The world’s most-used spreadsheet shows up in such a wide variety of places that it’s sometimes easy to forget just how much it can impact a business. Far beyond just tracking the bottom line, even a relatively straightforward business like an auto shop can find several uses for Microsoft Excel.

10 Top Uses For Excel in an Auto Shop

Tracking the Bottom Line: Yes, it’s true! You can put Excel to use by giving it your income and your outgo and having it chart your profits over time.

Inventory and Ordering: With a little bit of wizardry, Excel can not only keep track of how much inventory you should have, but it can Email you an alert when you get too low on a particular product, making ordering a breeze.

Doing the Schedule: Of course, Excel can be used to graphically display what times any given employee will be on the clock and thus make it easy to ensure that all of the necessary coverage is there for you.

Customer Tracking: Few businesses need to track customers more accurately over a longer period of time than an auto shop; Excel offers you the power to do just that. By setting up an entry form that gathers the necessary information and then stores it deep in another sheet, you can easily keep records on hundreds of customers and their vehicles over months and years.

Receipts: Because of an auto shop’s specific needs when it comes to breaking down parts, labor, taxes, and other charges, Excel makes for an excellent receipt-making program.

Invoicing: Speaking of templates, Excel comes equipped with a wide variety of templates for invoicing services — like laundry service for your work grubs.

Create Recommendations: Whether you put it on your receipts or on your work orders, Excel’s ability to add drop-down menus to a cell can make it easy for your employees to select an extra bit of maintenance that a customer’s car could use.

Maintain Service Histories: The same drop-down menus that power the ability to offer maintenance recommendations can be used to create standardized service histories that are easy to read and use.

Work Orders: A simple Excel template will allow you to create standardized and easy-to-read work orders that can be printed, modified, and saved with ease.

Customer Reminders: This is clever. Excel can be programmed to send an Email when a cell gets beyond a certain limit — so if you’re doing oil changes that should be done every few months, just collect the customer’s Email address and have Excel use it to send them a helpful Email a few months after they had their oil changed last!

The powers that Excel can offer your auto shop stretch so far beyond merely watching the profit margins that if you’re not using it for more advanced functions, you’re losing out. Stretch it’s wings! Set some automatic alarms for your inventory and some automatic Emails for your customers, and see what Excel can do for you!… READ MORE

When you start to see a pattern in behavioral issues; such as an employee coming in late, here are the things you need to consider:  1) If you don’t nip it in the bud it will get worse. 2) Employees need to be responsible for their own behavior. 3) They need to know why you have a special policy. So, next time an employee starts developing bad behavior patterns, such as arriving late, calling them to the private environment and asking them why they are late. When they have given you their explanation, say something like this …

Employees Coming in Late

“Mike, I realize you’ve been late four times now this month, and let me tell you what concerns me. First of all, if you’re not here at 7:30 in the morning, the first thought that comes to mind is that you or someone in your family might be sick or injured, and you might need my second thought was that your car might be damaged, or you might be in an accident, and I began to wonder if I should send Larry or Frank out to look for you. complicates matters even further, when you are not here on time, and I stand at the service counter, I don’t know what to tell customers who ask me if their car will be ready for the day, and then there’s one more thing, Mike. I just can’t expect anyone else here at Acme Auto Body to be here on time when you don’t, now that I know old habits are hard to break, so this is what I will do. Next time you are late, I will ask why, but it really doesn’t matter because that one will happen to me. If you are late, once again I will ask why, and that will happen to me too. But if you are late for the third time, for whatever reason, it will be a difficult day for me, Mike, because what I will do is call you to my office, and I will give you your final salary check. Mike, I want to be clear with you. I think of your world, and I will be happy to be working with you for the rest of my life. You are a star, you really are, and I don’t want to see our relationship end, so please don’t put me in a position where I have to let you go. Do we have understanding, Mike? “

Now this is why this is an easy and powerful way to solve behavioral problems. First of all, many employees will think, “Gosh, what’s a few minutes?” They will tell themselves that they often work through breaks, overtime, etc., so you can see how easy it is for them to think that you are not only choosing, but that you are being very unfair. That is why it is very important for you to tell them that it is not the minutes you are worried about; instead, … READ MORE