Release Notes

CONNECT - Setup Guide

Posted by Manuel Soto Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Connect Overview


Dealership Service Departments generate labor revenue by selling hours. Technician time is the most perishable commodity a dealership has to sell; it goes bad every moment (or tenth of an hour) and once gone, it can never be reclaimed. Increasing technician efficiency will yield tremendous gains in profitability when a dealership is busy. Used in conjunction with the MPi’s EDGE WorldClass Inspection tools, EDGE Connect (Connect) can generate significant gains in service department profitability. A small gain of 30 minutes per technician per day can result in tens of thousands of dollars in additional sales when that new found time is applied to work identified through accurate and timely vehicle inspections.

Connect is a communication tool that helps streamline the interactions between advisors, technicians and parts as vehicles move through your dealership. This real-time route sheet tracks the status of every RO through the entire dealership so everyone always knows "who has the ball" in real time. Communications are recorded in notes that are permanently linked to the RO, keeping everyone informed and providing accountability so no one can drop the ball without someone else being there to help pick it back up. It time-stamps the communication process on every RO to create a permanent electronic “paper trail” of what's taken place during the RO life-cycle.

Connect is installed with a standard set of Shop Flags and Shop Notes that are sufficient to record and streamline the typical process activities involved with running a successful service department. This standard set has been developed and refined through the combined experiences of thousands of users and provides the foundation for a successful implementation of Connect. While all Service Departments are similar in most ways, each can have specific characteristics. Therefore, Connect is customizable beyond the standard set of Shop Flags to meet the specific and unique needs of your dealership. As part of the installation of Connect, we will evaluate your individual dealership processes and apply any additional flags to ensure that Connect will increase the efficiency of your Service Department, leading to more available hours to sell without increasing personnel or bricks and mortar.

Features & Benefits

Reduces the need for technicians to physically walk around the dealership looking for information, requesting for parts pricing, parts to be pulled, checking with advisors, etc.

  • Significantly reduces the time needed to share information between technicians, parts and advisors to increase shop efficiency.
  • Tracks and identifies bottlenecks in your process to eliminate them.
  • Allows you to deliver estimates to your customer faster, allowing them to make better more informed purchasing decisions.
  • Shop Notes allow your staff to communicate, store and permanently retrieve specific inspection information to each RO.
  • Provides more accurate promise times to your customers.
  • Allows any other dealership departments to easily communicate with service department staff
  • Keeps technicians in their bays to improve shop capacity by an average of over 30 minutes per technician each day.

[testimonial author="Tom Craft - Service Director - Patty Peck Honda"]World Class Connect has made a real difference at our dealership. The real time route sheet has improved the overall efficiency of our shop and has significantly decreased the time it takes for parts to be delivered to the technicians. The increased level of accountability it provides has helped change the culture at our store and has improved the level of service we're able to provide to our customers.

[testimonial author="Tim Sauter – Service Director - R & H Motorcars"]As a large Mercedes-Benz dealership we maintain a large fleet of loaner vehicles. Switching the tracking of this fleet to Connect has allowed our coordinator to reduce, by about an hour a day the time it takes her to manage the fleet. Also, we’ve have been able to move the average time out with a loaner from 9 days to 4 days. This wasn’t something that took a long time to accomplish; we saw these results in the first two weeks![/testimonial]

[testimonial author="Jason Jurick - Shop Foreman - Penske Toyota of Rancho Santa Margarita"]I was reluctant to try Connect when we first launched, I guess I didn’t understand what it was going to accomplish. But now I don’t think I would work at a dealership that didn’t have Connect in place. I and my team are so much more effective, I would never want to go back.[/testimonial]

Connect - Shop Flag 1

The main purpose of Shop Flag 1 is to electronically manage the flow of the vehicle and RO as it makes its way through the dealership. The standard set-up includes flags that are universal to all dealerships. Additional flags can be added to address unique wants and needs, but dealerships are encouraged to keep the initial set-up of Shop Flags simple. User acceptance and efficiency gains are greatest when the tool remains simple to use. When needed, dealerships are encouraged to add new flags and complexity after users are comfortable with the tool.

Note: Any change to Shop Flags require a user to log-off and then log back on to EDGE for those changes to been visible to the user. Therefore, it is recommended that any changes be made after hours and all users be required to log back in at the start of the next day.

