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Post 58 made on Monday September 3, 2018 at 06:55
Super Member
May 2003
Not so long ago, personal transportation implied feeding and training livestock, mending saddles and carriages, and blacksmithing. This could literally be a self contained family function or business, cradle to grave.

At one point I would personally do most of my own auto maintenance. Since I didn't have a machine shop, cylinder boring was out of my league, but most other tasks were within my range and I was certainly more capable than the typical mechanics at the local garage/gas station. (any electrical issue beyond replacing a fuse was an enigma for them -- if they could even find and diagnose the fuse) I was not unique.

Now, routine auto service involves codes and replacing transducers and automated valves. Spark plug replacement is a rare event and distributor points and dwell time adjustments don't exist.

A recent experience was quite different from my earlier auto maintenance methods. i had a major engine hesitation while pulling out into traffic. In the old days I'd be checking fuel flow, air flow, spark, timing, wires, hoses, PCV valves and such. Unless I got lucky early on, this could be a morning, afternoon or all day experience -- assuming that there was no delay obtaining parts. I took my car to a local, capable shop, they reviewed the codes, identified a defective transducer, ordered and installed a replacement and I was on my way in about two elapsed hours. While waiting, I was able to work using my laptop and cellphone. All this for about $200.

I was happy and the shop was happy. This shop is actually a family business. While I'm sure that this business is not a transformed horse and buggy outfit from previous centuries, their business has evolved and my business has evolved. They don't do much machining, but they are located along a "strip" that supports automotive service. There are machine shops and a major parts depot (we deliver, usually within the hour) nearby.

I don't do retail at this point and I can recall reps and manufacturers asking why I couldn't be more like the other larger stores (implying that they "got it" and I didn't). Almost all of those "smart guys" are gone at this point. (you can count survivors on one hand without running out of fingers)

Sure, just like I'm a recovering auto mechanic, many of my customers are recovering stereo mechanics. However, "stereo" has become more network and control programming oriented, similar to auto repair becoming "codes". I can quickly pick through the network and control, while my customer makes deals.

The question for each of our businesses comes down to -- are you willing to adapt?

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