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Coats Exceeds Expectations with Automated Inspection Lane

Today’s Service Directors and Managers know that customers today expect a high level of service when they choose to take their vehicle to the dealership. With thousands of customers coming though their service lanes every year, Mike Thomas, Service Director for Toyota Murfreesboro wanted to make sure they could deliver on those expectations while inspecting one hundred percent of the vehicles that came through their doors.

“They’re [customers] accustomed to knowing that when they come in here, they’re going to get a pre-alignment check, their tires checked, and they’re also going to get a multi-point inspection on their vehicle,” said Thomas. “It’s our job to train the customers, and we have trained them that now this is what they expect when they visit our dealership.”

Thomas has high standards for his service department and three years ago when they were using a manual inspection system, they found themselves struggling to keep up when they began running into staffing shortages.

The shortage paired with that previously time-consuming inspection process was a big challenge for the service department, but Thomas said he wasn’t willing to settle for checking anything less than one hundred percent of the cars. To continue to maintain that standard, he sought a solution that could streamline their operations without compromising on meticulousness.

The Inspection Lane Solution

What he found was the Coats automatic, touchless vehicle inspection system. The system captures tread depth, and alignment health, records vehicle condition and damage, and ties it to the license plate on a searchable, cloud-based platform to streamline service lane workflows.

Thomas was no stranger to the Coats brand before learning more about the inspection lane, as he’d previously had Coats wheel service equipment, but was drawn to Coats advanced inspection system.

Thomas worked closely with the Coats team including Senior Product Manager, Kyle Harris from consultation to installation and even now three years later. Harris worked with Thomas and his team to help them determine placement and manage installation logistics and onboarding.

“Understanding the dealership’s objectives was key to integrating the inspection lane,” said Harris. “Murfreesboro Toyota is one of the most disciplined service departments I’ve ever seen so we wanted to make sure that everything aligned perfectly with their SOPs to enable their employees to easily adapt to the new system.”

The Coats system’s placement versatility to diverse dealership settings, including considerations such as surface or flush mount for tread depth measurement and modular build, allowed the dealership to select the best option for their needs.

Integration into the Service Lane Workflow

What Thomas said was great about the Coats system was that his team didn’t have to overhaul any processes, the system fit right into their process with some adjustments.

At Murfreesboro Toyota, customers will enter the service lane and be greeted by an advisor who will escort them to the waiting area, then, a porter will drive the vehicle through the Coats inspection lane system and the service advisor will instantly be able to view those results and bring them to the customer.

“Vehicles coming through our service department have on average about 70,000 miles on them, and the customers know that we’re going to be checking for things like alignment,” said Thomas. “If it didn’t pass the alignment check, it makes it less uncomfortable for the service advisor to go to the customer before the MPI and let them know so they can authorize the service.”

Even though this process stayed nearly the same after the upgrade to Coats, Harris said what the service department hadn’t been anticipating was the speed of the equipment.

“The system was actually a little too fast for them at first, and so that caused them to have to change their process a little bit,” said Harris. “They didn’t have as much time, in other words between greeting the customer and walking them to the customer wait area to when the results would be ready to go because the inspection system is instantaneous. But it also meant that now they could easily search for the results in the system after, so when they were ready, they were then able to pull those results anytime they were needed because everything is cloud-based.”

The Results

This transformed the way service advisors interacted with customers, necessitating adjustments in their timeframes. Yet, ultimately, it streamlined the process, enabling advisors to present comprehensive services more quickly, and further enhancing the customer experience.

“The module of the inspection lane that’s made us the most money is the alignment checker but the module that’s SAVED us the most money are the Bodyguard towers,” said Thomas. “That thing has saved us thousands of dollars over the last couple of years just by being able to take such high-definition video of the car as it drives through and document vehicle condition.”

Thomas’s advice for dealers out there looking into inspection lane technology was simple:

“What you buy only works as good as how well you train your people use it.”


Backed By National Service

Something that Thomas highlighted as important when choosing a new vendor for your service department, is that it’s important to make sure they have the service and team to support you and your product.

“If there was an issue, they’ve [Coats] been great about coming out to fix anything,” said Thomas. “Most of the time the same day or the next. They’ve taken care of us remotely too, I’ve gotten calls that they updated software or something even before we knew it needed something.”

From fine-tuning adjustments to resolving minor issues remotely, Coats ensured uninterrupted operations at Murphysboro Toyota.

“Although the Coats equipment is engineered to perform and designed to last, any piece of shop equipment does need maintenance and service periodically,” said Harris. “Our Coats Direct Service Techs do an excellent job at keeping dealers’ service departments operating to their full potential.”

Coats is committed to addressing the unique needs of dealerships, revolutionizing inspection processes, and enhancing overall operational excellence. For Fixed Ops or Service Directors seeking proven solutions tailored to their dealership’s needs, the Coats offers more than just products, but a strategic partnership that aligns seamlessly with dealership objectives.

To discover how Coats Inspection Lane can transform your dealership’s operations and seamlessly integrate with your established processes, contact sales at 615-934-2576 or click here.

This article was originally seen in Dealer Service magazine. To see the article in the magazine, click here.