Quantum Computing and Shop Efficiency
Time is money.
Shops that operate productively and efficiently are, in general, the ones that see the most sustained success.
Back in 2018, ADAPT Automotive’s sister publication Ratchet+Wrench reported that three out of every four shop owners that participated in the magazine’s annual shop performance survey placed some sort of emphasis on KPIs that tracked shop efficiency. As technology in the industry continues to grow and more customers come to expect quick service at the touch of a button on their phones, that number should logically rise.
However, Michelle Corson, founder and CEO of On the Road Companies, says that repair shops in general seem to be falling behind the exponential growth of tech in the industry.
“There are a lot of technological innovations that OEMs are making moves around, and the collision industry has been a little slow to respond,” Corson says. “It’s being forced upon them now, and a lot of shop owners and operators are trying to get as much as they can to get caught and ahead of the curve.”
The problem, she says, seems to be compounding: Not only does there seem to be a dragging of heels by shops when it comes to new technology, those who have embraced innovation are now facing a lack of reliable, capable workers in their repair bays.
This is where advancements in tech can play a large role in helping repair shops navigate the rapidly changing tides of the industry.
Recent coverage on ADAPT has focused quite a bit on emerging systems such as ADAS, EVs and other advancements at the OEM level and in cars specifically since those developments are, largely, driving the tech revolution in the automotive space. However, as that tech grows, so too do the systems that can help shops track and manage their productivity and efficiency.
Quantum computing has been a buzzword OEMs and other players in the automotive industry have used a lot in the last few years and is, to put it very lightly, a dense subject. At the end of the day, though, shop owners and managers don’t need to be experts in quantum mechanics to have a basic understanding of what quantum computing is.
“Effectively, it’s a substantially faster system of processing than what’s available now,” Corson says. “That sounds, on the surface, insignificant because technology is always getting faster. The big difference maker with quantum computing, though, is that in our current technology ... the bits that are using in current computing look at 1s and 0s sequentially, whereas quantum computing looks at them simultaneously.”
Efficiency is a key performance indicator that many shops pay attention to, and quantum computing in a shop context places a heavy emphasis on maximizing efficient service in every service provided..
“The most interesting application is that it optimizes processes, and that’s what the collision business is all about,” Corson says. “We’re constantly looking for ways to do our job more efficiently with the same or better quality, and if we can optimize the sequencing of jobs and the work within the shop, how things move from body to paint and back again, all of that has tremendous application for our industry.”
Finding ways to streamline your shop’s production and maximize efficiency, such as the ways outlined in the Ratchet+Wrench article, can help shops more effectively embrace new technologies and allow their employees to do their best work.
“At the end of the day, though, there’s a lot of artistry in what we do,” Corson says. “Body work is very visual and tactile, and I think there’s a real opportunity for the artisans in the industry to apply their craft.