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With the introduction of The Digital Shop Methods and Tools, many owners and managers discovered the ability to measure KPIs impossible to measure before and use those to expand their shop culture to one based on teamwork, communication, and accountability. Frank Scandura and Edgar Reyes join Bill and Uwe in discussing the huge benefits the new shop operation brought to morale and results

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Bill Connor (00:06):
So good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you’ve reached your Digital Shop Talk Radio if you join us live. We appreciate it. And for those that would like to join us live, if you go to, you can register and you can also find all our previous podcasts, about 141 of ’em or something like that to go ahead and get your learning on. Also, you can find us on your favorite podcast platform by searching for the Digital Shop Talk Radio. So today I’m here with Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s European, and in the Vegas area. I’ve also got Edgar Reyes, the manager for Schertz Auto Service in the great state of Texas plus Uwe, our very own AutoVitals Chief Innovation Officer. Today we’re going to be discussing digital shop talk methods and tools, and many shop owners and managers had discovered the ability to measure some KPIs that were impossible to measure before we had AutoVitals.
So some behavioral information they can actually use and use that to help transition their shop to a culture of one based on teamwork, communication, and accountability. So these are the things we’re talking about, and these two panelists today have done a great job of doing that and sharing communication, accountability processes that really work in a shop. You’ll take away some solid information to grow the shop culture based on teamwork, and again, you’ll learn from some really good shop operators that are running shops just like yours. So Uwe, if you’d like to go ahead and kind of take us away and fire the first shot here, we’ll get started.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:40):
Happy to do so. So we came up with the topic for this podcast for two reasons we are frank on last week, and we talked about accountability and I noticed that whenever we talk about the digital shop procedures, process and tools, there’s one thing which was always mentioned and that is communicating with the team, getting the team behind the same goal. And we always made sure it’s being mentioned, but we didn’t go into more detail and why and what. And so we wanted to dedicate one podcast today to this topic. And in order to really start it off, I would love for Frank and Edgar to share with us if you can remember how it was before introducing the digital shop and how it is now. Could you compare and contrast the two? How were the meeting, did you or was there a meeting? And if there was one, how did that work and what’s now new and better? And you couldn’t even think living without it
Frank Scandura (03:19):
Is Edgar even old enough to be prior to a digital shop. Go ahead, Edgar.
Edgar Reyes (03:30):
To answer your question, no,
No. When I came to Schertz Auto Service, they were actually already working with AutoVitals. So this was already a shop that had been in the digital inspection platform and had sort of explored and figured out a couple of things already. So definitely great. It was really great and a really refreshing change of pace in my experience because I came from a shop that didn’t do that. We were still working on paper ros, and definitely the change in communication, the change in the process procedure and everything really dramatically changed from one shop to the other based solely on the digital inspection platform. So one of the biggest things is you already have, of course with paper ros, you have a inspection sheet already that wants you to check off a couple of boxes on, I checked this, I checked that and it was in good condition or not, but I don’t think I can count the number of technicians who I knew were just pencil whipping those inspections.
No, yep, it’s all good. Take this car out. Versus we have a digital platform now and now we even work with guided where we can make it so that certain topics require a picture, require nodes, require arrows, things like that. It really standardizes the procedure of the inspection. It forces our technicians to be able to prove what we are inspecting here. If an air filter is good, bad, it’s dirty, it’s missing, it’s the wrong size, whatever the case may be, we can take a picture, we can send proof to this customer and that’s a huge, huge deal. Not only that, but we also have the ability to message back and forth with anybody in the team in AutoVitals so we don’t have to walk across the shop and just to send a small message like, Hey, I can’t find the wheel lock on this and we don’t spend three hours. We might spend some time still trying to find that wheel lock, but it won’t take forever to get that message across. So it definitely improves communication and improves the shop operation as a whole.
Frank Scandura (05:44):
I, on the other hand, am old enough to remember the world before digital and when I first started in this business, you took your car to the gas station to get it fixed, right? That’s where you brought it. And as the gas station mechanic, I talked to the customer, I wrote the repair order, I ordered the parts, I wrote everything down on the ticket, wrote it down because everything was handwritten at that time. I looked over the car, I made the recommendations and that was a different world back then. And that’s just how we all did it.
Shortly after that, I had the opportunity to go work at a Mercedes-Benz dealership where it was all in computer, and that’s where I learned how to type with two fingers. For those of you who don’t know me, this is how I typed. And they had a written inspection sheet. It was no carbon paper and it was like 27 items and a technician check, good needs attention. And then I just wrote in the box estimate how much that would cost for the customer. And then you went over that. If you did not put that piece of paper on the repair order and we had a tube system like the banks use, you put the report on a tube, you shot it in, the dispatcher dispatched it. If that piece of paper wasn’t on the repair order, the car did not get an inspection. So to digitize all of that was a complete game changer because I thought when I opened my shop and I had that same paper inspection that all the cars got inspected, but I learned they didn’t and we never used to have meetings.
That’s why I’m such an expert on shop meetings because that’s what I used to do. Something would go wrong, I’d be upset with one person who didn’t do something right. Everybody was gathered together and this is how we had the meeting. You’re going to stop this, you’re going to do that and quit messing around or I’m going to fire all you guys. I’m large and in charge. I’m the big kahuna. I can do this without you, which is a lie. I can’t. And so we never did have formal meetings until I learned the value of having formal meetings with an agenda.
