DOWNINGTOWN, Pa.It's been a banner year in the automotive industry for vehicle recallsnot something auto makers are celebrating.
Recalls have numbered in the tens of millions in 2014 for a plethora of issues, including faulty ignition switches, brake problems, tire pressure monitoring system glitches and airbags that could deploy, sending shards of shrapnel into drivers and passengers.
With these vehicle recalls top-of-mind, some in the tire industry are aiming to make the tire registration process better. Bolt On Technology is one company that is working to make this process simplified and time efficient.
Bolt On's Report Pro is a module that works as an add-on to a company's shop management system. The company claims it can be integrated into some of the systems used widely today, such as Mitchell Manager, Snap-On ShopKey, Napa Tracs, etc.
Some companies have created ways to allow installers to supply U.S. Department of Transportation tire ID codes and then they communicate on behalf of the location for a fee, said Mike Risich, Bolt On Technology's CTO and founder. However, tire manufacturers have their own websites where that information can be done without a fee.
...(W)e've created a tool in Report Pro that simply allows the user...(to) open up Report Pro, go into tire registration and click on the manufacturer for which the tires were installed, Mr. Risich told Tire Business.
Bolt On has 25 tire manufacturers already pre-programmed in Report Pro, he said, so a shop just needs to choose that manufacturer's button in the program, which then launches the manufacturer's website and autopopulates about 85 to 90 percent of the content from the shop management system.
Therefore, a user has to add only a few details that were either not collected or could not be automated, he added. From there, the user clicks finish and submits the data to be tracked for the tire manufacturer.
One tire dealer, Tom Gebbie of Lansdale, Pa.-based Gebbie's AutoCare, said that until recently, tire registration meant bookmarking each tire manufacturer's website, navigating there and inputting the customer and tire information. This process could take several minutes for each registration.
Report Pro's one-click tire registration has been live for several months. Mr. Risich said the feedback from users has been that it is cutting the time to register by 80 to 90 percent. It is something users may have been doing manually beforeinstead of three to five minutes, it now takes seconds.
It's been very handy, Mr. Gebbie said. This is definitely an improvement.
To hear an audio clip from Mr. Risich's interview, visit www.tirebusiness.com/BoltOnTireRegistration.
Report Pro has a number of features and benefits for shops, Mr. Risich said. One of the biggest pluses, he claimed, is its ability to customize the invoice that is given to a vehicle owner when paying for the service work performed at a shop.
He said Report Pro is able to do many more things than just reports at the request of users. The module allows a shop to generate future rich information results by diving into data they are collecting through the shop's management system.
Bolt On may be able to offer users a solution with one report, instead of having to look at several, he said. The company works with tire dealers to see what their needs are. For instance, one data report Bolt On saw a need for and is now being used a lot in Report Pro is a stale tires report. Mr. Risich said this feature takes a look at what kind of inventory a dealership may have and how often it may or may not be turning that inventory over.
Bolt On was founded in 2008 after Mr. Risich started helping automotive shops with their software needs. He said he was a Microsoft developer in the Philadelphia area for 15 years, and while he was teaching a community education course, he met a shop owner who asked him to assist him with the software he was using.
Mr. Risich acknowledged being taken aback by how far behind the retail tire industry was in comparison with other industries.
So he began working with some other dealers as well, writing software code for technology that was repeatable and started to sell those as add-on modules to multiple automotive shops.
Today, Bolt On is focused on driving innovation through workflow automation and best practices through software integration, he said.
What we've identified is the opportunity for us to engage with those management systems and actually make their products better and stronger by picking up where they've left off.
Report Pro is just one of the add-on modules Bolt On offers. The company also markets Lube Sticker Pro, Message Manager Pro, Mobile Manager Pro, Pro Call and more. More information is available on its website at www.boltontechnology.com.
To reach this reporter: [email protected] crain.com; 330-865-6143. Twitter:@jenniferkarpus