 Standard Flag Setup - Shop Flag 1

[custom_table style="2"]

FlagWho Sets ItWho Acts On It
Attention PartsAnyone who needs to provide information to or needs a response from Parts.No Action Required.
Working in PartsParts, indicating that a specific individual is working on the request.Parts Only (by changing to Working in Parts and beginning to complete request found in Shop Notes).
Attention Service Advisor - See NotesAnyone who needs a response from the service advisor.Service advisor (by opening Shop Notes and reading request).
Customer Contacted - Decision PendingService advisor, after sending an Action Plan and/or contacting the customer.No Action Required.
Recs Approved - 1 or MoreService Advisor, when at least one recommendation has been approved and can be performed.Technician (by requesting parts when ready to begin work; selecting Attention Parts and entering request in Shop Notes).
Attention TECH – See NotesAnyone needing a response from Technician.Technician (by opening Shop Notes to identify request) (often used to notify tech that parts have been pulled).
All Recs DeclinedService Advisor, when customer declines all additional work.Technician (by completing all approved work).
Tech Working on VehicleTechnician, when work is underway.TNo Action Required.
RO on Hold - See NotesAnyone who needs to place the RO on hold, usually Parts due to no availability, Notes are entered with details.No Action Required.
All Repairs CompleteTechnician, when all work is complete.Service Advisor (by preparing for the customer and vehicle delivery).
Vehicle ready for deliveryService Advisor, when the vehicle and paperwork is ready for the customer to pick-up.No Action Required.


Optional Flags - Shop Flag 1

[custom_table style="2"]

FlagWho Sets ItWho Acts On It
Carry Over – Customer ContactedService Advisor, when the vehicle needs to stay overnight.No Action Required.
Booking CompleteWhoever completes the final booking of the Repair Order.No Action Required.
Vehicle to WashTechnician when work is complete and vehicle is being sent to wash.Service Advisor (by preparing for vehicle to be delivered).
Attention Manager – See NotesAnyone needing the manager.Manager (by opening Shop Notes and reading the request) (often used with Notifier).
Attention Sales – See NotesAnyone needing to relay information to the Sales Department contact.The Sales Department contact (by opening Shop Notes and reading the request) (often used with Notifier).
Attention ForemanTechnician when needing authorization on a warranty repair.Shop Foreman (by receiving notification through Notifier).


Shop Flag 2

ShopFlagTwoThe primary use of Shop Flag 2 is to track parts availability. Typically Parts uses Shop Flag 2 to communicate to the service advisors and technicians that all needed parts are available or if not, when they could be available. This allows the advisor to properly communicate this information to the customer, setting the right expectation for the completion of their services. It also allows the technician to stay productive by switching to a new job when the needed parts are not yet available.

Shop Flag 2 does not change the color of a repair order line on the EDGE RO screen but does display icons. The icons in Shop Flag 2 provide a quick visual that is easy for users to see and know their meanings, however any specific details need to be added into the Shop Notes so all users can, when needed access them.

 Optional Flags for Shop Flag 2

In addition to using Shop Flag 2 for tracking parts availability, and at times instead of, some dealerships use this flag to track other processes that are important to them. When used in other ways, these dealerships rely on Shop Notes to track parts availability. Shop Flag 2 is customizable to allow dealerships to expand their use of Connect to solve their unique business needs. Examples of how dealerships have used Shop Flags 2 as well as Shop Flag 3 are listed in a separate document called Connect Unique Applications which is also available from MPi.

Shop Flag 3

ShopFlag3Shop Flag 3 is most often used by our clients to better manage their delivery commitments to their customers. Their writers use this flag to record “Promise Times” so everyone knows when that RO and vehicle need to be complete and ready for the customer.


Optional Flags for Shop Flag 3

In addition to using Shop Flag 3 for tracking promise times, and at times instead of, some dealerships use this flag to track other processes that are important to them. Shop Flags 2 and 3 are customizable to allow dealerships to expand their use of Connect to solve their unique business needs. Examples of how dealerships have used Shop Flags 2 and 3 are listed in a separate document called Use Cases (Connect) which is also available from MPi.

Connect - Shop Notes

ShopNotesShop Notes are a unique feature of Connect that allow everyone within the dealership a single centralized place to enter,

archive and retrieve communications that are permanently linked to the specific repair order. The individual adding notes is recorded along with when they made the entry, reducing any confusion around parts requests, pricing, timing and other areas that are often not clear at dealerships without Connect.

Shop Notes are internal facing communications only, visible to all users of EDGE but are not available to the customer. Shop Notes are not included in any documents or customer facing materials.

 Shop Notes - P&A Sample Template

Shop Notes provides shortcuts for the technicians to enter a template that formats their requests for parts pricing and availability or to pull parts for approved work. The template is customizable in the EDGE Administration Option section but the suggested template is below and includes places for the information that is needed to accurately identify which parts are needed for what jobs (RO lines).

