The workshop of the future: Digitalization is also affecting automotive companies

04. Mar 2021 | Industry + More

Cars can do more and more, are increasingly being driven by an electric motor and are becoming more and more digital. The automotive industry has been reinventing itself, and that has been the case for years. For automotive workshops, this means: Always keeping pace with the times, observing trends and investing in equipment, machinery and know-how. However, predicting the trends that need to be reacted to and in what form is a challenge that should not be underestimated.

So it’s hardly surprising that, according to a survey carried out by the “Qualität ist Mehrwert” (quality is added value) initiative, 68 percent of the 350 workshops surveyed, believe that it is only moderately well prepared for the future. Whether it’s digital change in general or driver assistance systems, electric mobility and networking specifically: The wealth of topics and their complexity can prove too much even for experienced experts.

But it is also clear that: Only those who adapt and invest in the future have a future. “Krafthand” Editor in Chief Torsten Schmidt recently emphasised once again how important it is for the independent workshops to address the “technology of electric and network vehicles early on”.

Having to keep up at all times requires discipline, persistence and, of course, budget. The reward: Competitive edge. Anyone who has the latest must-haves should address the other possibilities that go hand in hand with the digital change sooner or later.

Digital marketing 

More and more workshops are focussing on digital communication. But not all. Doing so enables vehicle companies to successfully run online advertising and social media communication to gain new customers and secure customer loyalty with very reasonable budgets and manpower.

Customer contact 3.0

Even if personal contact is particularly important to most customers: Many customers want an online deadline agreement, digital order documents or even remote diagnosis via app. Digital contact options are particularly popular with the 18-34 year-olds: 48 percent favour contact by e-mail, WhatsApp and the like.

Digital process and software optimisation

In most automotive companies, the various software systems (such as inventory management, accounting or catalogue and diagnostic systems) are hardly linked with each other at all. As a result, data maintenance is often redundant and therefore time-consuming. Networked IT solutions can already be used to automate repair and inventory processes.

The networked car and real-time data

In future, the networked car will open up potential for new business models. Workshops can use the vehicle data from different vehicle manufacturers or dongle suppliers to offer their customers individual services. Thanks to the real-time data, workshops could therefore detect potential faults and contact customers before they become a problem.