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Old 14th October 2020, 23:25   #1
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Default Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

Whenever you go to get your car serviced in an authorised service stations, there is a physical job card which is opened. In most cases you are given the green colour customer copy while you hand over the car to them. This is made up of thin thickness paper while a blue colour jobcard having more thickness which is a carbon copy of the green customer copy is retained by the workshop.

Now, till your car is in the ASS, this job card is the most important document of yours in the workshop for your car. It doesn't stay at one place. It hops from once place to another. It has an interesting journey. It could slightly differ from workshop to workshop or OEM to OEM but the journey is broadly the same.

The job card contains all the important details about your car like your car registration number, VIN, Engine number, your address, mobile phone number, date of registration, job card number etc.

There is also an inventory check sheet where dents and scratches in your car are noted. Availability of stepney, jack, toolkit, hazard triangle etc. is noted before the customer copy is given to you.

Then comes the most important part, the job which is to be done. It is either printed or hand written. 1st Free Service, 2nd Free Service, 3rd Free Service, Paid Service, Running Repair, Body Shop, Repeat Complaint etc. are the broad categories. Service Advisors and dealerships are a little reluctant to open job card under "Repeat Complaint" as they don't want to show higher percentage of repeat complaints. After that the service advisor is supposed to write what all work is required in the car as per schedule. In case of additional complaints, service advisor notes down that as well. They also note down if any Value Added Services are to done in the car. As discussed before, they make incentives on it. It is very important for Service Advisor to note down each and every complaint or requirement of customer in the job card, because the same job card goes in the shop floor.

Step 1 - With Service Advisor : Once, taking sign off from customer, service advisor should ideally note down the car details in his/her daily register/file and then hand it over to the floor supervisor. The register is helpful to keep a track of how many cars are in and out, mobile number is also noted so one can call customer if required, if a customer calls to follow up, service advisor can look at the register and update without going to the shop floor. It also helps to track the VAS services sold on which incentives are to be made.

Step 2 - With Floor Supervisor : Service advisor then takes the Job card in the shop floor and hand it over to floor supervisor. It is kept at a tray on Floor Supervisor desk and he hands it over to the next available mechanic. If something is urgent or there are special instructions, Service Advisor needs to inform the floor supervisor about it. It is very important that Service Advisor has good relationship with Floor Supervisor so that his car can be allotted to a technician fast as well as being allotted to a good technician. Floor supervisor also maintains his daily register with status of all job cards.

Step 3 - With Technician : Floor supervisor allots the job card to the technician who gets available. The technician then goes to the parking lot with job card in hand. Finds the car and gets it in his allotted bay. Reads the job card and starts the work written in it. For the parts already mentioned in the job card by the Service Advisor (Eg. Oils, Filters, Coolants etc.), the technician takes the job card to the parts issue counter and gets the parts mentioned in the job card. There is an entry for these parts also done in the job card. If technician sees that more parts are required to be changed or more work is to be done, he makes a note of it in job card and gives it to the service advisor.

Step 4 - With Service Advisor for customer approval : An experienced service advisor would mostly know the parts and labour costs of regular repairs like Clutch, Brakes, Wipers, etc. For things for which they are not sure, the Service Advisor goes to the spare parts department and asks the part cost as well as availability. To confirm the labour costs, they can check it in labour chart or in the Dealer Management System. A good service advisor would not blindly believe what technician says but would check for himself, if whatever the technician is asking is actually required. Once, they get the complete estimate of parts and labour, they call the customer to take their approval. Customer is explained whatever is required to be done in the car and approximate cost for it. Usually they keep 10-20% buffer so that in case a small sundry part is required to be changed, it can be done. Also, it delights the customer if actual bill is lesser than estimate. If Service Advisor over estimates the cost by a very high margin, then customer might even deny to do the work. On basis of approval received or not received, the Service Advisor takes the job card to technician and informs him what to do and what not to do. Which work is approved and which is not approved by customer is also mentioned in the job card by Service Advisor.

