Treat the System not the Symptom

Andrew Technician Commack, New York Posted   Latest  

Awhile ago some industry vets gave me this advice and I've always appreciated the broader view it takes to automotive service.

In general the incentives in the industry encourage us to find a problem, fix it, and move on to the next car. Sometimes by focusing on the vehicle system as a whole we can avoid comebacks, find more sales opportunities, and deliver an overall higher quality of service. The thinking could be along the lines that a vehicle is more than its individual parts and the quality of one repair depends on the rest of the system also performing correctly.

Not all customers are interested in getting more than the bare minimum of work done, and not all shop management is willing to compensate the extra time this takes, so this is not a universal strategy.

For safety related systems I would recommend taking the systems related approach regardless. You can put new brakes on a car with worn out tires all day long and it won't do much to improve the car. You can also put new front brakes on without checking the rears and overlook something like leaking wheel cylinders.

I don't mean to criticize technicians here I am just tossing this out there because it had an eye opening effect for me as a technician on the work that I do.

What have your experiences been in the Part vs System repair view?

David Mobile Technician
Rimforest, California
David Default

This is why I am self-employed. I would not be “efficient“ enough at a shop (let alone at a dealer) to last. However, very, very rarely do I have a comeback. I have built a very loyal client base that values my work and keeps me busy!

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default

It is a very complex topic. Here is my brief overview response. What you referred to as "Part Repair View" is the easiest and most profitable for the service providers. It much better accommodates tight schedules, impresses the customer with speed and estimate expectations, and produces more revenue per vehicle. "System Repair" is much better in general for the customer, and provides much more

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Mobile Technician
Rimforest, California
David Default

I suppose it depends on your goal. Of course we all want to be profitable. My personality style drives me to be more of a “craftsman” rather than getting as many jobs out as possible. Hence being self-employed allows me to be profitable. This is what works for me and what I choose to do.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Christopher Technician
San Antonio, Texas
Christopher Default

I employ a holistic approach by necessity, as the dealership eats the parts and I eat the labor on any further repairs required to resolve a particular issue that wasn't fixed the first time. When I was on my own I was the same way, but my thoroughness prompted more people to buy newer cars than fix theirs. That still happens, but oddly it's not nearly as often.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Steven Instructor
Cumming, Georgia
Steven Default

Great topic Andrew! My comments are oriented toward automotive repair centers engaged in, more or less, bumper to bumper service. I believe everyone wins when a "holistic", "craftsmanship" approach is used...very appropriate words used above. Granted, some customers do not want to hear about anything other than immediate failures, but the key word here is SOME. Many other customers absolutely

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Patrick Diagnostician
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Patrick Default

Performing the "bare minimum", in the customers point of view, does not always jive with our idea of the "bare minimum". My idea of the bare minimum returns a vehicle to the customer that, 1. addresses their concern for bringing the vehicle in for service, 2. is safe to drive. If both can not be met, the car will not be repaired by me. It is our job as "the expert" to educate customers of

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded