Touchflow Smash Repair Electronic Whiteboard

Flagstaff Autobody have been developing software to manage, control and communicate workflow through the workshop. Through development Touchflow Process Control Systems was born and now operates as an independent business.

Touchflow Smash Repair Electronic Whiteboard

How did Touchflow come about?

Touchflow came about through need. Flagstaff Autobody were in the middle of massive change, with a new location, larger modern premises, new equipment, refining processes, defining roles, modernising our methods and the list goes on but we were struggling with old handwritten whiteboards to manage our workflow. We decided it was time to implement current technology and wanted something that would, in it's most basic form, be a direct replacement for our whiteboards. What ever we decided on had to be simple and relevant to our needs. We looked at all the available options but nothing was as  straightforward as using the whiteboards. The problem we had was that the available options approached the 'electronic whiteboard' from the office perspective and didn't address any of the issues our staff had or replicate our current whiteboards. They weren't overly easy to use and the information available was not specifically relevant to our needs and in particular the needs of our workshop staff. They all seemed to be about treating your workshop and staff as a mathematical equation, production hours, job costing, etc, but we wanted to manage our workflow & communication better and more efficiently. Quite naively we enlisted a software developer and set about making a replacement for our whiteboards. The initial production of the Touchflow application was very basic in its function but performed the task of replacing our whiteboards very well. At this point we decided that there was a very real possibility that we had developed something with a commercial prospect, and so, Touchflow was born and further development gained momentum.

What does Touchflow do for your shop?

Touchflow was up and running at Flagstaff Autobody and very soon after we started noticing some encouraging changes in the way staff were working. The most obvious was that staff would stop and check their jobs before sending it off to the next area. Typical problems of forgetting small parts of the job, missing components to be painted, and other issues that require additional unallocated time be spent on a job were being eliminated. The result of this was less internal reworks or 'backwards movements' during the process and a huge increase in efficiency. With Touchflow, once staff move a vehicle on to the next area, the next area can 'reject it' if it is incomplete or not up to standard. It's this 'reject' process that has encouraged staff to take more responsibility for their jobs and work with more conscious thought about what they are doing. As a very positive side effect of the increase in staff responsibility and accountability was the natural improvement in quality. We were like most typical shops that would check quality as best we could and generally rely on a final inspection to catch any quality issues before handover to the customer. Touchflow has what we are terming 'organic quality control'. Organic quality control is when quality control is part of the process and not just a process performed at the end. At each stage of the repair process the vehicle is checked as it exits an area and again as it enters the next area. There are about a dozen peer-approved quality checks and inspections integrated into the process with a final inspection on every vehicle but we rarely find anything to remedy. We were starting to realise that not only had we created an electronic whiteboard replacement but Touchflow has become an organic part of the repair process instead of something added on the outside.

As we were still implementing change at Flagstaff Autobody we started to actively look for ways to include Touchflow to make the process easier, take control of repetitive tasks or solve any problems we were facing. Touchflow was still very basic at this point but it was obvious that a computer could perform certain tasks more efficiently than people. We were no longer writing whiteboards daily, having to remember every car in an area, Trying to remember who was doing what and when, updating the whiteboards during the day or many other mundane things a computer can do. Touchflow function was still quite static where we could set priorities and operated much like a hand written whiteboard with priorities being update generally daily. This priority process is now dynamic with lower priority jobs moving up in priority as higher priority jobs are completed so staff are always working on the highest priority jobs. Priority is still set and checked by management to ensure customer expectations are met but once set our staff do the rest simply by following Touchflow. Communication between departments was considered (Flagstaff Autobody is a large multi building facility) especially for tasks like 'daily highfill' requirements. We had noticed that on occasion the paint department would finish the daily requirement for highfill without checking with the panel department for other highfill jobs so they would be missed. We developed a simple function we call 'highfill today' that management can activate on a vehicle in either panel or paint department that notifies paint department of the expected jobs for highfill today. Now they don't have to even remember to check for expected highfill jobs, they are listed on their Touchflow terminal.

We moved Touchflow to a cloud based application and it opened our eyes to other possibilities but also added complications. We were now in a world where so many different devices could potentially access Touchflow but with this came complications. We had previously been developing Touchflow for a controlled environment but cloud based access meant we would have to develop for many other devices like iPads or tablets. We have kept development to current technology with Touchscreen capability to ensure Touchflow stays very intuitive to use. With extra features and modules on Touchflow we added a management console where management users can manage the 'behind the scenes' things like adding employees, allocating their work areas, accessing information, adding jobs or bookings, configuring access users, and so on.

Touchflow logo
"Note from Flagstaff Autobody Owner: Remote Access has been a big event in developing Touchflow and a great addition for me personally. I can log in and access our live workshop data from anywhere and get reassurance that my management staff are taking care of everything. I can concentrate on building the business for the future. When I'm in the workshop it is a great feeling to know that my staff are all happy and working efficiently to producing work I am proud of."
Flagstaff Autobody are a proud supporting partner of Touchflow Process Control Systems. If you would like further information regarding Touchflow Process Control Systems and what they offer the Automotive Smash Repair Industry, check out their website.

Our Partners

  • wurth - automotive equipment and consumable products
  • Max Kirwin
  • TOUCHFLOW - auto bodyshop process control system
  • Makin & Luby
  • Northern Motor Group
  • Allan Mance Holden
  • Bayford Group
  • MIRKA - automotive abrasive
  • VACC - automotive regulatory body
  • SNAP-ON - top of the line auto tools and equipment
  • 3M - automotive adhesives
  • ENVIROBASE - industry leading waterborne automotive paint
  • CAR-O-LINER - auto industry measuring and aligning equipment
  • PPG - car paint  OEM
  • Repairer Network - Accident repairers network