Step 5 - With the technician while doing approved work : The technician starts working on the car for the jobs approved by the customer and confirmed by Service Advisor. The job card is usually kept inside the car usually in the sunvisor. To issue any additional parts, the technician takes the job card to the spare parts issue window and gets them. Usually for every issue of parts, a receipt is stapled to the job card which has details and quantities of parts issued. It is a carbon copy with original with spare parts team.

Step 6 - During Test Drive : Assuming that there is no more work required to be done and everything is done properly, the car is sent for a test drive to check if all complaints are addressed. It is mostly taken for test drive by Final Inspector. In case there are some critical things to be checked or if its a repeat complaint or a known customer, or if he is getting bored in workshop, Service Advisor would also accompany the Final Inspector. They might also tag along the technician at times. If some issue is repeating again and again, then even Floor supervisor can come. It is very important that job card is in the car during test drive. In case traffic police stops and asks for papers, they can get away by just showing the job card and mentioning that its a customers car for service in workshop.

Step 7 - Closing the job card at shop floor : Once the Final Inspector and Service advisor gives okay, the job card is signed by Final Inspector, Technician and Floor Supervisor. The car is sent for washing and job card is sent to the spare parts department.

Step 8 - Spare part audit : One of the executives of spare parts department cross checks each and every part entry in the job card with the ones in system and then signs it. This is one of the bottle necks because all off a sudden in evening, lots of job card gets closed and usually there is only one spare parts executive who does this audit. Here also, the Service Advisor has to ensure that his job cards move fast and put pressure on the parts executive to be quick.

Step 9 - With Billing Executive : This is another bottle neck. There is usually only one billing executive in ASS. He/she gets lots of load during evening time. Billing executive bills the customer for all the parts, labour and VAS. Service Advisor needs to have a good relationship with this person so that their bills are made fast and the executive doesn't get too adventurous adding lots of labour amount one after another! In some dealerships Service Advisors themselves make the bills, but it can be a "conflict of interest" as advisor might try to under bill if the amount is going above his estimate.

Step 10 - Audit by Accounting team : Next the job card goes to the table of a accounting team member. They would verify if there is no amount pending from this customer. This thing happens quickly as its very rare that dealership would have anything recoverable from customer in first place as they strictly don't give credit. If its a corporate customer then they might have a credit policy with the dealership, the account executive informs if they are close to their credit limit or have crossed it. If crossed, then approval of Works manager is required to release the job card. They would enter the bill amount as amount receivable from the customer in the system.

Step 11 - With the service Advisor : Once bill is prepared and checked by the accounts team, all the papers including bill, job card, feedback form etc. stays on the tray of the Service Advisor waiting for customer.

Step 12 - Explaining the customer : Once the customer comes to collect the car, the service advisor takes the set of the papers as explained above (bill, job card etc.) and explains the work done and the bill to the customer. Ideally, this discussion should happen near the car but its not possible for every customer, especially in evening when load is high.

Step 13 - Cashier : Once customer is satisfied with the explanation done by the service advisor, they are escorted by the Service Advisor to the cash counter to make the payment. Even if there is zero bill, it is still taken to the cashier. Customer makes the payment to the cashier, cashier enters in the system, makes the customer sign the job card that he is satisfied with the work done and gives them the Gate Pass.

Customer shows the gate pass to the service advisor where customer is taken to his car again by the advisor. Customer gives the gatepass to the security, security checks it and then opens the gate for customer to leave.

Step 14 - Filing : Next day all the job cards with cashier are filed. Day wise file is prepared and the physical file is kept in dealership for the records. In case of any complaint by the customer, the physical job card can be retrieved to check if everything was done properly, approvals taken, who was the technician, who was final inspector etc.