I think that’s pretty much what your question was and what direction we had to take. And becoming a digital shop, the communication is critical, right? Absolutely critical. Whether it’s between me and the team or the team and the motorist or the motorist and the company, it’s really, really completely different than it was five years ago. I remember having a conference AutoVitals conference that we did and everybody in the room, we had a panel up and there’s a lot of pushback on texting customers and everybody in the room was like, oh, no, no, no, no, they don’t want to be texted. And I asked the question, how many of you have answered a phone call while you’re in this room? Nobody raised their hand. How many have answered an email? Nobody raised their hand. How many of you answered a text message while in this room while we’re talking, 90% of the hands go up? I said, well, if you’re doing it, your customers are doing it. So we have to develop new methods of communicating. We have to develop new methods of being in touch. And as independent shop owners, very few of us are very smart to do that. That’s why it’s great to have companies like AutoVitals to help forge the path and being innovative and making that stuff happen.
Edgar Reyes (09:09):
And it’s crazy that we’re focusing a little bit here on communication, and I think that’s a really broad topic to bring up because first and foremost, how do you develop an inspection sheet without communication feedback from your technicians? So that takes us into a whole other conversation of how do you encourage and develop that communication? I think it comes from, it stems from the culture that you have in your shop. If you don’t have technicians who are comfortable with talking to the shop manager, the shop foreman, whoever may be in charge of changing or developing these inspections and procedures, you’ll never get it dialed down. You’ll never get it to where it works great. So you have to be able to build a shop culture that will encourage people to be candid with each other and give honest feedback to each other. It’s not always about, Hey, I need you to make more hours. I need you to work faster. I need you to give me better inspections. How can I help you do those things?
Frank Scandura (10:10):
Well said, very good. There’s a lot to be said.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:15):
Can I interrupt there a little bit? Because yes, that’s for sure the new way of leadership, right? But there’s also an element to it that if the recipient of the message in a shop beating never experienced that whatever their input was taken seriously and implemented, or it was easy to make excuses or it was easy to just claim something because you couldn’t measure it, that’s a different culture than being accountable because you can measure it. So what I’m trying to say is with the digital shop, there are now metrics available where you see results rather quickly. You don’t need to wait for the a o at the end of the month or the quarter to find out whether it’s working or not. You can, let’s go back to pencil whipping. Just say you A, you seem to favor hoses because you find 70% of the cause you’re inspecting have a hose problem. Why? Right? That’s a completely new quality of communication in my opinion and holding and holding people accountable. But how did that work in your shop? Were there surprises that we have now a higher level or a more granular level of information which can be used to hold each other accountable?
Frank Scandura (11:56):
I’ll jump in and say absolutely because I went from the paper inspection that I would’ve bet a million dollars, every single car got inspected and it was thorough and accurate until you tried to figure it out. And I tell the story all the time. I would come in on a Saturday and I would get all the repair orders from the prior week and I was trying to figure out what got done and it was a nightmare. And then being able to measure it electronically and being able to prove what was going on was absolute game changer. So two sides of that, the under and over recommendation. The technician who never recommends controller bushes because he hates doing them, and a technician who, like you said, and maybe he’s 70% of the host recommendations, not because he’s over recommending maybe everybody else is under recommended, really important to find out, okay, Johnny, all these cars you recommended to hose, what’s going on?
He goes, oh yeah, man, I remember when I was at the dealer that we recommended hoses and 75,000 miles because they would fail right after that. So now there’s a lesson there, right? Maybe it is a little legit recommendation. Let’s figure this out. So it could go both ways. And the other aspect of that was the inspection sent rate. That was the most eye opening stat for me to measure. And I would have the meeting and it would be, this is how we’re going to do it and everybody’s going to do it this way. And if you want to keep your job, this is how you’re going to do it and this is how you’re going to keep your job. And okay, boss, you got it. I’m going to send every inspection. Then we’d run the reports and it’s 70% inspection sent, right? You said you’re going to send them all, now I’ve got data.
He goes, no, no, no, I can’t be right. And then we export the report by repair order number. Oh yeah, I guess I didn’t do it. I guess I did do it. I guess I didn’t do it. And we were able to change behavior. No more of this. I didn’t have to do this anymore. I had to sit down and say, these are the goals. This is why, because when a customer can see what’s going on, they’ll open up the inspection, they’ll look at the pictures, they’re going to look at your notes, they’re going to see what’s going on. They’re going to want to do more to fix a car. They want to take care of the car. It’s automatic and the numbers, and I ran this report from the day we started a $450 ARO. We’re up to over 1100 now five years in. So absolute game changer. Absolute game changer because you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
Bill Connor (14:19):
So Frank, what you’re saying is that all these schools that spoil their students by saying 70% is a passing grade that doesn’t fly in your shop. We can’t fix the car 70% of the time.
Frank Scandura (14:29):
You know what? Absolutely right. I can’t put 70% of the brake pass that come out of the box on the car. Can I?
Bill Connor (14:35):
Edgar Reyes (14:37):
So I saw a chat or message from Ken there that says A metric in general and the communication logs are eye opening for everybody in the shop. And I think that’s very important. I think that everybody in the shop has to have these things because like Frank was saying, how do you think a technician feels if they spend time, energy, and all this effort to build a really good report? If you work in a shop like mine where you have someone in production who spends time editing every picture, every node, every caption, making sure it’s catered to this customer, this specific vehicle, and that all of these things are done and we take time out of our day to do them and make sure it’s done and then we find out it’s all for nothing because the customer didn’t even see it, that holds everybody accountable and it’s a huge, huge part of accountability.
