By Tara Taffera
“Glass is not the simple business it used to be.” I couldn’t have stated that more succinctly, but I can’t take credit. Those words were from Mark Haeck, vice president of business development for Mainstreet Computers.
The auto glass business is anything but simple. An intricate map with no key in sight, yes. Simple, no, but there are tools you can use to make your job easier. We often lump this into the category of software, but that often conjures up an image of a program that performs one or two functions. Suppliers of these products, and the shop owners who use them, tell us that’s not the case. It’s a data platform that tackles all parts of a job, starting with quotes, pricing, NAGS and VIN look-up functions, insurance information, scheduling, parts ordering and more. So yes, more than just a singular piece of software. Those days are long gone.
The other big part of such a system is storing the data. It is vital to make sure you have enough server space to do so. And who keeps the data if you switch providers? These are all critical questions that shop owners advise you to research before investing in a system.
So check out the article on page 12, which outlines the key components to consider when searching for software solutions. One of those items is a VIN look-up tool, which is also detailed in the article. With windshields and ADAS features becoming more common—and complex—it’s essential to have tools at your disposal to help provide the answer almost instantaneously. And sometimes, one isn’t enough. One auto glass shop owner uses three VIN decoders, hoping two out of three will come up with a match. These functions were necessary before but are now crucial as ADAS features increase in popularity.
This is incredibly hopeful for shop owners working in a trade where every task takes longer. Saving even ten minutes in a particular function adds up over time. What’s on the horizon is exciting. For example, the article talks about a new product in development that could tell you what type of calibration is needed.
Now, if you could only clone yourself, let me know if you figure that out. Take care, and email me at email@example.com to tell me what products you use to simplify your systems.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.