So, as you can see the Job Card moves around the workshop while the car goes for service. The owner of the job card is the Service Advisor and he/she has to ensure that it moves in the correct direction for all the open job cards in their name. A good and proactive Service Advisor would always ensure faster movement of the Job Card.

At times you would have reached the workshop in the evening to collect your car. The car is ready but still it is taking time for you to make the payment and take the delivery, most likely it is because the Job Card is stuck somewhere above in the bottle necks and Service Advisor runs helter-skelter to move it!
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Old 15th October 2020, 14:57   #2
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

Spot on fazayal. While this is the process followed at most of the larger workshops out there, this is the main reason I don't prefer going to big places.

These steps make the organisation better, but there is usually 2 problems in this approach -
1. Taking the car in for work takes 30-60 minutes at times
2. Billing is another area where delays happen.

Also, most service centres insist you pay first and then take the car out for trial. If some issue comes up, they say will fix it tomorrow / next week, its like that only... and so on.

Ideally, the service advisor should be the one who's handling taking the car in, trial run before and after, billing and delivery to make it a smoother affair.

In smaller workshops, the SA does most of the work and results in faster turnaround for the customer. As an example, at my preferred Fiat workshop in town, the job card is prepared when the car is brought it or after a test drive. Confirmation for parts etc is taken over call / WhatsApp and delivery happens after a trial. Payment is 5 min affair with just taking a printout and paying them via card / cash.
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Old 15th October 2020, 17:31   #3
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post

Also, most service centres insist you pay first and then take the car out for trial. If some issue comes up, they say will fix it tomorrow / next week, its like that only... and so on.

.
Really? I have never come across this. Technically the customer should check the car first and make payment only when satisfied. In fact, while making the payment, this is the disclaimer on which customer signs. There is no way service centre can tell customer to pay first and then only check the car. If complained to OEM, they would pull the dealer hard.

If you want Service Advisor to attend you with full focus during drop as well as pickup, drop the car in afternoon and pick it up next afternoon. This is the time when there aren't many customers in the workshop. Your bill would already be ready till then. Even if not ready, it won't take much time. Advisor would also be relatively free and explain everything to you properly. Even washing quality would be better because washing guys won't be hurrying like they do in evenings.
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Old 15th October 2020, 20:30   #4
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

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Originally Posted by fazayal View Post

If you want Service Advisor to attend you with full focus during drop as well as pickup, drop the car in afternoon and pick it up next afternoon. This is the time when there aren't many customers in the workshop. Your bill would already be ready till then. Even if not ready, it won't take much time. Advisor would also be relatively free and explain everything to you properly. Even washing quality would be better because washing guys won't be hurrying like they do in evenings.
I prefer being one of the 1st customers in early in the morning by 08:00 or so. The car would probably be ready by afternoon and there are no hiccups. I always ask them not to wash my car so that's a saving in terms of time.
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Old 15th October 2020, 21:09   #5
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

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I prefer being one of the 1st customers in early in the morning by 08:00 or so. The car would probably be ready by afternoon and there are no hiccups. I always ask them not to wash my car so that's a saving in terms of time.
Most workshops open for business at 9. If you reach early, you could be the first in line to get your job card opened, but still the service advisor won't be able to spend much time with you in the morning as he would have other customers waiting in line.
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Old 16th October 2020, 12:45   #6
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

Excellent insights, Fazayal.

At Honda 4 wheeler service center in B Narayanapura (Bangalore), they say they almost receive around 100-150 cars on a usual weekend for service. It really amazes me how the process flows seamlessly from person to person on the floor. While I have come across few cases where a specific compliant has not been catered, but in general, everything is absolutely fine after the car moves from one spot to the other, from one hand to another!

One quick Q - Now that most of the car service centers (e.g., Honda) have made their job cards online (they enter on an app on their tablets), how do the floor supervisors, mechanics, etc. keep a tab of whats done and whats pending?
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Old 16th October 2020, 13:34   #7
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

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Originally Posted by fazayal View Post
Whenever you go to get your car serviced....Service Advisor runs helter-skelter to move it!
Super. Most car owners have a general understanding of how the process plays out. But you sir, have made it crystal clear. Very nicely done. Thank you.