Frank Scandura (15:32):
Let me tell you what happens too. In that scenario, and this kind of happened in the paper world, but you couldn’t measure it and you can measure it now you get a technician, a service advisor that aren’t in love with each other. If the service advisor does not trust the technician, he’s not going to present the recommendations. So what’s the technician going to do? One of two things. He’s going to over recommend, hoping that something will get presented to the customer he’s going to under recommend because that guy doesn’t sell anything anyway. And it really creates an imbalance. And if you don’t have the tools to measure that, you’re never going to know and you’re never going to be able to fix it.
Bill Connor (16:13):
And in the past, because we couldn’t detect that, we had a lot of good technicians go ahead and exit like snagglepuss right out the door.
Edgar Reyes (16:20):
Well, not only that, I mean at the end of the day, I think everybody here is here to serve their customers the best they can. And if you have someone who’s over recommending or under recommending what kind of service are you really providing? You can’t be the top 1% of the shops in the country if you have that internal struggle and you’re trying to fight, keeping a decent constant on your inspection quality. So
Uwe Kleinschmidt (16:44):
I just want to really emphasize on what Edgar says. The absolute minuscule amount of people have malicious intent. Everybody coming to a world wants to provide the service, but if the ranch is grown in your way or you’re not taken seriously, you start optimizing your own work because you don’t see that what you put in is being returned. And so for me, that is where the data allows you. And to Fernando’s point in the chat, if you as a owner supervisor don’t create this open communication where the data is shared across the team and then the tools are not really helpful. But if you have experienced once, especially a create win, you make a proposal how to change the inspection sheet, everybody agrees and it’s in there the next day, you are so much more motivated and then the overall recommendation goes away. And in my opinion, this is most, this is continuous improvement at work. So you have so short cycles in which you can try something and then if it doesn’t work, you change it. And if it works, you keep it right. That was impossible before.
Frank Scandura (18:28):
Before. And when I coach shops and Fernando put a comment up in the chat, that’s spot on. When I coach shops and shop owners, one of my biggest struggles is getting them to hold themselves accountable. They’re always talking about employees never do what you want and they don’t ever do this and I can’t get ’em to do that. And they never listen. Okay, do you listen to yourself? Do you hold yourself accountable as the very first step? And then what are you going to do with the information you’re going to have all the data in the world, if you look at it and go, oh, well they’re not doing inspections, and you just go away, then that’s not going to change the problem. So you have to be accountable to yourself to be able to hold your team accountable in the regular meetings and that open communication bridges that gap and it really makes the difference.
I remember coaching a guy, he refused to do inspections on practice. It took two hours. So it’s not possible. It is not possible. It takes two hours to inspect the car. I don’t believe it. I want you to give me a step-by-step process of why it takes so long. Bring the car in, put it up, check the brakes, put it down, check the oil, put it up, check the suspension, put it down, check the lights, put it up. And I said, well, no wonder it takes two hours. Let’s review and rewrite your inspection process and then it’ll be more consistent. Turn around, everybody’s doing inspections for 15 minutes and speaking processes. As we elevate the industry, that’s we all strive to become better because the guys who are in here on these meetings and the guys who are watching these recordings want to learn to get better. We’re learning how important it’s to have that process, how important it’s to have that SOP, and that’s something we’re working on over Transformers to get that message across how to do it because we all have it in our head. That’s zero value. I have to get it out of my head into a document that’s easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to buy into with the cooperation of my team through regular meetings to change my business.
Bill Connor (20:26):
So it start with them feeling that they can actually come to you and say in your example there that look, it’s taken me a long time to go and do this inspection, and then through a meeting with them and other people, your staff, that’s when you go ahead and work on a solution together as a team.
Frank Scandura (20:43):
I lost the first part of that. What was the very first part of that?
Bill Connor (20:46):
So when somebody comes to you in a meeting and they’ve got this problem, so they’re saying that in a meeting, say it takes too long to do an inspection, so now you’ve identified the problem and then you work together as a team to go ahead and find that solution.
Frank Scandura (21:02):
When I was training shops through AutoVitals, I would get that all the time. The technicians are complaining, it takes too long, and my answer is always, it’s not that it takes too long, this is how long it takes to do it right? You weren’t doing it consistently, you weren’t getting the same results all the time. Johnny was going, that’s about a 22 point a half percent brake pattern remaining. Mike was going, it’s about a 50% brake pad remaining same car. So it doesn’t take too long and it doesn’t take a long time to do the inspection properly. It takes very little time to whip through it, glancing through the wheels, not pulling wheels off and measuring brake pads. It’s one of my favorite tools in the entire shop. It’s my little brake pad gauge and I keep it handy all the time. As a reminder, if everybody’s doing it the same way, you’re going to have consistent results. So Quinn put, it depends on the age of the car and how many needs and the length of inspection. Yeah, that 1979 Mercedes that comes in, it hasn’t been regularly maintained, may take a little longer, but I find that to be the exception, not the rule.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (22:14):
So let’s go into how has the communication changed in terms of what type of meetings are you doing now? one-on-one with the meeting with the whole shop with all techs, and so was advisors together or separate? Let’s go into the nuts and bolts and do you have an agenda for the shop meeting every time the same. If you could share that, that would be awesome.
