Is your shop ready for the future?


One of the many worthwhile presentations that took place during the recent SOLD (Service Opportunities and Learning Day) was Next Generation Vehicle Opportunities. Covered in this session was what the vehicle service shop of the future might look like, and what shop owners and managers should be planning and implementing now to be ready for future business.

SOLD was held the day prior to the opening of this year's Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) - North America's largest gathering of the independent heavy duty aftermarket.

Darry W. Stuart, president and CEO of DWS Fleet Management Services Group, an independent service company providing leadership, organization, negotiation, purchasing and vehicle specifications and maintenance management to fleets in various industry segments, gave the Next Generation Vehicle Opportunities presentation.

While "there is no one road to the future, all fleets want something that fits them," he said. Among the services fleets desire: accelerated services, such as quick-lane work and fast diagnosis; accurate customer contact; no COD; fast repair approval process; and night and weekend service.

Opportunities abound

As for future repair and maintenance opportunities, Stuart provided a laundry list that included:

  • Brake systems.
  • Axle repair services.
  • Diesel particulate filter programs.
  • Air conditioning parts and on-site air conditioning service programs.
  • Electrical expertise programs.
  • Engine diagnostic programs.
  • Fleet filter management.
  • Battery services and management.
  • Transmissions diagnostics.
  • Alignment services.
  • Inventory management services.
  • Preventive maintenance services.
  • Trailer repairs.
  • CSA safety inspections.

One particularly ripe opportunity, he said, are fleet Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) services because fleets typically don't know how to manage these processes and they want help with them.

Stuart recommended coming up with ways to respond to DVIRs, check noted problems as required and do repairs on-site for more vehicle uptime.

When it comes to creating repair and maintenance services, the idea is to act and think as a fleet, not as a service provider, he emphasized.


For the future, Stuart said a shop's environment will become more important. Shops will need to be clean and well organized. Not only does this give the impression of a "good" shop, but it helps with safety and productivity.

Figure that everything a technician does costs $1 a minute, he suggested. Do you want technicians wasting time searching for a tool or for parts or do you want they servicing vehicles?