While working with a shop on some quality control (QC) issues recently, I discovered they were still using a paper QC checklist.
It reminded me of the somewhat dated checklist that’s among the forms and tools available for free on my website (www.collisionadvice.com). It’s not that such checklists are bad. They serve as a good reminder of the things that are often not quite right and can result in a needless come-back. But a paper system has become an outdated way to accomplish quality control effectively.
I believe shops need to move to an electronic QC process. There are several reasons why.
First, there are more and more young people working in shops who have grown up using computers, tablets and cell phone apps. If you hand them a piece of paper, it’s like a step back in time for them. How else, they may wonder, is this shop not staying up to date?
Second, we’ve all seen people “pencil-whip” forms, signing or initialing the top item on the list and drawing a line from that right down the rest of the list. They may well have done everything on the form, but perhaps not. Just rapidly filling in all the boxes at the end is no substitute for checking each item at the appropriate time. An electronic system helps make employees more accountable.
Third, some of the lawsuits out there related to incomplete or incorrect repairs have raised the industry’s awareness of the need for proper documentation of repairs. An electronic QC process ensures that every step is time- and date-stamped, a record that helps ensure---and document---that things were done properly.
That documentation isn’t just important to you as a business owner. It can be equally important to those with whom you have business agreements, such as automakers that certify your shop or insurance companies. An electronic system allows your shop’s quality control efforts to be more easily audited.
Several electronic quality control systems are out there. CCC Information Services has “Checklists,” which can be customized and integrated with CCC ONE. (It’s a stand-alone product that can be used regardless of what estimating or shop management system you use.) Shops in the Assured Performance Network have access to that network’s electronic QC system. I’m aware of another program out there called “myQCiQ,” and there may well be others.