The Mitchell 2016 Road Show Heads to Indiana and Michigan
Chase Miller remembers first coming to his father’s shop, Miller’s Body & Chassis in Waynetown, Ind., when he was 9 years old. Today, he’s the manager, and as his father, Mike, looks ahead to retirement from the 47-year-old business, Miller is focused on becoming a great businessman.
Even though Miller is still working in the back, he’s started paying more attention to new software and technology, including new products from Mitchell.
According to Miller, one of the biggest obstacles facing the industry today is the rapid pace that new technology keeps coming out.
“It’s moving at such a fast rate that you almost can’t grasp technology quick enough,” Miller says. “Every year, more products come out. It’s essential to find a way to utilize them.”
The five-employee shop has used Mitchell products since before Miller even started working at the shop 10 years ago, so finding Mitchell as a partner wasn’t an issue.
“My dad used to use the Mitchell Manuals and we’ve always been happy with the company,” Miller says.
The shop, which produces 5-8 repair orders per week, now uses Mitchell eClaim Manager, Mitchell Estimating and Mitchell RepairCenter.
“By using Mitchell, I’ve learned the importance of time tracking. I understand how valuable our time is,” Miller explains. “Paying for our labor is our biggest expense and also our biggest income. If you can use software to educate employees on how to become more efficient, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
One of Miller’s favorite features of RepairCenter is that it can be used to show employees concrete examples of what is going on in the shop to help them better understand where there is waste or inefficiencies.
“Our production times have increased, profit margins have increased—across the board it has improved,” Miller says. “I use Mitchell’s products to keep things in front of my staff’s face. If they don’t know, if you can’t present them with evidence, they won’t know why they’re being rewarded or reprimanded. People need an explanation. They need to see it.”
The Mitchell Road Show then headed to Michigan the following day, making a stop at another long-tenured Midwest shop—the original, Clarkston location of Clarkston Auto Body Inc.
The Clarkston facility, founded in 1976 by Paul Verhey, is one of two for the company in Michigan. The other, Clarkston Auto Body II, is in Waterford. When Verhey retired in 1990, his son, Dale, moved into ownership along with his wife Carol. Today, the Clarkston location has 10 employees and manages 25-30 ROs per week.
Similar to what Miller sees in Indiana, Clarkston general manager Brian Perkins also sees many challenges in keeping up with technology, but he understands how useful and important it is to remain up-to-date, including becoming certified through various OEMs. The shop had once struggled with a backlog of work, so Perkins looked for scheduling software to fix it.
“That’s what led us to getting Mitchell’s RepairCenter,” he says. “We needed a better way to schedule. We had a massive overflow of work. We had been backlogged for about a year and a half. We were always weeks behind.”
He knew that something needed to be done, so he began researching different scheduling tools. After demoing products and speaking with other shops, Mitchell was chosen as the shop’s partner. The shop uses both RepairCenter and Mitchell Estimating.
“The scheduling tool in RepairCenter is what really sold us on Mitchell,” Perkins says. “The scheduling is above and beyond. We don’t have cars sitting around like we used to.”
Clarkston Auto Body mainly uses RepairCenter for the scheduling, web status and email updating.
“The software allows you to look quickly see exactly where cars are in the process,” Perkins says. “Our customer service rep says Mitchell’s software is much easier for her to manage than the old software.”
Another added benefit that Perkins saw partnering with Mitchell was the support the shop received. Before Clarkston Auto Body made the decision, Mitchell matched it up with a shop that was similar in size and used the same accounting system. Through that shop, Perkins was able to get a real idea for how well the product would work at Clarkston.
Visit mitchell.com/usroadshow to see all previous 2016 Road Show stops.