Frank Scandura (22:54):
I bet Edgar and I are really similar. Go ahead Edgar. We’re both part of Transformers, so go ahead.
Edgar Reyes (22:59):
Absolutely. So the short answer is yes, yes to all the above, yes, yes, yes. It goes down day to day. I have a morning meeting, quick meeting, quick huddle with the service advisors, just see what they need if they know they have any concerns, any issues that may need to be addressed right there on the spot, maybe things that we’re heading into through the day, they show up a little bit early, look through the schedule and want to give me a heads up. It’s like, Hey, look, this customer’s coming in and it’s going to have to be handled this way because I have a really good relationship with ’em and got to make sure we get that done right and that’s great. Now then after that I go out and we have a huddle with our technicians. We sort of give the rundown of what’s coming in, what we have in the shop, what the plan for the day is, and high clarity yields high results.
So the more I can communicate with my team and let them know what the expectation is, not just for the day or I’m sorry, not just I in general, but down to the day what the plan of action is for the day. We can get through the day so much faster, so much easier with a lot less issues and bumps on the road. On top of that, we have usually one-on-one meetings. We sit down and we do, what Frank was pointing to was a transformational coachings where we actually sit down and we have one-on-one meetings with every single teammate. We want to make sure that we’re addressing their needs, that they know that we are here to help them out. We’re not just here to try to see how much money we can get out of them and then hand them a paycheck at the end of the pay period and send ’em go home.
We want to be able to help people. It all comes down to people. Everybody in your team has some kind of goal or ambition and if you don’t know what that is, you don’t know how to motivate that person and if you can’t motivate that person, they’re not going to do the best work they can do in your team. So the coachings, we do them once every quarter and it’s a three step process and it’s great. It’s done wonders for our team and it keeps us all on the same page. Keeps everybody moving and striving for a goal and sort of creating a little bit of a career path for that individual. For example, I may have a technician who’s getting ready to call it quits and maybe wants to move into the office. We have a parts manager position, we have a production director position, we have service advising. We have ways to be able to help that person, especially if they’re a really good teammate. There’s no reason why I would not want that person on my team.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:44):
What’s the three step process? I’m not.
Edgar Reyes (25:50):
Absolutely. So there’s the first step of we get feedback from our team. We want to know what they’ve accomplished into the year, what they feel like they have failed at during the past quarter, things that maybe relationships they’ve built, goals they want to achieve and didn’t, goals they want to set for themselves. And we also opened the discussion for any issues that they may see in the shop with leadership, whatever the case may be, and it opens up a set time where we can actually sit down and discuss all these things. The second step, I give them a little bit feedback, let ’em know where I see there may be some shortcomings where they’re doing great. Obviously we want to start with the good, we want to start with their strengths and let them know also the things that they may have had some shortcomings on.
When you do these coachings over and over and over, you obviously goals. So a lot of the times it’s like, hey look, we were working towards this goal and we didn’t make it. I want to know why. And in the third step, you sit down and together you come up with goals where you can or set goals and a plan of action on how to achieve set goals, whether they’d be based on things they want to achieve on their personal time or things they want to achieve professionally. I have a teammate here who was really into biking and stopped doing it for a very, very long time. So during his coaching we actually set a goal that every week he would bike so many miles and he would send me a screenshot of how he tracked it and we’ve been doing that and he’s been doing great and he just told me, he’s like, Hey, you know what? I really appreciate that because had it not been because of that goal, I would’ve never done it. Sometimes we also want to have a little bit of accountability in our personal life and if I can be that person for my team, I will.
Bill Connor (27:40):
Can we go back to the morning meeting for just a second because to me that’s really important and a lot of shops haven’t developed that yet, but I look at it as a way to go ahead and clear the brush out of the way so if a fire flares up, it doesn’t have a lot of fuel to burn. So can you talk about both of you a little bit about out how you would actually run that morning meeting and the time you would dedicate to it?
Frank Scandura (28:04):
Sure. Lemme take this one here real quick. I have multiple meetings and the reason is because that’s how you communicate clearly, right? Instead of waiting for a problem and tensions are up, you have meetings and you discuss things. When they come up that morning meeting, there should be a meeting every single morning with advisors and their techs laying out the morning, here’s what we got, here’s what we expect. This is what we need to get done, this heater net thing and this over here and a couple of these and some of those five minutes, that’s really all it should be.
That’s every morning. I additionally have, we used to do it every day and then we went to two times a week. Now we’re going to bring it back to three: a review of open repair orders and you guys that are super busy, it’s very, very easy for a car to fall through the cracks if you don’t know what’s lingering. And we learned this lesson the hard way a couple of years ago when the customer called about a car and everybody’s scrambling, what’s going on? What’s going on? I was just completely forgotten, but step wasn’t processed properly and the car sat for like three or four days and nobody touched it. The guy goes, oh, that’s cool, I’m just going to come get it. $3,500 job in the BMW gone and there’s no way to recover it. We tried everything on the planet, so we do service advisor huddles and just review open repair orders.
