Shop profile: Jerry’s Auto focuses on training

To create and maintain the best efficiency at Jerry’s Automotive in Waukesha, Wis., one big emphasis is on training for the techs. The 10-bay shop employs eight full-time ASE Master Techs and two high school apprentices, a full-time parts manager, and owner John Haunfelder serves as one of the two service advisors.

During the past few years while business had slowed somewhat, John focused his techs on training during the slow days rather than doing layoffs. The shop has a combined lunch room and training room that can accommodate about 30 people.

“We put a classroom in when we built because we wanted to be able to hold training meetings in there, which we do pretty regularly,” John said. “Some of our parts suppliers will use the room from time to time for training meetings; there’s a group called the Wisconsin Automotive Technicians that has most of their meetings here. It’s worked out well, we have training videos in there and other times we get speakers in smaller groups.”

Out in the shop, there are five bays north and south that face in on each other, with a walkway and toolboxes down the middle. John said this helps shop productivity, but he would like a bit more space down the middle between the bays. Each bay has its own door so dead vehicles can be moved straight back to the fenceline while waiting for parts.

When John bought the business, he did move the service counter out of the shop and into the office.

“When someone’s going with an air chisel in the shop and you’re on the phone trying to talk to customers … it just didn’t work out,” he said.

The parts counter and much of the portable shop equipment is at the front of the shop, while the alignment racks, tires and tire/wheel service equipment are together along the far wall. Another corner is set up for more “heavy engine work” with an engine hoist and other jacks and stands. The shop works on all light duty vehicles and some medium duty for a few local fleets.

John said the shop provides “virtually all the scanners and diagnostics.” The shop also provides some of the specialty tools. Whenever tools get “very specific,” John said the shop will try to provide as needed.