Believe it or not; despite owning 7 cars in total, I have never been to an ASS Center for my car.* This is because without exception, all my car purchases have been in the used market. So, I get all my work done at my FNG where everything is entirely about shouting and hand waving and head nodding. Strangely I prefer it that way.


P. S.

*Actually, strike that. I have been to ASS Centers exactly twice; and both times, no job card was opened as no work was done on the cars themselves.
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Old 16th October 2020, 16:10   #8
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

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Originally Posted by palsaumik View Post
Excellent insights, Fazayal.

One quick Q - Now that most of the car service centers (e.g., Honda) have made their job cards online (they enter on an app on their tablets), how do the floor supervisors, mechanics, etc. keep a tab of whats done and whats pending?
There would be tabs available with Floor supervisor for sure as well. Plus tabs in the shop floor for technicians to make their entry of their respective digital job cards. There would be large LED/LCD screens in Workshop, Customer waiting area, service advisor reception etc. which would flash the dashboard giving status of every car in the workshop.
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Old 16th October 2020, 17:17   #9
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

Interesting, thanks for sharing.

In many countries around the world the process is very similar. In many western countries you will find that the service advisor prepares your bill and accepts your payment before releasing your car keys back to you. (all done in automated systems)

And of course, a lot of this is going fully digital these days as well. So the paper job card is disappearing, but the flow and the various steps are still there, just digitally.

When I book my (company) car for a service, I do so online in the dealers portal. I can add any comments and or requests I have. When I arrive on the appointed time slot all I do is drop the key, I don’t have to wait or explain, everything is ready and in the system too.

Overall, this works really well. There is one exception. These days it is almost impossible to have a technician quickly check something out on your car. Because they have to follow this process, even for small stuff.

We do see here special "fast service tracks” appearing at main stream dealers. They just have one or two mechanics doing little odd jobs on customer cars with a minimum of administrative burden. A lot of it is often just trouble shooting. E.g. I have a rattle, does it need seeing to?

Taking your car for a trial for just regular servicing is unheard of. If something really extraordinary was done, you might be asked to take it for a test drive before settling the invoice. Otherwise you would just pay. If on the odd chance something was not in order everybody would expect this to be dealt with on the spot.

So all very efficient and all of that.

Many of the smaller independent workshops I know and deal with (see my fiddling with car thread), might not even have something sophisticated as a job card. When you bring your car, you talk to the technician/mechanic (who might be the owner) about what is wrong, needs doing. He just remembers it, or jots it down on some piece of paper.

Some of them don’t deal with invoicing and payment on the premises. They do that over the weekend or at night, from home and they just mail you your invoice. Still a bit of old fashioned trust with smaller outfits and their customers. (which tend to be fiercely loyal)

Jeroen
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Old 16th October 2020, 18:29   #10
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Default Re: Journey of a Job Card in authorised service stations

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Really? I have never come across this. Technically the customer should check the car first and make payment only when satisfied. In fact, while making the payment, this is the disclaimer on which customer signs. There is no way service centre can tell customer to pay first and then only check the car. If complained to OEM, they would pull the dealer hard.

If you want Service Advisor to attend you with full focus during drop as well as pickup, drop the car in afternoon and pick it up next afternoon. This is the time when there aren't many customers in the workshop. Your bill would already be ready till then. Even if not ready, it won't take much time. Advisor would also be relatively free and explain everything to you properly. Even washing quality would be better because washing guys won't be hurrying like they do in evenings.
Totally agree. I have never paid a single rupee upfront for a service. I did pay my local mechanic some advance to procure a spare part but never at a service center in advance. The customer has all the right to check and then pay only when fully satisfied.
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