An Odoo-based BPM solution for a car service center

An Odoo-based BPM solution for a car service center

Itransition delivered a customized Odoo-based BPM solution that automated core workflows at an automotive company, reducing manual work by 80%.

Case study

An Odoo-based BPM solution for a car service center

Challenge

The customer is a Canadian car repair shop. In the automotive industry for over 40 years, they specialize in car diagnostics and repair, spare parts, and used vehicles.

The company used to manage their client database and business information with a Sage-based system. Unfortunately, due to the lack of features, employees performed core tasks (such as, work order processing and invoicing) manually. Aiming at improving these workflows, the customer wanted to modernize and automate them.

The company planned to implement a system able to accelerate their workflows and provide more control over the working process. They expected the new solution to allow accessing, creating, and storing work orders, invoices, and reports while offering a positive user experience.

The customer also needed a user portal for their clients to monitor their car repair order statuses and receive invoices instead of communicating by phone.

Itransition’s track record in business process management consulting and experience in the automotive industry were among the key factors for the customer to engage our team in this project.

Solution

To reach the outlined goals and implement the requested functionality, Itransition suggested using the Odoo platform. With Odoo development as one of the core domains of Itransition’s ERP Center of Excellence, our experts could help the customer launch, customize, and successfully adopt Odoo from scratch. We demonstrated the platform’s flexible modular architecture and wide selection of modules and apps adjustable to various business needs. After a consulting session, the team went ahead with implementing this Odoo-based BPM solution.

The system allows creating vehicles’ profiles and connecting them with the respective clients, managing appointments, work orders, and invoices, as well as generating invoices and reports.

The solution supports four user roles:

  • Service manager
  • Technician
  • Client
  • Admin
Example of a workflow involving different users

Features

The solution consists of the following Odoo modules:

  • Fleet car workshop for displaying all vehicles’ profiles and the number of tasks (work orders) created for a particular vehicle.
  • Fleet car management for managing vehicle information: model number, engine volume, seats, license plate, fuel type, and registration.
  • Inventory management for organizing the customer’s warehouse and streamlining their supply chain management workflows.
  • Purchase management for creating and tracking purchase orders, automating procurement workflows, managing suppliers' information, and controlling product delivery.
  • Accounting and finance for launching new products or services to be later added to work orders or counted in invoices.
  • Invoicing for preparing an invoice once a work order is completed.
  • Calendar for setting up appointments and connecting work orders with a certain date and time.
  • HR modules (Timesheets, Employees, and Leaves) for maintaining records about employees, working schedules, and out-of-office days.
  • Discuss for team’s project-based communication via instant messages.
  • Portal for clients to view their work orders, vehicle information, and service maintenance timeline, as well as receiving invoices.
A car workshop screen

The delivered solution automates the following processes:

  • Adding client data, vehicle information, and the type of service/repair needed to a work order and the calendar when making an appointment.
  • Sending reminders via email after making notes about the needed repair or adding a client’s information.
  • Creating work orders and viewing them in different modes.
Work orders
  • Adding client and vehicle data (including mileage and description), as well as information on assigned technicians.
  • Updating work orders upon service completion with all the service records saved in a dedicated vehicle profile.
  • Generating invoices based on work orders and calculating the total price of parts and services.
  • Controlling invoice creation and payment, with the invoice data entered in the client form and the income and expense spreadsheet.

The solution enables responsible employees to:

  • View all existing work orders, including in a calendar, and create new ones by adding necessary information, such as title, vehicle, deadline, assignee, and an issue description
  • List works that are needed or planned (for example, oil change), with service costs added automatically based on the information about a particular service
  • Set estimated work time
  • Assign technicians
Work order creation

To schedule work orders for a certain date and time, a user can create an appointment using the calendar features, adding necessary details (vehicle, client, planned works) to the associated work order. Clients can request an appointment on a specific day and time via the user portal. Upon receiving a new client request, a service manager confirms or declines it.

Appointment scheduling

The solution also allows creating new products (for example, spare parts) or services for sale. While creating a new item, employees can add product name and type (consumable, stockable, service), its price, and discount information.

New product creation

After a work order is completed, a user generates an invoice, with the total costs of services and materials calculated automatically. Each invoice includes a date and a number, client and vehicle information, a list of provided products and services, and the total price.

Invoice validation

Depending on a client’s choice, they can receive an invoice by email as a PDF or by post as a print-out. After the payment is received, the service manager validates the invoice, which changes its status to Paid. Paid invoices can be refunded; to get a refund, the client needs to provide a reason and choose a refund date.

Invoice refund request

The solution comes packed with reporting features for the customer’s accountants to keep track of general expenses and revenue, as well as employees’ billed hours and payroll. These reports include sale/purchase journals and balance sheets.

Odoo customization

Apart from configuring the standard Odoo functionality, our team also expanded the BPM solution with custom features:

  • Linking invoices with a specific work order; calculating prices for car repair services, including taxes; calculating subtotals for used materials and spent hours.
  • Additional fields in work orders to add a car mileage at the time of repair and the link to the odometer (a separate constantly updated entity displaying the latest car mileage).
  • New fields in vehicle profiles, including engine code, transmission code, and year of release.
  • Date Due and Mileage Due fields in the Fleet Vehicle Log Service to specify when the next maintenance is needed.
  • A separate entry point for clients with restricted access.
  • An email service using the DomainKeys Identified Mail that detects forged sender addresses and prevents emails from ending up in the spam folder.
  • Viewing work orders in the Calendar module

Technologies and tools

Our team used the Odoo framework with PostgreSQL as a database and Apache HTTP Server as a web server. We deployed the BPM solution on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with the help of the AWS CloudFormation templates. Our software development experts choose the Docker Compose tool to facilitate the configuration of the development environment through defining and running multi-container Docker applications.

Process

Itransition’s team delivered the BPM solution module by module, allowing the customer to start using it as soon as possible. Our business analysts examined the customer's business processes, existing workflows, user and data flows, and elaborated non-functional requirements. Then the project team developed a roadmap defining the Odoo customization requirements, functional requirements, project timeline, and deliverables.

During the implementation phase, we configured the standard Odoo modules and extended them with custom features. We also provided the documentation and performed testing to ensure the solution was fully functional and covered all the business needs.

During the delivery phase, we deployed the solution, delivered user training, and performed user acceptance testing to ensure the solution could handle the required tasks in real-life scenarios while meeting usability standards and requirements.

Results

The delivered BPM solution for the automotive maintenance service provider automated daily tasks of service managers and technicians while reducing manual efforts by nearly 80%. The system allowed the customer to cut their operational expenses in half and increase client satisfaction through greater workflow transparency and faster service.