Originally published in Shop Owner magazine
Bosch’s Jim Graninger brings to automotive service more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, including over 20 years in the aftermarket arena. Before joining Bosch, he was Vice President and General Manager of Rexnord Industries, LLC, and prior to that, served in several vice president level roles with Snap-on, Inc., including their diagnostics business. Jim’s successful career includes international assignments in Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands as well as international responsibilities for Asia, Australia and Latin America.
In this executive interview, Graninger discusses the vital importance of diagnostics in automotive service today and tomorrow, and how Bosch Diagnostics is prepared and uniquely qualified to meet this challenge.
Diagnostics is growing as a normal element in automotive repair. How important is it from the perspective of Bosch’s Diagnostic Business Unit?
Today’s vehicles are obviously quite complicated, requiring new service and repair capabilities especially diagnostics. Virtually all vehicle functions are now controlled in some way by computer, including the engine, emissions controls, air-conditioning, security, lighting, and safety functions. Little, from the time the ignition key starts the vehicle, escapes some form of interaction with computerized control. Today’s vehicles are truly like computers on wheels.
Diagnostics is virtually mandatory to assess operation of the various functions, identify potential trouble areas and begin to correct any problems. In most cases, some diagnostics must be done before any repairs are undertaken. Diagnostics has or should become a normal part of most automotive repair operations, and in reality saves the technician time and false starts when identifying an automotive problem, and fixing it. This not only helps the shop be more productive and efficient, it actually saves the motorist money by avoiding lost time in hit-or-miss repairs.
Tomorrow’s shop will depend on the right diagnostic equipment and measurement of data, diagnostic technology and vehicle technology, and its integration with a shop’s network. Information will become the key factor in a shop’s daily service and maintenance work. Service dealers will need four keys to stay on top of evolving vehicle technology and stay efficient and profitable:
Possess a solid grasp of diagnositic techniques, with appropriate diagnostic equipment to match the knowledge;
Exceed customer expectations;
Include the real cost of vehicle diagnosis in billing to the customer; and
Maximize training and support for skilled technicians, which will become absolutely necessary to service the “computers on wheels.“
The vehicle of tomorrow will be a supercomputer with independent vehicle systems increasingly interconnected. Tracing an error on the vehicle’s computer from the source alone will not only be insufficient in diagnosing newer cars, this could lead to a malfunction in another vehicle system. Integration of diagnostic equipment in the shop’s processes will be paramount for shops to operate, utilizing an electronic network that will link all of the shop’s computers, tools and equipment for maximum productivity.
Interconnected systems mean new repair methods. How will firms such as Bosch answer this challenge?
Bosch offers a “Parts and Bytes” concept, where we mesh the resources of the world’s largest automotive parts and systems supplier with advanced diagnostic equipment, service network and our technical training. This makes Bosch a distinctive partner in the industry.
This challenge obviously requires an extensive investment in sophisticated equipment and technician expertise, and often requires periodic updating of the equipment and the software the equipment utilizes to service the ever-advancing vehicle complexity. The world’s largest automotive supplier, Bosch is the world’s most prolific developer of new automotive parts and systems, and Bosch diagnostic solutions offer an unparalleled resource for efficient repair of virtually any domestic, Asian or European vehicle operating in North America.
Bosch provides a wide array of diagnostic tools such as Bosch’s new KTS 340 designed to improve the skill and proficiency of automotive technicians, and improve the motorist’s satisfaction when their vehicle is serviced. The KTS 340, developed specifically for the North American market, gives the technician incredible firepower, immediately identifying a vehicle in the bay, analyzing vehicle systems, finding problems and providing repair solutions as the technician holds the 340 in his hands.
From the Bosch KTS 340 scan tool to the Bosch Easy 3D Aligner, Bosch test and service equipment includes diagnostic tools for engine management and electronic systems for servicing domestic, Asian and European vehicles, as well as a broad line of wheel, tire and brake service equipment.
Bosch also offers direct, instantaneous links to web-based OE diagnostic procedures, TSBs and parts lookup through the Internet with its Bosch Shop Foreman Pro v6.0 program, featuring iSHOP3 and ALLDATA. This vastly speeds automotive service by having all the diagnostic info from most OE suppliers and dealerships available on call, without the shop having to wait on the phone for parts lookup or find technical bulletins and recommended service for an identified problem.
Should shops pass on costs of their investment in diagnostic technology, which ultimately helps the motorist with better service?
Sophisticated diagnostic tools and skilled technicians can attain an in-depth, accurate diagnosis of a vehicle’s problem, repair the vehicle productively, and ultimately satisfy the motorist with a smooth performing vehicle as it saves him time and money. A shop that has invested in the most skilled labor and up-to-date technology should pass along additional fees incurred for the premium equipment, software and training. The rationale for including these costs in customer billing is clear from a business standpoint by having access to these advanced resources, the shop is able to provide the motorist the most efficient and accurate vehicle repair.
Shops may wish to get copies of Bosch’s informative brochure intended to help the motorist understand automotive diagnostics and vehicle flash reprogramming, how they work and why they are very important when servicing most vehicles. The brochure, “Vehicle Diagnosis” (#F00E380793), explains that “Today’s vehicles are like computers on wheels,” and increased complexity of today’s vehicles means that more and more vehicle systems will be managed by on-board computers called Electronic Control Modules (ECUs).
The brochure notes that a shop that has invested in the skilled labor and technology may pass along additional fees they have incurred for the premium equipment and software, and it is because these shops have access to these advanced resources that the motorist receives the most efficient and accurate vehicle repair.
Shops can get copies of the brochure by contacting Bosch at:
Re: Brochure #F00E380793
2030 Alameda Padre Serra
Santa Barbara, CA 93103-1716
Tel: 1-800-321-4889, Ext. 4