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? For All Techs. And Shop Owners.

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Restrorob, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Newz, MM, Khouse, Fixer, Crankshaft, Lucforce, Pugs and any others....

    Looking up parts;

    Do you find using the computer more friendly and quicker with what ever programs or web sites you use as apposed to the old micro fiche and readers ?

    My boss is not as good on a computer and still mostly uses the fiche, He's boa-ed up like a rooster a few times seeing me sitting at the computer looking up parts. He has asked a few times if it really is quicker, I guess he thinks I'm just playing.

    Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your time.
  2. john_incircuit

    john_incircuit LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 310

    I'm not a tech or repair shop owner, but was heading a team that made the decision to rollout CD based schematic and documentation to a fairly large service group, replacing the micro fiches.

    At the end, all decisions usually are made to save money and companies research the success factors carefully. The last thing a project manager wants to do is upset the internal or external customers.

    Ford, Toyota, Dodge and GM service centers discontinued the micro fiches a long time ago so there got to be some advantage for the new technology, but if a user is not familiar or comfy with the PC, this sure will be a difficult way to introduce new technology.
  3. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    Well Rob, pretty soon your boss won't have much choice but to learn the electronic look ups, or have you do it. Kohler is ending or very much increasing the subscription for fiche, Briggs has announced they are doing their last fiche update, MTD... dunno..

    Online look ups are good unless you have a slow internet connection or it's down totally. Partsmart 8 really seems to be a slow bastard compared to the old 6.

    Honda just came out with their own parts lookup, they call it "iN Parts" or something.... We should have stayed with ARI on that.

    If the manufacturers would use the internet for the great, up to the minute information source that it is in regards to getting out the IPL updates, it'd be great. I do get tired of having to load 3 or 4 disks every update just for MTD...

    So, in summary, electronic media for parts lookup is a good move.. if only the OEMs weren't trying to run it like microfiche.
  4. MowerMedic77

    MowerMedic77 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,164

    The internet is the way to go, if you have a good fast connection. A lot of manufatures are now putting parts breakdowns online so parts look up is way easier then years past. I just save the sites in my favs and pull them up as needed, I still use mico fische but mostly for helping to install oils seals now:laugh:
  5. shsmallengines

    shsmallengines LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    The internet is much faster than the micro-fiche cancelled all the fiche. The partsmart is much faster than the internet. Don't see how one can run a fast paced shop with out the computer, we have three set up at the front counter and one in the shop for them to use so they don't have to come up front.
  6. shsmallengines

    shsmallengines LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Computer in the shop area best move ever made
  7. dutch1

    dutch1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Jayhawk
    Messages: 2,249

    I worked in a small shop for 7 years consisting of 3 techs and a front counter parts man for walk ins. We had one micro fiche that was not in the best of shape, that is, images were not as sharp as they could be. Most of the time you had to check two fiches, an index card and then the fiche for the particular model. Very time consuming. (Time is money) If I had been working on a commission basis, I would have been quite unhappy.

    When ownership changed in 2002, the new owner installed two computers with Partsmart and parts inventory/ordering capabilities. What an improvement in time efficiency as well as better reliability in having the quicker moving parts in stock, hence less parts waiting. Another advantage of Partsmart(and other similar programs) is that it permits parts breakdown enlargment not available on the fiche.

    In my opinion, there is no comparison between the two.

  8. lucforce

    lucforce LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    That has always been my largest complaint. Keeping in mind that I am a technology buff, I prefer the microfiche cards. When looking up my own parts, I knew the subtleties of each manufacturer's card system and could quickly get to my part numbers. Over the years I have used various incarnations of the installed software parts systems and the online systems.

    My thoughts:

    1. I never worked for anyone in the business that had enough knowledge of computers to have an adequate machine and keep it running for the shop's use. The machine, or O.S., or Internet connection would fail and I would walk to the microfiche shelf, the owner looking disgusted at the fact that he spent "all this money" on a computer that I would not use. I have lost many hours waiting on such machinery and software to run.

    2. Most of the pictures that I actually needed to see were only located on the old microfiche and not on the digital info. Also most of the digital info systems use only a generic photo that is useless to the model being looked up. I have also come across models that were not listed in digital media.

    3. Microfiche cards make great seal savers, computers and cd's do not.

    4. The microfiche cards do have a learning curve to them that can be difficult .

    5. I would like to see a more standardized, more comprehensive, system that is less cost prohibitive to owners. Diagrams need to be improved, as does cross-referencing and the manner that is used to navigate these systems. An quality aftermarket company could also step in and become a supplier of bearing and seals via this cross-reference, and industrial and automotive duty parts could replace the low-grade aftermarket OPE parts.

    6. The current systems are simply microfiche cards that someone shoved into a hard drive. No attempt was made to enhance anything, only to make a system that was less costly for the manufacturer. We were told in the mid nineties how great these systems were and how great they would become. I worked for a guy that bought in to an aftermarket system in 1995. That system is essentially the same stuff used today. True, microfiche cards have not changed much but their replacement is less efficient than they were.

    I would love to see the major manufacturer's come together and decide on a universal part numbering system as well as a digital parts system. I can dream.
  9. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 752

    In our shop we are ALMOST at the paperless stage. We have access to all the major manufacturers data, including parts and service manuals. Currently only the service mgr has a computer in the shop area, but that will be changing soon. And soon a laptop will be in each service truck, to order parts, write service orders ect. Also, most of the new equipment we are getting is coming with a cd or dvd for parts and service.
  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Thanks for all the replies Guys.

    I used M/F for 12 yrs. before using a computer and have found it to be more user friendly for me due to over these years my eyesight has faded. Even with my glasses I find it a little difficult to read the writing on the card header and cipher reference numbers. I just feel it's easier to type a password then enter a model number and have the enlargement feature Dutch mentioned.
    Otherwise search a index card to find a model number to find a card number then jot down part reference numbers (multiple parts) to go to the end frames to cipher which one of the 5 or more of the same parts fit your model spec. then write the part numbers down.

    Anybody else is welcome to chime in !

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