they could be getting service or repairs. This concept has not hit our strategic plan yet but is being considered as an option to manage workload.