Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Managing the tunnel

How to keep things under control.

January 27, 2014

Remote access using mobile devices, such as a laptop, a smart phone, and tablet which connect through a Wi-Fi network, allow carwash owners and managers to monitor their wash more carefully without having to be on the premises at all times. Accurate, real-time data can then meet the needs of each of the owner’s or manager’s specific responsibilities. System scalability allows for growth within the organization and flexibility allows for customization of multiple configurations from within the organization.

When owners and managers are armed with tools to help them understand and control their wash, it’s easier for them to achieve their goals and profitability targets.

Controllers can help to manage:

  • Cash,
  • Sales,
  • Labor, and
  • Loyalty programs

Site management software (SMS) monitors, up-to-the-minute data while processing current transactions. Statistical and performance data is compiled into reports that make it easy for you to analyze and effectively manage your business. The multi-site reporting environment allows you to structure your organization from individual devices to separate manageable profit centers, to sites in regions and states … all the way up the corporate chain. Then it allows you to drill down and view custom reports on any level. Management statistics are based on the following areas: sales, salespersons performance, labor management, fleets, customer loyalty programs, equipment alerts and reconciling tunnel activity to the register.

Controllers offer up invaluable data and reports instantly. And, can guarantee that the equipment and wash processes are performing at peak levels.

The future of POS equipment

Today’s point-of-sale equipment is now moving beyond sales, labor and loyalty promotions; it now also helps to manage the tunnel equipment. It can also offer many opportunities for cost savings and additional profits. No longer need you be caught by surprise when there are equipment issues and component failures as SMS can send customized email alerts to managers, employees and service support. Something such as low hydraulic oil, which causes the wraps to shut down, can also put the entire wash in a safe shutdown state automatically. An email is sent to tell the manager why the wash was shut down. Alerts are separated into categories by severity and are sent to the people who need to know right away.

Alerts are tied to event logs and system status. The status of any device tied into the management system at any site can be monitored in real-time from one screen from anywhere using a computer or mobile device. If the bill dispenser in terminal two at site four has jammed or is empty, an alert will be sent. The site status screen will show site two as critical and it turns red. The bill dispenser will turn red and show the error code. All events from all sites will roll up into this one screen. From here you can look at the error and resolution. The history of the bill dispenser and all error codes can be pulled and reviewed. The statistical performance of the bill dispenser, showing good dispenses versus impaired transactions, can also be reviewed. The complete history of a device can be easily retrieved by anyone with proper security from anywhere in the organization. If you cannot measure a performance, you cannot manage it. Management systems need to help you manage the entire site.

More opportunities to interface with customers

The equipment inside your tunnel can be integrated into your SMS system. The addition of an entrance management sign (EMS) to your express or flex operation provides several benefits. First, it adds another opportunity to interface with your customer offering an electronic greeting and graphics to instruct them into the tunnel. The EMS provides another control panel for the tunnel operator to relay instructions and overrides to the tunnel devices. For example, if he notices a pickup truck with lots of debris in its bed entering the tunnel he can set the blower to either retract, shut off or reduce velocity to avoid blowing the debris onto the vehicle behind it. Adjustments can be made on-the-fly for trailer hitches and other occasional circumstances. New technology includes the application of sensors in the tunnel to monitor the wash process. For example, sensors can identify the size and shape of the vehicle targeting the delivery and amount of the chemistry depending on the particulars of the vehicle. Sensors will recognize the increased height and longer length of an Escapade over that of an Accord and adjust the distribution of chemistry and rinses. This not only delivers an improved wash experience for the customer but also lowers costs in consumables, energy and utilities.