Centromela, an independent repair shop and refurb business in Italy, chose Fixably because the platform provided value and control for the business owners
Centromela is an independent repair shop with a service location in the heart of Udine, Italy. They specialize in Apple products, but have diversified their services through the sale of refurbished devices.
Centromela offers a wider variety of repair options. Apart from software checks and standard hardware diagnostics and repair, they do microsoldering of circuits — something authorized repair and service businesses rarely have to do. This, along with their refurbishing business, meant Centromela needed a creative solution for their problems.
Apart from the service location, they have a repair location where specialized technicians diagnose and repair the devices. Samuele De Marco, one of the founders of the business, wanted software that they could use to their full potential. Their general purpose repair system was proving to be a distraction with all the features that they did not use or need.
Though Centromela specializes in Apple devices, they do not have Apple GSX (Global Service Exchange) access and perform independent repair services.
"We needed something that was specific to electronic repair businesses and our previous software couldn't do this," says Samuele. "It was good for anything, from jewelry to bike repairs, and smartphones."
Too many things that clutter your workflow and workspace is just as much a problem as missing features.
"Doing repairs right was way too difficult (with the old system). There were too many features that phone repairs did not need, while Fixably has exactly what we need. Let's say that we use 90-95 percent of what Fixably has to offer us, but we used only 40 or 50 percent of the previous software.
"When you used the software, there were so many things in the workspace and you don't use most of it. What is the point?"
It's a question most repair businesses don't ask because they're not aware of solutions built around the repair business. Those who do think about, usually try to build one of their own. So did Samuele and Centromela.
"But we had some problems with our developer and so we started looking for other options," he adds. This is not an unusual scenario. Without the required investment and time, building an in-house solution is a difficult task. There is a need for constant upgrades and bug fixes. Most important, you need to find the right talent. Not all developers understand the business.
"We then saw that most companies don't develop their own software, but bought (subscribed) one and adapted it for repairs. And after a quick call with Fixably, we realized that it suited us even though we did not need GSX access."
Samuele was worried about the migration though. He could not afford to spend multiple weeks to learn how to use Fixably to meet their requirements. While Fixably can handle specialized repair business tasks, it is also developed to be intuitive to anyone who's employed in a repair shop.
"We figured out how to use Fixably by ourselves because it's really simple and easy to use if you have used any type of (resource management) software. You can pretty much learn everything by yourself, even though there are onboarding sessions."
Why Fixably Works for Repair Shops
What does it mean to have a software solution that meets repair business needs? For Samuele and his colleagues, it is about having control over the repair workflow in ways that reduce the time they have to spend on administrative tasks.
"I think the most important thing, and the most useful thing, is that a single view has all the information we need on repairs," explains Samuele. "You don't need to refresh it to get updates. You don't need to click on a link and go to another page."
It might not seem like much, but as a business owner, he sees the big picture. "Yes, it might only take a couple of seconds to do these things. We do all of our repairs at the location and customers always bring in the device. So a couple of seconds over a whole workday could add up to hours (of wasted labor). That's the thing we love most about the interface."
Fixably's homepage gives owners and service managers a quick view of the repair queue and the status of the orders. And a technician's primary view will have all orders assigned to him. The repair order view has all information about the device, the customer, warranty status, parts availability, a timeline of all communication, and more. The idea is to make Fixably work for repair, rather than fit a repair business to the software.
It can have an immediate impact on the basic workflow. "All the technicians can see what is available to be picked up. They can choose what orders to work on. Maybe I'm an iOS certified technician and I only work on iOS devices and I can see at a glance that there are iOS devices available."
Such configurations reduce the time spent on managing the repair shop. Everyone knows what needs to be done every time they're in the workshop.
Device queues in Fixably can also be set to reflect your workflow. If you have technicians who specialize in different types of devices or brands, the queue can be set up to show the exact number of a particular device to be serviced. The queue can change to meet your existing workflow, but we've noticed that tracking device types is an effective way to manage technician work.
Automating Business Control
What all this means for Fixably users is that every feature provides a value that helps a repair business be at its efficient best and offer the best possible customer experience.
Reduce the number of times a customer has to get in touch with you. Decrease turnaround time as much as possible. Avoid any errors that might irritate the customer. These are all simple things that need a lot of attention.
Samuele, as a business owner, understands this. It is also why he finds Fixably macros useful. It is a controlled guided workflow that ensures that employees do not skip a step or miss doing what is necessary.
"We use macros all the time, especially in the shop (service location)," he adds. "It's really helpful because everyone will have to stick to the designed workflow. Everyone will have to follow that order (step-by-step workflow). Your employee might not have the same mindset as a store manager or an owner."
It's the same reason that the repair order is designed to be seen as timeline of all events associated with it, with automation built into the process right from device check-in.
"Something that's been helpful in managing paperwork is being able to automatically send the order confirmation immediately via email to the client," explains Samuele.
"Since almost all customers bring the device to the store, we had to print a copy every time. This leads to a lot of paper being thrown away. Now we can just send an email immediately. This saves time and we don't have to print anything. And it's also automated."
Email automation also helps meet customer expectations in Italy. "We have a different type of service style here in Italy," he says. "Here people like to call us, and if you send them a message with prices or a cost estimate, they will call you immediately and they want to talk to a technician or they might even come to the store.
"So, we only use SMS communication for a pickup message. Anything other than that will be done by email and the integrated email system is really good at managing this."
Or why the stock module keeps repair business requirements in mind. "We have multiple locations, and being able to move stock from one location to another is especially useful.
"Say I'm here at the store and I need to check if the service location has a certain item or product, I can do it on Fixably. I know exactly where things are and I know how items are booked for a repair. Of course, yes, there are things that could be improved.
"We also gave a barcode scanner to every staff member. It helps get things done much quicker. They could use it to check-in and check out parts at any location."
Running a Refurbishing Business on Fixably
Centromela uses the same platform to run their refurb business as well. Though the solution is not built to meet every requirement, some creative solutions have helped them keep everything on the same software.
At the heart of these workflows is the automated flow of data. It allows Samuele to follow and track every part and device. It's an indispensable need in a repair shop, cutting down costs due to errors - from ensuring that only parts that are needed are ordered to updating stock and inventory in real time.
"We can track all the parts used and that helps us calculate the actual cost of refurbishing a device," he says. "It would be nice to see more features for the refurbishing business, but I think if you are a little smart, you can use the system as it is without any problems. You can use Fixably to let all technicians know that a used phone or computer has come in and that it's ready to be refurbished. We can track every step of the process."
UPDATE: Centromela has since gained IRP (Independent Repair Provider) certification from Apple.