Leadership General Fixed Operations Technology

The Human Element

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Just uttering the word “technology” can elicit myriad reactions—running the gamut from exhilarating to horrifying.

On one end of the spectrum, advances in computer systems and artificial intelligence have led to a higher quality of life. Technology can (and has) helped cure diseases, better control the world’s food supply, and open up an era of incredible interconnectedness that has forever altered the way people communicate and go about their daily lives.

Of course, on the other side of the argument: Robots will take our jobs.

That’s a joke, but I don’t mean to make light of anyone’s trepidation surrounding technological advancements; there are legitimate concerns, starting with the very fact that as technology replaces many tasks formerly performed by real, live people, there is often a personal, human element that’s lost, not to mention a tangible loss of jobs in some cases.

I’m going out on a very short and sturdy limb here in assuming many of you fall more in line with that first group mentioned, rather than the second. In this month’s cover story, “Connected,” you’ll find a number of examples of fixed operations departments seeking out the latest technology available to them and using it to better the customer experience. We’re in the midst of a tech boom in this industry, and many of the body shops, service drives and parts departments at dealerships across the country are leading the way.

But here’s my point with all of this, and, really, it’s a point that’s been made countless times by people far more qualified than me to make it: Technology aids in creating efficiencies in the tasks your business—any business—performs, which ultimately allows more opportunity to make true connections to customers.

Whatever the potential outcomes could be, the fear of the unknown can’t cause hesitancy in making decisions that better your business and improve the quality of life for you and your team. Technology won’t replace the human element that makes your businesses great, but it will change the way you operate. And in the end, long-term success likely will come down to how you react. Is the advancement of technology an issue or an opportunity? Well, that’s up to you to decide.

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