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Happy March, everyone. I hope that your shops saw productive winters and are ready to greet long queues in front of your bays as the weather warms. 

I’m pleased this month to bring you the second-annual Best Workplaces awards, which we at NOLN launched last year for the March feature story. The award puts the focus on how operators provide for their teams to achieve top-notch cultures. When operators really lean into that part of their businesses, they find that the benefits trickle down to benefit the customer experience pretty effectively.

This year’s award stories feature one franchise and one independent operation. I’ll save the formal introductions for the actual stories, but I will share with you the central theme. That is responsiveness. What stuck out to me as I spoke with this year’s winners was how attuned they are to their staff members. In a smaller operation, such as our independent shop winner, it means that the owner makes time to be present and accessible in shops. Every last tech has the owner’s phone number (use that advice at your own discretion).

On the franchise side, this year’s winner features a leadership team that oversees dozens of locations. That can make it tough to pay close attention to how individuals are doing in the system. This operator makes it work in a couple of ways. First, they make it a point to listen to techs at the shop level and get a feel for their situations. That can get lost sometimes for busy operators who are working at the 30,000-foot level. Second, they put real financial resources into employee benefit programs. It’s the true example of spending money to make money.

Elsewhere in the issue this month is a great primer on telematics. Often on technology topics, the landscape can quickly change, and this month’s story brings new updates in the world of wireless diagnostics and right to repair in a way that can be useful to your shops.

You’ll also find some useful articles on a part of the job that isn’t fun: discipline. In addition, there’s a handy action checklist for you to give yourself a checkup on vendor relations. Outside of your shops, that might be the most valuable relationship to maintain.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and stay tuned for more excitement as we head further into 2022.


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