What’s going on? Why is this still here? I noticed this car’s been here two months. What’s the problem? Is it a pars problem? Are we about to get married to this car? What’s on? I have once a week entire company meetings scheduled, close the shop, lock the door forward, the phones normally from 10 30 to 11 in the morning on Wednesday mornings. Today we postponed it until 11 o’clock so I can be here and there and it’s a different things going on and what’s going on in a shop and look at all these wonderful full reviews we’ve got and we have a little six or seven point agenda that we follow for that. Then I meet with my manager once a week and it’s what we call same page meeting. If you guys have not read rocket fuel, read rocket fuel because it’s about visionaries and integrators.
I’m a visionary. I’ve got all these great ideas. My manager Travis, he’s an integrator. I can give my idea to him, I can mention something to him and it’s done. He’s got three documents, process done. This is how we’re going to do it, this is what we’re going to do, this is, and that’s exactly what I need and that’s exactly what’s helped bring me to my next level in my company. And then of course my wife and I have a once a month meeting on the first Saturday of the month. We call it Strategy Saturday and it’s where we just kind of strategize what we’re going to do, how are things going and I suppose we should legally call it our board meeting, but it’s kind of our strategy meeting and we do that once a month and it’s on our calendar for every month. So you can never, very cool, you can never over communicate with your team, but you can certainly under communicate and I’m the first guy to tell you that I could swear I just told you something and we just had a discussion about it and it was probably all in my head at three o’clock in the morning. So if I have these meetings and I can make sure that we’re communicating,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (31:33):
How do you track? Is there some written accountable document which is being shared at the beginning of the next meeting or is there in between meetings some feedback on a document?
Frank Scandura (31:52):
We keep
Uwe Kleinschmidt (31:53):
Notes documented work.
Frank Scandura (31:54):
Yeah, we keep notes. So we do two things like Travis and I have a shared document because we’ll say something on Thursday that we want to talk about on Wednesday and if we don’t document it in our meeting sheet, forget. So that’s kind of our agenda. It’s just throwing stuff in here, call it brain dump and then we’ll take notes at the meeting for what do we need to follow up on and what needs to be addressed. So do I have a formal measurement? We address three items and discuss four. No, but we are taking notes, making it part of the process, take notes and act on them.
Edgar Reyes (32:35):
Also, part of the process that I’ve implemented and it has given me great, great results is I had a really big problem where I would ask for feedback during a meeting and it would be crickets. Nobody would say anything. The reason for that is because my team is unprepared and why is my team unprepared? They don’t know what the meeting’s about until they show up to the meeting. So Fernando mentioned, have a structure for these meetings. Absolutely. You also have to create an agenda, know what you’re going to talk about and you make sure your team knows that you’re going to talk about those items. When they come prepared to the meeting already knowing what they’re going to talk about, they probably have a couple ideas, they have a couple of thoughts and it’ll help the meeting move so much better and get honest feedback and honest communication between everybody because of that.
Bill Connor (33:25):
And when you have a meeting and you guys agree to do something, do you go ahead and actually document what it is you’re going to do and a due date it should be done by? Or do you just let it hang out there in the wind and hope
Frank Scandura (33:35):
Bill, I’ll just pretend you didn’t ask that question please. Two guys,
Bill Connor (33:41):
Look, if I set you up for a home run, just take a swing at
Frank Scandura (33:45):
It or did you mean that for the audience? Yeah, we’re pretty good at documenting and implementing and talking and making things happen whether it’s a piece of equipment that needs something done to it. These meetings help us create processes like how do we manage certain supplies not in the inventory, right? Shop supplies are just kind of this expensive pile of stuff that Frank buys all the time. So how do we manage that? So just as simple of having a notepad on a door where as you’re in the shop supply area and you go to grab something that’s got a little low, you just write number seven, host clamps or whatever the case may be. So these meetings help do that and by taking notes and it gives the opportunity to act on it. Most of the problems that we experience are really small, small problems not addressed, become big issues. I think. Bill, you said you get that guy who’s working for an advisor who’s never selling his recommendations, he doesn’t trust him, will leave. So what about the guy that keeps saying, I told you we needed very clean, I guess you don’t care, we’re going to leave. So it’s no different. I think this elevating the company to be more professional, more structured, creates better employees. And I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, but employees are kind of like kids. They need boundaries.
Where’s my lanes? How far can I go? Do you care if I come in late 15 minutes every day? Do you care if every time I go do a water pump, I’m too lazy to pull the radiator out so I poke holes in radiators all the time, where’s my boundaries? So there’s a certain level of professionalism and a certain level of that we need to clearly communicate.
Edgar Reyes (35:42):
And that goes back, I know you mentioned that you keep notes on every single one of your meetings and I think it’s important to not only keep notes, but go back and review those notes. Just like that technician, if he brought it up last meeting and it’s notated that, hey, three meetings ago I brought up that we were running low on brake lean. Then the meeting after that I mentioned it again and now I’m mentioning it for a third time. Then you have to figure out why was it not done. So it definitely creates a big accountability factor there.
Bill Connor (36:15):
So you got me hooked. Now I’m a shop owner. I know I’ve got to have a daily meeting. Go ahead and give me an outline of what I should go. I’ve got to implement that in my shop tomorrow. Give me an outline of what I should do to do that. Should I ask my tech how many hours you want to run today or are we just looking for bottlenecks that they think might occur because of equipment parts? What kind of a bullet plus point outline?
