Shop Life

The Only Constant is Change

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Perspective and experience are two great assets to have when going through industry change. There’s a sense of reassurance during a tough transition to know that you’ve weathered storms before.

That was one of my takeaways when reading this month’s excellent profile of WLR Automotive CEO Randall Simpson. While there’s no doubt that his experience helped him respond and lead through a pandemic year, it was fascinating to read about some of the past ups and downs he had been through, from the stock market volatility in the 80s to the Great Recession of the late ‘00s.

Each issue of NOLN seeks to inform operators to help them handle constant change. This month, we dive headfirst into one big topic that’s shaping the future of the industry, and that’s repair work.

It’s always been a grey area for this magazine, which always wants to showcase the very best and brightest in the quick maintenance field. But with changing customer preferences and vehicle capabilities, the adoption of repair work isn’t something to ignore. Just the other week, I interviewed Jiffy Lube President Edward Hymes about the growth of the Multicare model that expands upon the original service menu. I remarked that it was a big statement for the biggest quick lube brand to add brake and tire services—a change that the industry is surely watching. 

Does the acknowledgement of a repair segment mean turning away from the strict quick lube model? I don’t think so, especially when quick maintenance remains at the heart of the business. 

That’s exactly what’s discussed in this month’s feature story, “Is Repair a Ticket Fixer?” Shop owners of all kinds share their stories of repair work, from the small brake job to the full mechanical segment. You’ll read about how different operators created goals for repair work, how they invested to make it happen, and how it has worked out so far. The bottom line? Just like so many services, it depends on how you can give your customers what they need in the most efficient way.

This month’s issue also addresses change in budgets. The Case Study takes a look at cutting costs in a way that’s more precise and less disruptive.

Speaking of change, it seems like there are new social media functions each time I log on. No matter what platform you’re using to reach customers (and you should be using at least one), this month’s Pit Stop will help you find the right blend of professionalism and personality to get noticed.

Getting back to that idea of experience leading the charge through change, I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the columns in this month’s issue. Adam Tatum reminds us that its industry relationships that help to get jobs done, especially during disruptive times. AOCA Board President Mark Bochnowski offers ideas on how shops and operators can take active roles in their communities. Finally, Lenny Saucier tackles what is often the first step to positive change: the to-do list. The key is following through!

Going through periods of change is like working out a muscle. You’ll find additional strength over time that helps to ease the struggle. Operators who are equipped to handle change are going to find one thing that remains the same: They’ll continue to thrive as operators in a dynamic industry. 


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