Are You Prepared?
One question that many lube operators fail to address in their disaster preparedness plan is, “How do I run my shop if and when the POS computer system goes down?” I have been in a store during a power outage, and the crew immediately stops working. They all had a befuddled look on their faces as if to say, “What do we do now?”
If you don’t already have a plan in place to continue running your operation without the POS system, get one. The day will come when you will be glad you took the time and effort to create such a plan and trained your staff on how to use it.
The first thing I suggest you create would be a greet sheet that includes all the items of your checklist and the responses that you set up in your POS system for each check point item. It enables the crew to not only capture the customer’s name, address and vehicle information, but to also complete the service checklist and have a written record of the checklist responses. This allows the crew to easily enter the information into the POS system when it is once again operational.
Let me offer one word of warning: Have the greet sheet printed with, “This is not an invoice.” Unfortunately, I have seen some “enterprising” employees pass off one of these forms as an invoice to the customer and then pocket the money from the service.
In your disaster plan notebook, make sure to include reports from the POS system. Reports and other miscellaneous items you should have access to are:
Master Inventory by Category List: This report will have all your job or ops codes, the service description and correct part numbers. This ensures the ability to verify part numbers for jobs.
Price List: Having a current price list enables you to verify pricing for all add-on parts and services.
List of Items with Special Charges: This price list should include all items that have additional up-charges, such as specialty filters and specialty or bottled oil.
Coupon Discount List: Here you can write the correct coupon code on a handwritten invoice so the correct coupon/discount information is captured upon being entered into the POS system when operational.
Fleet List: This list provides correct fleet information when servicing those accounts.
Filter Catalogs: You should have a current filter catalog for each of the brand names you carry. Doing so ensures that correct filters and parts are being installed on the vehicle when the POS data is not accessible.
Chek-Chart Manual: One of these ensures all technical data that is required will be accessible.
Also, have a solar or battery-powered calculator available to calculate total price and taxes.
Current data is critical for your disaster plan, so be sure to print out all reports on a monthly basis to stay up-to-date. Create a standard operating procedure for your manager and crew to follow in case of an emergency. This procedure should not only cover running the store with the POS sys tem down, but also what do to in case of any emergency.
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, practice and train your employees on these procedures, so when the situation arises, all employees are prepared. Proper execution of your plan will prevent additional headaches and enable your crew to continue operation of the store with a limited amount of trouble.