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Opinion: Fast-fits evolving into ‘fast-service centres’

Traditional dealer fast-fit centres are starting to evolve into "fast-service centres", according to motor industry consultancy Forester Grant Associates.

The company says the role of the fast-fit is changing.

Tim McGing, managing director at FGA, said: "Over a period of time, jobs carried out have begun to change from pure fast-fit type work such as tyres, exhausts, batteries, brakes, and oil and filter change.

"Today, we are reaching a point where the customer is now expecting to be able to take their car to these centres for a much broader range of work, without having to book an appointment."

He added that fast-service thinking was spilling over into the traditional dealer workshop, blurring the lines between the two types of operation.

He said: "The ‘can do it now’ philosophy of fast-fits has had a major influence on the service workshops seen in many dealers and some manufacturers have adapted this culture and are starting to install it in their networks."

However, McGing said the right combination of processes, people, marketing and branding needed to be put in place for either of these types of operations to become successful.

He said: "We have been working with a number of manufacturers and dealers in this area, taking them through a structured programme designed to help them arrive at profitable business models.

"The process is not revolutionary, taking our customers through steps such as a business audit, market survey, solutions to problems encountered, and on site training, but it provides an ordered and proven approach."

McGing added that changing cultures through involvement of staff had proven to be a key point in Forester Grant creating successful schemes.

He said: "We have been involved in both fast service centre programmes and initiatives designed to create fast-fit type flexibility in normal workshops, and our experience is that it is all about getting your people on board.

"Changing attitudes so that staff fully understand what you are trying to achieve, and providing them with the relevant knowledge and the ability to apply what they learn in the workplace, will pay dividends."

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