ShopNotesTemplateAfter selecting the P&A button, the technician would then complete the note entry by adding the recommendations, using the Recs button and indicate if the request is to provide a price and availability or to pull parts. The technicians need to ensure that they include all details, e.g. tire sizes, needed to properly complete the estimate.

Shop Notes - Copy & Paste

Shop Notes is similar to a Microsoft Word document in that it is possible to Paste into the document text and even images (starting with EDGE version 3.17) into the notes. The purpose of this is to allow the Parts Advisors to select and Copy text or graphics from their parts catalog or the DMS and then Paste them into the notes. This provides a significant short cut to typing and ensures that all of the information needed is archived in notes for everyone else to see.

Different parts catalogs and DMS systems have varying abilities to Copy text and graphics, so users are encouraged to check with their individual providers to ensure this functionality is available to them. Your MPi Trainers and Consultants have a great deal of experience working with various DMS and parts catalogs and can provide insight and instruction on how to facilitate this time-saving feature.


Connect - The RO Screen

The RO Screen is the route sheet the writers use to manage their RO and work. It can be personalized for each user by both the specific columns that are shown as well as how the lines are sorted. Different users will sort and format their RO Screen in different ways. Parts will include all ROs and use the option to “Keep RO List At Top,” where as advisors and technicians will most often use the option to “Show Only My ROs.”


All ROs are displayed on the RO Screen until they are closed within the DMS however; they are always retained within EDGE and can be found by selecting the “Inactive ROs” option or by typing the RO number into the “Load RO” field.

Since the RO Screen is a visual tool that tracks a vehicle and RO as it makes its way through a dealership service department, it is very important that all users keep the screen open and visible on their computers. The point of the RO Screen is to provide complete visibility and transparency to all users, so anyone at any time will have insight into each vehicle and where it is within the overall system. This visibility ensures that processes are followed, no balls are dropped and that each step of the overall service is performed in an appropriate time frame, ensuring each user is provided with accurate information which ensures your customers receive the best service available.

The RO Screen - Column Chooser

ColumnChooserThe EDGE/Connect RO Screen provides over 35 different columns that are available to be displayed on the RO Screen. These options are provided to each user in order for them to build their screen to display the specific information they need to properly tack their work-flow on each RO. The Column Chooser is found within the User Preferences option within Tools on their Menu Bar. It lists all of the columns available but not currently displayed. Adding or deleting columns is a simple as selecting and dragging them to the desired location on the screen.

Each user has the ability to select their individual columns that they want to have displayed but your MPi Trainer and Consultant will provide “best practice” examples that have been proven most effective by the thousands of users currently using Connect. Users are encouraged to start with a simple RO Screen format that displays the main data elements needed to accurately perform their responsibilities. As users become more comfortable with the tool, they can add additional columns that can display other information that can also add value to their RO Screen.

The RO Screen - Sorting Columns

SortButtonThe entire RO Screen can be sorted by any column displayed on the screen by simply clicking into the column header. The selected column header will display an up or down triangle to portray the sort direction. Each user can sort their RO Screen independent of any other user’s screen. This allows users to sort in various ways to help them find specific customers or vehicles more quickly.

Your MPi Trainer and Consultant will provide “best practice” examples of how to sort the RO Screen that have been proven most effective by the thousands of users currently using Connect.



Notifier is a separate product feature of EDGE and is not actually a part of Connect. However, it works in conjunction with Connect by allowing users to create notifications to their email Inbox or cell phone based on Shop Flags or other Connect activities.

Features & Benefits
  • Notifications can be sent as emails or text to a mobile devise
  • Notifications can be created based on various criteria including:
    • Shop Flags
    • Dollar amounts of an estimate
    • After a specific time-frame of a flag being set
  • Notifications can be created based on individual users or groups (e.g. technicians, advisors, etc)
  • Notifications are user specific, each user can create their own notifications
Short Term Notifications

Those designed by management to assist in directing users to performance improvement. These should be created and used for short periods, in order to increase performance and removed once performance is improved. They can be re-created when performance slips.

Examples include:

For Technicians
  • When a technician performs an inspection on a higher mileage vehicle and does not find recommendations, allowing the manger to review the vehicle with the tech to confirm the quality of the inspection while it is still being worked on
For Advisors
  • When an estimate is above a specific dollar threshold, allowing the manager to discuss the presentation of recommendations with the advisor before they present them to the customer
For Parts
  • When a Parts Request has not been addressed after a specific period of time, allowing management to ensure all requests are acted upon in a timely manner.
Permanent Notifications

Those notifications are used to better manage processes that are permanent aspects of the dealership activities. They will always need a notification in place.

Examples include:

  • A request for management to come to a technicians bay to review and approve warranty repair
  • Notifying the shuttle driver that customers are waiting to be shuttled.



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