Over the past decade, there have been many advances in equipment and control; however, site management technology has not kept pace with innovation. As complexity increases, it becomes increasingly challenging to develop a fully integrated solution to monitor, maintain, and manage the key components of a car wash operation. The most complex and fastest-growing model is “express exterior,” which is essentially a motorized assembly line of robotic washers performing specific applications throughout the cleaning, polishing and drying process.
From a service standpoint, skill levels have also improved.Technicians today need to be multi-skilled, with industry-specific expertise in plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems, and sometimes a little bit of specialized knowledge
Knowledge of fluid dynamics and computer programming. Mom-and-pop businesses are now fueled by private equity capital, which is fueling chain growth and demand for qualified technicians across the U.S. Multi-unit operators stand to benefit the most from new technology, often through operational efficiencies from store clusters.
For example, by leveraging remote management technology, site or facility managers can now manage more locations in the same time frame without losing visibility or control of individual sites. This revolutionary “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)” technology is now available to all operators. It is suitable for all types of car washes and any brand of equipment and controls.
Through a single-pane application accessible from any desktop or handheld device, business intelligence data is collected from sensors connected to field devices in specific site areas (inventory, equipment, facilities, and services), with the ability to manage the data received.Standard technology package dedicated to monitoring tank levels, fresh and reclaimed water volumes, water quality, air and water pressure, tunnel/bay, equipment room and exterior temperatures, wash kit quantities and costs, number of vehicles, average cost per vehicle, maintenance and general
It is also possible to create custom packages from the monitoring menu. All technology packages leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to generate predictive analytics. Establish custom parameters (lows and/or highs) for each unit (i.e. device), control “parameter exceeded” notifications (via text or email). See Figure 1.
Car washes are like race cars—if not maintained properly, they can be damaged by downtime and lost revenue. With the help of the digital service module, all maintenance projects can be automated.Additionally, case files can be created for incident reporting and managed against customized checklists
Form checklists are provided at different service frequencies (daily, weekly, monthly and yearly). For example, open, close, health check, site audit, and ghost wash lists can be created for each location. Selected Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are provided for certain preventive maintenance items and may also be used for training purposes. Additionally, custom checklists and SOPs can be created. All service items can be based on specific time periods or wash cycles, and all tasks can be assigned to individuals or roles within the organization or third-party suppliers. See Figure 2.
The app provides remote management from a desktop, tablet or smartphone. From one consolidated dashboard, all business intelligence data is organized by module (inventory, equipment, facility and service) and displayed in a dedicated container. This technology tool provides managers with site-specific, real-time visibility and control to make proactive, data-driven decisions.
- Services not completed within the specified deadline
- Excess or underuse of chemicals, detection of leaks or blockages
- Decreased water quality, low tank or floor inventory
- Other equipment/devices other than optimized parameters.
Managers can be notified of warning shots/imminent issues without being physically present. Furthermore, business insights can be extrapolated from the KPIs and reporting capabilities of each module. Other intuitive features include auto-fill and water use. Technology will increase operational efficiency and prevent downtime. See Figure 3.
Early adopters of the technology will realize greater operational efficiencies while maintaining a competitive advantage over other car wash chains. Having a dashboard that monitors all key components of the operation enables effective and efficient site management. Harnessing the power of this technology increases visibility and control of facilities, inventory, equipment and services. This ultimately results in more uptime, labor savings, increased throughput, profits and smarter decisions. SmartOperators are early adopters of technology and leverage the competitive advantage it creates.
Michael O’Donnell is a 37-year veteran of the car wash industry, involved in all aspects of the business including: ownership, operations, technicians, instructors, product development, equipment sales, distribution and manufacturing. He is principal of Newport Beach, CA-based Smart Solutions Inc., an innovative “fluid technology company” serving the professional car wash industry with a focus on advanced chemistry, technology and support. Learn more at smartsolutions.net or contact Michael O’Donnell [email protected].