By Mike Pickford
Kelowna, British Columbia -- September 1, 2016 -- Following months of development two renowned Canadian tech organizations today (September 1) launched a brand new “next generation” management system in an attempt to simplify, streamline and improve administrative processes for collision repair professionals across the continent.
BodyshopConnect is a new Cloud-based management system designed to “connect the dots” for shop owners in the industry that want to bring their company into the new age of technology, that according to Sharon Ashley of Micazen Consulting and Technologies.
“The whole premise behind BodyshopConnect is to build a new management system that’s both visual and versatile and will help collision repair facilities succeed by connecting their shops to the future with the right technology,” Ashley told Collision Repair magazine. “This is a revolutionary, next-generation management system designed by technical people who have actually worked in the industry and know what shops actually want and need in order to streamline their businesses.”
Boasting over 20 years of bodyshop experience, Ashley has covered all aspects of the industry throughout her career. Having graduated from Sheridan College with a degree in computer programming in the 80s, Ashley has spent much of the past ten years consulting and training on a variety of software systems relating to the collision repair industry. She combined both her extensive knowledge of the business with her schooling background to help collaborate on the development of the new system.
The other half of the design team is Paul Chow of LeanStone Technology, who previously worked as an information systems director at a multi-shop collision repair organization for several years before launching his own company in 2008. He co-authored the popular web development book Teach Yourself Great Web Design In a Week and is a former digital media instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Together they’ve built something Ashley believes will benefit the collision repair industry as a whole moving forward.
“Our single focus has and will remain to develop a next generation, state-of-the-art bodyshop management system,” Ashley said. “We decided to build the system because we love the industry and want to help shops out as best we can. We’re trying to eliminate the stress in the shops and help their streamline their businesses and we’re here for the long haul.”
According to Ashley the new multi-faceted program is completely customizable to fit each shop’s individual needs and contains features devised specifically to help collision repair facilities work faster and more efficiently. Proven software in the marketplace that was initially launched by LeanStone Technology over eight years ago such as EstimateConnect, UpdateConnect and PhotoConnect served as the building blocks of this new management system.
UpdateConnect allows for real-time repair tracking for collision centres, insurance companies and customers and serves to enhance automatic communication during the repair process with fully branded email templates. EstimateConnect was designed for anyone that wants to create a quick estimate when at the shop or on the road for small damage repair jobs or menu priced items, while PhotoConnect allows users to transfer, resize and sort images wirelessly to either an online application or a shop’s individual server.
Ashley and Chow conglomerated and improved on the features and functionality of that original software to form BodyshopConnect. Below is a partial recap of some of the functions included with the program.
- Arrival and production schedulers to help with efficiency.
- Full repair and production management for single location or multi-location facilities, providing one place to manage all files throughout the entire repair process.
- Complete parts management that enables shops to manage all parts orders, received parts, back ordered parts, credit returns and partial credit returns from one location.
- Technician tracking centre to help increase shop and worker productivity.
- Automatic estimates and supplement importing to help keep all files updated in live time.
- Job cost management program that tracks the costs on all job related expenses easily and quickly.
- AR management tool that places all accounts receivables in one location for faster and easier management.
- Internal communications system designed to strengthen links between all company employees.
- External communications to keep your brand in front of the customer and keep customers updated throughout the process to help increase CSI.
- Complete media management to help reduce paper usage and improve efficiency by providing direct access to all pictures and documents at all times.
- Quick books and business works accounting interfaces.
According to Ashley, BodyshopConnect could help a shop reduce training and administrative costs and serve to improve cycle times while increasing profits, office efficiency and customer satisfaction.
“The industry has been asking for a product like this for a long time,” Ashley said. “This has and always will be a fast-moving industry. Shop owners need a system that can help take some of the stress away by reducing their workload and helping to improve both their CSI and their bottom line. They need a stable, reliable management system that is going to continue to grow and change at the pace of the industry. At the same time, shops need a management system partner that understand what they are going through and loves this industry as much as they do.”
After going through a successful beta phase across Canada, Ashley believes both the system and the industry is ready for its big launch on September 1.
“We know we have a really strong platform here – the customers that have seen and used it so far have loved it,” Ashley said. “We are excited about the product. It’s completely bilingual – available in English and French – and can easily be translated to other languages moving forward. Although it’s awesome just the way it is, we’re committed to continuous enhancements and the addition of new features on a regular basis. I think the industry is going to be really impressed with what they see.”
For more information on BodyshopConnect, visit bodyshopconnect.com.