Each year we take a delegation to the BMW Independents Service Centres Association, BIMRS, Annual Meeting in the USA to stay in touch with everything that is state-of-the-art in our industry, and to put our Technicians through an intensive week of technical training.
This year we took one of our youngest mechanics (Callum) and we’ve come back with some amazing tools and techniques to substantially reduce some maintenance costs without sacrificing on quality.
Callum (right) and myself.
How do you reduce costs without reducing quality?
It’s important to both us and you that we carry out a service and maintenance program as per the factory directives, exactly as stipulated in the BMW handbook, using original BMW parts and lubricants. This ensures your new car warranty remains intact and the current value of your car is maintained.
However, this strict adherence to factory directives has been our greatest challenge in offering more affordable pricing to the BMW community.
So how have we managed to reduce costs without reducing quality? The answer is tools and training.
BIMRS: The heart of BM Tech’s innovation.
BIMRS is a non-profit association of Independent BMW Service Professionals dedicated to education and training. There are 180 members worldwide and every year we meet in the United States for a whole week of training courses and seminars.
This annual meeting is crucial to BM Tech’s growth and continuing innovation. There’s nothing like this offered anywhere in Australia so it’s necessary for us to travel overseas to gain the most advanced training and experience on offer worldwide. Only a handful of Australian technicians make the trip each year.
The anti-competitive laws in the USA are such that BMW North America is obliged to assist and work closely with the independent service providers to ensure they have an in-depth knowledge of each model and how best to repair and maintain them.
Drinks after a long day of learning – can you spot us?
Practicing What You Preach in Customer Satisfaction
We were inspired by customer service trainer Jeremy O’Neal from AdvisorFix with the ultimate show of practicing what you preach. Jeremy purchased one of the worst performing workshops in Southern California and turned it into a 5-star rated business through his focus on customer satisfaction and staff training.
This training which Jeremy provides ensures that all our staff, from our most junior to our head technician, can service cars efficiently and more accurately, allowing us to charge our customers less.
One of the BIMRS members has a business which specialises in designing tools that make repairing BMWs and Minis easier and cheaper. We visited his workshop in San Diego and came home with some great new tools and products that are already saving our customers thousands of dollars in repairs.
We are undoubtedly one of the best-tooled BMW workshops in Australia and it’s these innovative tools which will allow us to turn some $10,000 repairs into a $4,500 ones, or some $1,500 repairs into a $450 ones!
Lunch in the sun after spending the morning tool shopping.
For example, there’s a water pipe on a BMW V8 motor that runs down the middle of the engine, and until now the only way to fix that pipe was to remove significant engine components. This is a massive job that costs about $8,000. That’s 8 grand just to fix a little pipe! We now have a tool that enables us to replace the pipe without major engine work, bringing the price down to about $4,500. That’s a huge saving which our customers are now enjoying.
Another problem that occurs on some high performance BMWs is an annoying buzzing sound generated by the rear muffler. This muffler can have a little butterfly rattle when idling or when you accelerate. Previously, the only way to fix it was to replace the muffler, which is over $1,500.
Understandably, most people decide to live with the noise rather than to pay that much to fix it. It’s not harming your car, but it’s an incredibly annoying sound and significantly reducing that “sheer driving pleasure”. With a fantastic new product, we can fix it now for just $450! A saving of over $1000!
Turning Limitation Into Strength
Originally we thought that strictly following factory directives would limit our ability to offer an affordable service to our community – that perhaps it wasn’t possible to make service and repairs more affordably without skimping on quality. But in fact it’s forced us to think outside the box, to find new and innovative ways to reduce the cost, and ultimately offer a more efficient and higher-quality service.