One question that many Lube Operators fail to address in their Disaster Preparedness Plan is: How do I run my shop if and when the POS Computer system goes down? I have been in a store during a power outage and the crew immediately stops working. They all had a befuddled look on their faces as if to say, “What do we do now?”

If you don’t already have a plan in place to continue running your operation without the POS system, get one. The day will come when you will be glad you have taken the time and effort to create such a plan and trained your staff how to use the plan.

The first thing I suggest you create would be a “Greet Sheet” that includes all the items of your “Checklist” and the responses that you set up in your POS system for each checkpoint item.   This enables the crew to not only capture the customer’s name, address and vehicle information, but to complete the service checklist and have a written record of the checklist responses. This allows the crew to easily enter the information into the POS system when it is once again operational.

Let me offer one word of warning. Have the “Greet Sheet/Checklist” be screen printed with “THIS IS NOT AN INVOICE”. Unfortunately, I have seen some “enterprising” employees pass off one of these forms as an invoice to the customer and then pocket the money from the service.

In your Disaster Plan notebook make sure to include reports from the POS system. Reports and other miscellaneous items you should have access to are:

    1. Master Inventory by Category List: This report will have all your Job or Ops Codes, the Service Description and correct part numbers. This ensures the ability to verify part numbers for jobs and all add on items like air filters, fuel filters, etc.
    2. Price List: By having a current price list you are able to verify pricing for all add on parts and services.
    3. List of items with special charges. This price list should include all items that have additional up charges such as specialty filters and special or bottled oil upcharges.
    4. Coupon Discount List: This enables you to write the correct coupon code on a handwritten invoice so that correct coupon/discount information is captured when it is entered into the POS system when operational.
    5. Fleet List: This list provides correct fleet information when servicing those accounts.
    6. Filter catalogs: You should have a current filter catalog for each of the brand names you carry. This ensures that correct filters and parts are being installed on the vehicle when the POS data is not accessible.
    7. Chek-Chart Manual: This ensures all technical data that is required would be accessible.
    8. Have a Solar or Battery Powered calculator available to calculate total price and taxes.

Current data is critical for your disaster plan, so be sure to print out all reports on a monthly basis to stay up-to-date.

Create a Standard Operating Procedure for your manager and crew to follow in case of an emergency. This procedure should not only cover running the store with the POS system down but what do to in case of any emergency.

And last, but possibly most important: Practice and train your employees on these procedures so that when the situation arises, all employees are familiar and prepared with these procedures. With a written plan and training, proper execution of your plan will prevent additional headaches and problems and enable your crew to continue the operation your store with a limited amount of trouble.