Edgar Reyes (36:39):
So I’ll take that one first. My morning huddles with my technicians are really focused on what the day is going to look like and what we are going to do moving forward. Of course if there was a major issue the day before or the week before, we need to address it and we need to correct it. However, the things that happened yesterday are done. All we can do now is correct them from this morning on. So my structure in my morning meeting is I literally have an outline with the work that everybody is currently assigned, letting them know as much detail on them as I can, whether it be okay, we still have to do some inspections on these vehicles and they’re assigned to this person. Or if I have work assigned to somebody, I want to let them know the status of their parts.
Hey, we have all your parts here except for that one TPMS sensor that won’t be here until tomorrow morning, but we can get started on the rest of the work and we can hold off on that TPMS sensor because what happens if I don’t have that communication, I don’t communicate that to that technician is they’ll do all the job, they’ll have the tire torn apart and they’ll be like, oh, where’s my TPMS sensor? Now you have a bay down because they didn’t know that right? Or they have to do extra work because now they have to put it back together so they can roll it out and move on to your next car. I also look over the schedule. I make an outline of what’s expected to come in during the day, how many waiting appointments do we have, how many oil changes, how many maintenance items, who’s returning for work and what kind of work is it?
Who more likely will be assigned that work? That’ll technicians, if you leave them by themselves, if you just give them a tablet, assign them a pile of work and you just let them be, they will come up with a plan that’ll help them be as productive as they can be for the most part. Now when you are honest with your technician and tell them, Hey, you have this seven hour job that’s not due until two days from now, but I also have all these vehicles coming in this morning that I need to get inspected and get looked at, you’re not going to be working on this car that has several hours worth of work for the probably till the afternoon in the day. They can expect that they can plan for that. Now you have a more efficient technician rather than I’m going to keep pulling him off without telling him that he’s got work coming in in this morning. So it’s all about getting a plan together and having an open communication with those technicians of what to expect throughout the day. That’s what my daily meeting consists of.
Frank Scandura (39:14):
And we have a booklet with the transformers and basically seven points we’re trying to address in this brief meeting with the text, identify bottlenecks in production, improve the odds of performing any needed services on a client’s car, getting everyone on the same page, improving efficiency, closing communication gaps, increasing the client experience, enhancing the client experience and scheduling of work gets improved. Right. And then I’ll jump over here. Ken Anderson writes, in relation to your tech meetings or huddle does, do you have an appointment monitor or some type of system in a shop where techs can see the day as well? No, I don’t. And I’ll tell you why. We have a lot of work. We’re very busy and what happens is when a technician’s got 12 or 15 cars on his tablet, he freaks out. It doesn’t, how am I going to get this all done?
Oh my gosh, I’ll never get it all done and I got to get all this work done. And it’s an enormous pressure cooker for him. So you got to be real careful of what they can see coming up. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough work on a tablet, they’re like, there’s no work, there’s nothing coming in so I can take my time. So it’s a very difficult balance and it really depends on your workflow. So if you need your tech to see that work coming in, by all means show it to ’em. But I promise as soon as two o’clock rolls around, I go, well, what happened today? 1902, Pinto was supposed to come in at two o’clock in front breaks. I’m ready to do it. So you got to really learn how to balance. That’s very tricky. Personally, we schedule the work without the technician knowing that we just want them to see what’s right in front.
Bill Connor (40:45):
The morning meeting is more about going ahead and as again, getting as much production as we can while we’ve still got time to make corrections. And then another type of meeting that you alluded to was your weekly meeting. Can you go through a little bit about what your weekly meeting would be?
Frank Scandura (41:03):
I’d like to bring it up that agenda, but basically I want to celebrate victories. I want to discuss bottlenecks again, because bottlenecks are a big deal. If I can save a technician 10 minutes a day, it’s thousands of dollars a year. So bottlenecks are a big part of it. What do we need in shop? How’s everything working? Just recently we upgraded our camera system and then we ran a data line to another corner of the shop because that technician had to leave his bay, come over to another bay, move cars out of the way just to do programming. So I don’t know what it cost me to put that data line in. I didn’t ask. I said, I need a data line over here and that’s going to save him a lot of time and aggravation and make him more efficient and happier. Actually made him smile. He’s a miracle. So I like to have my pointed. It’s true. So I’d like to have my agenda pointed out. That’s for our weekly meeting. I also do leadership training with my team. We assign books, we read books together. I have open discussions. My job as a leader of this company is to speak into the lives of my people, to make them a better person then they are today than they were yesterday. It’s not my job to grind our out that comes naturally with better attitudes and better relationships.
Bill Connor (42:32):
Is that weekly meeting an all shop meeting or is it just front staff and rear staff separately?
Frank Scandura (42:37):
My weekly meeting is everybody in the building. Like I said, we lock the door, we close the shop, we forward the function. So sign up. We are closed for a weekly meeting. If somebody happens to show up without an appointment of walk in, it’s excruciating, but we make them wait,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (42:58):
It looks like Jenna has a question. Can we? She’s raising your hand.
Frank Scandura (43:09):
I know. Jenna,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (43:12):
Bill, can you make a panelist or maybe,
Bill Connor (43:16):
Let me see if I can go ahead and do that. I hit where it says allow to talk and we’ll see what happens.
Frank Scandura (43:21):
There’s Jenna. Hi Jenna. You’re muted.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (43:24):
Jenna Kish (43:26):
Hi. I didn’t have a question but thank you.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (43:29):
Bill Connor (43:31):
You can make one up
Uwe Kleinschmidt (43:33):
Now. You have to have one.
