Strategy Based Automotive Diagnostics in Collision Repair

Strategy Based Diagnostics is an automotive best practice routine that was initially published by G.M after studying and observing successful technicians in the field who consistently meet or exceed productivity standards and have the lowest levels of “re-checks” or “comebacks”. Since GM published this best practice, Strategy Based Diagnostics has been adopted by most in the automotive repair field. With the current wave of innovative technologies being applied to new vehicle models, this process is finding its way into collision repair as a necessity. The complexities and procedures associated with the requirement to return a vehicle to pre-loss condition can be mind boggling. I have modified some steps to this process that makes it more applicable to collision damaged vehicles in addition to the assessment of obvious visual physical damage.
The goal of Strategy Based Diagnosis is to provide guidance when creating a plan of action for each specific diagnostic situation. By following a similar plan for each diagnostic situation, maximum efficiency will be achieved when diagnosing and repairing vehicles.
The first step of the diagnostic process should always be: Understand and Verify the Customer’s/Technician’s Concern.  For a collision damaged vehicle there is the additional challenge that the customer may not be aware of a problem
1. Understand and Verify the Areas of Concern. The first part of this step is to obtain as much information as possible from the customer and from the vehicle itself. In order to verify the concern, the technician should be familiar with the normal operation of the system and refer to the owner or service manual for any information that is needed.
2. Perform a Vehicle Diagnostic System Check. This will verify the proper operation of the vehicle’s embedded systems. This will also lead the technician in an organized diagnostic approach to building a good repair blueprint.
3. Preliminary Checks: Conduct a thorough visual inspection. Review the history of the vehicle. Detect unusual sounds or odors. Record the diagnostic trouble code (DTC) information.

An email to my staff about alignment

This email is not addressing a current problem.  I simply want to make sure everyone understands the importance of working through your teammates and not around them. As we grow and become a more diverse and complex group of employees, one of the first things that will be compromised is alignment of agenda and purpose. Customers and prospects should get the same message and content every time they communicate with us.  This means all of us must be “singing from the same piece of music”. We are all aware of how inconsistency has hurt us in the past.  Just imagine how bad it could have been with 10 or more times as many customers and prospects. Remember that none of us alone know everything we  need to know to plot a course for our future. As a team though, we come pretty close.

Walter McIntyre Article in Metaops Magazine

MetaOps Magazine presents “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing”

By Walter McIntyre

LIVONIA, March 1, 2014 – There are so many issues corporate leaders face each day. The question is how to prioritize them? In his article, the author discusses his 5S method to help decision makers keep their eye on the ball and focus on what needs to be done.

Walter McIntyre has spent 30 years in the business world, holding positions from apprentice to Vice PresidentHe is currently the Chief Operations Officer and General Manager of Nationwide Parts Distributors and Automotive Electronic Solutions Technologies in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Note to My Son

That would be you. Nothing wrong with trying to find the “best” solution or answer.  The problem is the definition of “best” changes with circumstances.  There are no perfect solutions to many of life’s problems. The best you can do is have a positive attitude.  “I will be successful at whatever I do” attitude.

I know you well enough to say that you are going to be successful in whatever you chose.  It is more difficult for you and your generation than it was for me and mine. I really believe that luck played a major role in success in my generation, but persistence is more important in yours. Your grandfather told me that I should be the very best at whatever I did, not matter what the circumstances. That way I would rise to the top of whatever heap I was climbing.  Good advice.


One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to define reality for those they lead.  It is also a significant failure point for leaders.  From a simplistic point of view, there are three realities that we typically deal with.

As we think it is universe: This universe is defined by our opinions and prejudices. It is not basedin reality. An expression of this is when we think for the customer instead of consulting with them. These can be internal or external customers. These leaders will be described as poor listeners or defensive. It takes very little time for leaders using this universe as a model to lose the confidence of their followers and be left with nothing but position power. Self-limiting decisions or failure to achieve the best results are the result.

The Leadership Riddle

As a leader I find my fulfillment within the success my subordinates’ experience while executing the strategies and plans that we have put in place. This amounts to me experiencing success in the third dimension by watching others succeed.

I first learned this as a basketball coach, watching my kids on the court successfully execute strategy we had worked on in practice. That was the expression of my success. The more they were recognized the more successful I felt and the more successful I really was.

Leadership and Followship

Some us work for external customers, some for internal customers, and some for both.  It is easy to fail to deliver on the needs of internal customers because we fail to see them as customers.

All of us need to ask ourselves if our internal customers are happy with our service delivery.  To your customers, it doesn’t matter why there is a problem, only that there is a problem.

I’ll leave you with this: Leadership cannot exist without followship.  This relationship springs out of the fact that successful leaders are servants and facilitators for their customers (both internal and external).  Are you doing all the things necessary to build followship of your leadership?