Efficient system solutions like fluid management systems, lubricant dispensers, and portable pumps provide speed, accuracy, and flexibility to handle liquids in the workshop. Even small auto dealers and fast-lube shops have started to use highly sophisticated fluid management systems for daily operations aiming to reduce wastage, improving cleanliness and safety at work.
What common liquids are used on a regular and voluminous basis in the workshop? It starts with the motor oil, AdBlue®, mineral oils, coolant, grease, window wash fluid, and more. A variety of liquids depends on the workshop. Different types of liquids follow different industry standards.
Indeed, I took a chance to start my research on this topic, and I discovered new insights. For instance, according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), each transport of oil from one container to another in the workshop can increase ISO cleanliness code by one level. External sources such as foreign particles (dirt, dust) can contaminate liquids easily. Moreover, companies like GRACO, FALCO, or TECALEMIT are continuously implementing innovations, especially in reducing the risk of spilling and contaminating fluids during transport from bulk containers and drums.
More precisely, there is a trend in reducing the numbers of liquid transfers in the workshop. During vehicle inspections, technicians can directly pump fluids from their portable bulk containers into gearbox compartments, coolers, and wherever fluids are needed. Less downtime, less manual handling, and reduction of residual fluids in the drums, increasing workshop efficiency into the next level. Moreover, by keeping the workshop clean, industry standards become more comfortable to maintain.
In addition to these modern facilities, there is something else that could increase efficient operations with liquids in the workshop. Now I think about the dealer management systems. Let us imagine the end-to-end solution where fluid management systems and oil dispensers communicate with the DMS smoothly. Technicians pump oil into the gearbox, and data (the type of liquid, dispenser ID, technician ID, volume) are fully synced with the customer order in the DMS (1.) Alternatively, after scanning the barcode label on the customer's order, technicians can pump the required liquid type with the right volume (2.). On the other hand, inventory tracking in the DMS works freely without another person's assistance from the parts department, for instance, a parts picker.
We are now coming back to the starting point of my article. To best follow industry standards, you can start asking yourself:
By developing new product propositions as a product manager, you should ask similar questions to gain insight, understand product potential and evaluate customers' value. Many times we must challenge the status quo, and this is right! In our next product release, we offer dealers the bidirectional framework to enable communication between different liquid dispensers and our DMS. For instance, both user cases (1., 2.) described in my article are part of that. That may speak volumes.
Dr. Juraj Hanus
Product Management incadea.dms