Jenna Kish (43:37):
Well, I agree with Frank. You have to shut down that shop and you’ve got to make your employee and your staff know that what we’re doing is important and keeping everybody on is critical. We started doing that and we started occasionally like once a month shutting the shop down for a whole, having an employee lunch and just getting our staff to start building together.
Frank Scandura (44:05):
And let me tell you why we closed down in the middle of the morning. I can’t get everybody here before we open because I don’t want to be here that early. I can’t get everybody to stay after work. We’ve all got lives, we’ve got families to go to. We’ve got kids to pick up. So it’s difficult to get everybody here. And I don’t like the idea of doing a lunch meeting because then everybody’s going to go to lunch anyway. So legally you have to let ’em do that. So taking that time in the morning and shutting down just solved all of those problems.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (44:37):
Yeah. I wanted to ask for a while now, this is the right moment. Was there at any point in time a hesitance to allocate time to this, which takes it away from production and you were brilliant? That goes overboard.
Frank Scandura (45:00):
Absolutely, because it took us a long time to get profitable, right? Because I had to learn how to run my business like a business, how to stop running it like a little mini dictatorship. So when you’re struggling to make it profitable, you think you don’t have time for meetings when the true problem is you’re not profitable because you’re not sharing ideas and problems with your team to become profitable. You’re not seeking out to get the right help from outside people who are smarter than you. So it was very difficult in the beginning to force that time. That’s why we used to have shop beatings and I had some fun about this where when you got that problem, you get everybody in and you start yelling at everybody for one thing one guy did probably a couple of weeks ago. So it’s completely irrelevant today and it’s a shop beating not shop meeting and it’s totally unproductive. It doesn’t solve any problems.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (45:55):
Go ahead. No, but I assume this doesn’t happen overnight and your meetings are well organized and everything is exactly on point as you wanted it to be, right? There is an iteration to get everybody to find the right way.
Frank Scandura (46:13):
Yeah, the right rhythm. That’s really a good point because I tell guys that I coach in the importance of having those meetings that they’re going to be extremely awkward in the beginning.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:21):
Frank Scandura (46:22):
Deal with it. It’s supposed to be awkward in the beginning because when you first started dating your wife, it was awkward when you first tried to figure out how to help your kid ride a bike. It was awkward. So it’s normal for it to be awkward, just go for it, just follow through and let it kind of become more natural for you and it will become more natural getting definitely the hardest step.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:48):
Can you give the audience and the listeners a few pointers on to avoid to going in the wrong direction and then make the meetings too long and how to keep everybody on track and encouraged to contribute?
Frank Scandura (47:08):
That’s the secret of having an agenda. Having an agenda. It’s very easy to go down rabbit holes and especially because we do a round of rim. What if you’ve got going on? How about you? How’s everything in your corner? Do you have everything you need? What’s going on? Is everything alright? And it’s very easy for somebody to go down a rabbit hole, so you just have to stick to your time schedule. If it’s a meeting, if it’s a one hour meeting or a 30 minute meeting, whatever, it’s say, okay, we got to revisit that later, or I’m going to pull that person aside and lemme see what’s going on. Especially if it seems like it’s really pressing. It’s really, really, really important to maintain that schedule. So my agenda is success story, shop, business, previous week, performance goal numbers, any goal obstacles, continuous improvement, taking suggestions, covering things that we talked about before and then review continuous improvement ideas. So previous ideas, I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to put a link to this and it’s going to be view the Google doc, I’ll put it right in the chat for you guys so you can get started. Very
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:19):
Frank Scandura (48:20):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:21):
But it’s a lot for 30 minutes. So you allocate five minutes each and then clear cuts.
Frank Scandura (48:28):
Like Edgar said, not everybody speaks up, right? So not everybody has something to say, but I want everybody to have that opportunity. But keep your eye out. If you’ve got multiple people in your building, I have 19 employees, you got that one person who never, ever, ever speaks up, they’re terrified to talk in front of everybody. They’re terrified. They’re going to think I’m trying to get him in trouble. So find a way to make them feel comfortable. Pull ’em aside, have those discussions. Take your team out to lunch one at a time. You’ll be surprised what you find out over lunch and get away from the grind from the office. I have two shop foreman groups that I facilitate and one of the things that often comes up is how do I help these guys and gals go from beer buddy to now you have to be here on time. And one of the most effective tools they’ve had was after work, grabbing a bite to eat together and getting ’em to open up and they’ve learned things about their text that they had no worked with these guys for years, had no idea, which just goes to prove every single person has something going on in their life that you have no clue about.
Bill Connor (49:48):
Interesting. So we’ve got our daily scrum in the morning, we’ve got maybe another one during the day. We’ve got weekly meeting, quarterly meetings, so on. And so also I know that Frank, you’re big on other outside meetings with other peers to go ahead and kind of cuss, discuss and go on. So can you talk about maybe how that comes into play? Also,
Frank Scandura (50:13):
Bill, I don’t, I apologize, you’re going to have to repeat that question.
Bill Connor (50:20):
So we’ve got a bunch of different type of meetings, but you also, you’re kind of a big proponent of outside meetings outside the shop with other peers like other shop foreman, other shop managers, other shop owners and so on. Can you go ahead and talk a little bit about how networking in that way also is a huge benefit?
