Tablets the Key to Igniting more Productivity in Automobile Workshop

Gerhard Hacker's painters, bodymakers, and car mechanics are improving their workflows with tablets and Cortado MDM

For over forty years and across third generations, Gerhard Hacker GmbH in Geesthacht has been dedicated to vehicle paint work and repairing chassis. 42 full-time employees make up the company’s staff. In order to improve how they work, the company now makes use of the latest technologies.

Sven Raelert, who provides IT support for the car experts, knows that the company is a pioneer when it comes to this aspect. Management and their IT experts at Gerhard Hacker recognized that various processes in the workshop could be made more efficient.

Areas Where Productivity Could Be Increased

Time and again, employees in the production data acquisition (PDA) department had to clock in individual work steps, some of which were invoiced differently, with a time stamp terminal.

Also the individual repair, grinding and painting steps used to be rather cumbersomely allocated to staff in the form of work slips.

There was also room for improvement in the communication between the individual employees or between the painters or body workers and the head mechanics. A lot of time was lost when employees tried to clarify questions via telephone or by finding colleagues on site. The supervisors were also frequently interrupted during their work routines.

A final area of improvement involved the company’s repair guidelines. These were often supplied in the form of videos and were only accessible on stationary computers – not directly on site where they were needed. This meant going to the computer, remembering what you had seen and then returning to work.

The Solution: Cortado MDM

25 employees were equipped with Android tablets from Huawei, all securely managed with Cortado MDM, Cortado’s cloud solution for fast, secure provision of mobile devices.

The MDM solution is also used to distribute the required apps to the employees. Different rights are assigned to the individual groups, i.e. the painters, body builders, and car mechanics.

The painters use the devices in kiosk mode, meaning they have limited user rights on the tablet and cannot surf the Internet, for example. A wider range of rights and functions are available to the supervisors who need them. “Cortado’s solution is perfect for managing everything,” says Sven Raelert.

With the introduction of tablets with Cortado MDM, many work steps have undergone a decisive change for the better. The supervisor can go directly to the car with the customer. Here the customer’s wishes are recorded on the tablet and supplemented with photos.

He then distributes the individual orders or work steps to the individual employees digitally, rather than using order slips as before. This gives the colleagues an immediate overview of what they have to do.

The painters can now carry out the PDA stamping of the individual work steps directly at their workstation. There are no more trips to terminals to clock in their tasks. If questions arise during work, the painters or bodyworkers no longer have to call or search for their supervisor as before, but just type their questions into Slack, an instant messaging service.

Then the supervisor answers promptly if he has free capacity and is not torn away from his work process every time. Another advantage of the tablets is that if there is a problem, the damage can be photographed, making it easier to clarify questions. And work steps and successes can also be easily documented.

On top of this, repair guidelines in the form of written instructions or videos can now also be viewed on the tablet directly when and where they are needed. “Above all, the flow of information has improved significantly,” reports Sven Raelert.

Initially, some employees were skeptical and had to be convinced. But now the solution is well accepted by everyone. The painters have benefited in particular from the solution.

“While all results are not measurable yet,” reports Sven Raelert, “introducing tablets and Cortado MDM has greatly improved communication. Our jobs are now easier to do and a lot of time spent on administrative tasks has been saved.“

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