Frank Scandura (50:38):
Yes, thank you. And I apologize for not listening the first time. If you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room. When I first started out, I didn’t have a clue. I how to run a business. I was a really good tech and a really good service advisor. I could get cars in the shop, couldn’t make money to save my life. I had to learn how to manage the numbers. I had to learn what KPIs were. I had to learn how to price my is properly. Once I capped out there and I got into 20 group and then got all these other guys that kind of at my level and we’re all helping each other and all growing and I capped out there. Now I’m in a mastermind group, which is absolutely next level. I just can’t even describe it. But you have to surround yourself with people who want you to succeed, right? All you guys who are posted on Facebook, your little problems and you got all these jabs and all this complaining and all this from people who don’t know you and don’t care about you, you get into a group of peers who get to know you and care about you and care about your success will help you grow both personally and professionally.
Bill Connor (51:55):
Doesn’t that give your staff a good feeling to know that you actually care enough about them and your business to go ahead and go out and seek outside information also,
Frank Scandura (52:06):
Except when I come home from a two day meeting with 12 pages of notes, then they know they’re in trouble, going to make a lot of changes, but they do. They understand the time that I spend to proofing myself, which helps improve them, which helps improve the company. It makes it better for everybody.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (52:26):
I don’t want to be the party pooper, but we have five minutes left. I would really love to ask Edgar and Frank, if there is somebody who wants to introduce that in the shop and know the first meeting is awkward, what else would you recommend to do in what order to be successful?
Frank Scandura (52:56):
Good. I agree.
Edgar Reyes (52:58):
Well, the hardest thing that you’re going to have to overcome because you can build an agenda and you can sit up there and talk until you’re out of breath and people will sit there and listen to get through the meeting. Definitely the hardest thing and probably the most awkward part about a meeting is asking for feedback and sitting in silence. So again, and I think we can’t stress this enough, you have to have an agenda and you have to share that agenda with your team. They need to go into these meetings fully prepared and knowing what is expected of them. If I expect to get feedback, make it clear in your agenda that you expect feedback and specifically what you expect feedback on unprepared. People will sit there and just listen to you talk hours on end. So you have to share that and you have to make that known to your team.
Bill Connor (53:54):
Do your staff the same way you would a customer? Do you ask them open-end questions like, if you had this problem, how would you solve it? Or do you just say, do you have anything you’d like to add?
Edgar Reyes (54:05):
Absolutely open-ended questions are a must. However, we have a little bit of an unspoken rule here, which is you don’t bring a problem if you don’t have a solution. Even if your solution is not what we want to do, it’s not something we want to chase. That’s okay. You brought a solution to the table, otherwise you’re just complaining and we don’t like complainers. Yep.
Frank Scandura (54:28):
It’s a great book to know. Complaining role. By the way, Edgar, I would challenge you on one thing you said it’s very difficult to ask for feedback and sit in silence. I think it’s equally difficult to ask for feedback and get it. You got to be prepared. Sometimes it’s not pleasant. You have to be willing to listen to it.
Edgar Reyes (54:50):
Of course. Especially when it’s directly directly for you. Your ego takes hit. And
Bill Connor (54:57):
Jenna, that’s a good question. How long before a meeting do you give your staff the agenda?
Frank Scandura (55:03):
I like the meeting the morning of.
Edgar Reyes (55:08):
I usually do it 24 hours prior to the meeting. At least we have a meeting tomorrow morning, so I’ll be releasing that. Our agenda for tomorrow, probably in the next few minutes actually.
Frank Scandura (55:21):
So there you got two different answers for two different worlds. Whatever works for you, Jenna,
Bill Connor (55:26):
Texas and Nevada. That’s two different places. So
Frank Scandura (55:30):
Well Nevada’s going to change it name.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (55:39):
Bill Connor (55:42):
Awesome. So if there’s nothing else that we need to add, obviously there’s plenty more tips we could go ahead and draw out of these guys over time. We’d surely love to have you guys back. You guys have shared a lot of really good powerful information today. So I’d like to personally thank both of you. You’ve been here before and I’m sure we’ll con you into it again someday. Once again, for those that you’ll like to join live and get your questions in there, we certainly appreciate it. Register at and also go through some of the other episodes in there, lots of great information and go seek out another shop owner in your area that might need some assistance. Give them a link to one or two of them episodes, get them to join, get them to sit with you and like I said, share the wisdom of a lot of really great panelists we’ve had in the past. So that being said, and Uwe, unless you have anything else, I think we’re at a wrap for today.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (56:36):
We are. Thank you very much. That was awesome. Very, very, awesome.
Bill Connor (56:40):
Thank you.
Frank Scandura (56:42):
It’s always a pleasure to be part of the show guys, thank you very much for allowing me this opportunity.
Edgar Reyes (56:49):
Of course. Truly, truly honored to be here.
Bill Connor (56:51):
And we’ve got one minute left. So what’s your secret sauce
Uwe Kleinschmidt (56:56):
In one minute?
Bill Connor (56:57):
One minute or less
Edgar Reyes (56:59):
Care about people more than anything else and that everything else will fall in place.
Bill Connor (57:04):
Good job. Look at Edgar go. There you go. Go.
Frank Scandura (57:09):
Never put money ahead of people.
Bill Connor (57:11):
There you go. Alright, thank you guys. Have a great day. Go out and make some money and while your customers, thanks. All
Edgar Reyes (57:18):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (57:19):
Thank you.

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