Autosoft/Workshop Software History Timeline
This timeline spans from 1966 till 2020 which is the time Workshop Software has been involved in the automotive industry. It all started with Ron Mitchell who, along with John Bendall had the first vision for Autosoft, one of the first of its kind in Australia. Moving through the years the development of Autosoft also involved the owner of Workshop Software, James Mitchell, who developed his knowledge in programming and became a partner. In 2013 the first version of Workshop Software is released with the vision to create a user friendly, accessible program for workshops around the world. Here is our story:
First professional steps in the automotive industry
Ron Mitchell had been involved with cars and the automotive industry for all his life. Working in the automotive industry was his next step which came about when one day he was reading the Sydney Morning Herald and saw an ad for a storeman at Lancaster Motors. When starting the job, he told the manager Graham Monroe that in 2 years’ time he wanted to be the parts manager of a dealership. Ron started the make changes to the security as well as the crediting system which got him promoted to the sales team. Within 3 months of his promotion he became the number one salesperson at the company.
Becoming involved in parts interpretation
Toyota bought out the Leyland franchise where at Toyota Ron became the parts interpreter. Whilst Ron was the parts manager, he also was integral to setting up a TAFE course in parts interpreting and became qualified in this field.
Gaining the dealership management position
At another dealership called McIntosh the existing parts manager John McKaness decided to move on. Ron, through his work at Toyota had formed a relationship with McIntosh as Toyota were their main parts supplier. So, Ron set his sights on achieving his goal of running the dealership. McIntosh offered Ron the job which he eagerly took.
John Bendall opened his own independent spare parts store in Wollongong. John had worked as a Parts Manager at a Toyota Dealership where he developed a relationship with Ron Mitchell who also worked at a Sydney Toyota Dealership as Parts Manager.
Ron leaves his job to start Autosoft in the back room of his house in Bilgola.
Gaining knowledge in software development
James started an Associate Diploma of Micro Computer Systems which was a 4 year course where he learnt how to program and became extremely knowledgeable about computers and creating software. At the time a programmer Bruce started with the company and stayed for around 2 years. After a period of time, the arrangement with Bruce was not working out which led to James becoming a partner with Ron to forge a future for Autosoft.
Autosoft’s First Office
Now that James had become a partner, the vision at the time was to get a dealership package operating. Firstly, it started with an updated Parts & Workshop program. Also, Autosoft moved into new premises in Apollo Street in Warriewood. An industrial unit was taken and turned into a professional looking office. Autosoft would remain at this location for over 17 years. Meantime, Autosoft went from a DOS system to a Windows based system, much before many of its competitors would. A dealership system was created along with systems for Service Stations, Dismantlers, Engine Reconditioners & its staple part &/or workshop outlets.
First Trade Show
Autosoft’s first automotive trade show. Located at the old Sydney show grounds, it was a great success.
Starting to build the Autosoft system and forming relationships with clients
Over this period Autosoft had a myriad of clients in all sorts of sectors of the automotive industry. These clients were built on a foundation of providing great software, professional & personalised support and an attitude of always going the extra step for clients. James & Ron knew most of the clients personally, and would offer face to face, hands on training and support, which saw us travel all over the country and visiting almost every town in New South Wales.
James becomes CEO of Autosoft
Ron retired and James took on the company in its entirety. This was the impetus for obtaining the services of a Business Coach in Craig Brewster who helped with the transition from a small, 3 man family business, into a sophisticated, systemised, professional organisation with a vision of “the best business software in the world”.
Autosoft grew to a 10 person organisation, and in October 2008 moved to a brand new million dollar office facility on Daydream Street in Warriewood. This office has been created with a corporate area housing a board room, meeting room and reception. The office can accommodate up to 25 people, an indication of the future vision of expansion.
Growing as a team
The Autosoft team attend a growth club day with business coach Craig Brewster. These days are designed to allow for the team to come up with innovative ideas and create goals to work towards in the next financial year.
V8 Max Day
The Autosoft team take part in a V8 Max day where the team get to race V8 cars with a professional, great to get out of the office for a fun experience!
First ideas for Workshop Software
James started to produce the idea for Workshop Software with the goal of a simple to use, cost effective software for everyday workshops that would grow into having a global presence.
Business Blueprint Conference
James is a keynote speaker at a Business Blueprint conference designed to help business owners succeed and create success in their business. James has been a member of this group for many years.
First prototype of Workshop Software released
The first prototype of Workshop Software was released and had a great reaction from the first round of users pushing for James to keep developing.
Official release of Workshop Software
The long-awaited release of Workshop Software was finally here equipped with a job centre, customer, vehicle, supplier and parts tabs, mechanics and reporting capabilities.
Release of James’ first book
James releases his book ‘How to Get Profitable Fast!’ which is designed for workshop owners and answers the question of ‘how to solve the 10 biggest challenges holding your auto shop business back from maximum growth and profitability’. James shares secrets he has learnt throughout his 30 years experience in the automotive industry. His book was received in an extremely positive light and is still helping workshops around the world today.
Xero integration goes live
Workshop Software introduces integration with leading accounting package Xero.
Partnering with Repco
Workshop Software integrates with Repco Navigator Pro. Providing its users with a direct link into Repco which allows parts to be brought directly onto the job.
Release of Workshop Software Phone App
Workshop Software releases its phone app! This includes clocking on and off for tracking mechanics times and taking photos that automatically sync back to the job.
MYOB integration goes live
Workshop Software completes its integration with MYOB Account Right Online.
Release of Automatic Reminders
The release of the automatic reminders system for bookings, services and registration renewals. This could be done by both email and SMS and became an immensely important part of the automotive industry and workshops communication with customers.
Quickbooks integration goes live
Workshop Software releases integration with Quickbooks Online, based on feedback from clients Quickbooks had fast become one of Australia’s leading accounting packages and gave the Workshop Software team the opportunity to support clients with Quickbooks packages as well as MYOB and Xero.
2017 AAAA Trade Show
Melbourne AAAA (Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association) Trade Show where James (CEO) was a keynote speaker for the seminar ‘Overcome the Technology Minefield to Make it a Profitable Business Tool’ along with Harrison, Jonathan and Kate who manned the booth. The AAAA is the biggest automotive aftermarket trade show in Australia which runs for 3 days, and Workshop Software has been at all the tradeshows looking forward to meeting existing and new clients face to face.
Release of brand new booking diary!
Brand new booking diary is released equipped with the ability to view a specific mechanics availability based on a monthly, weekly or daily colour coded view. The new booking diary makes it easier to keep track and keep bookings organised so that the workshop can maximise its profitability.
Integration with Bursons Ezy Parts released
Integration with Bursons Ezy Parts is released based on feedback from clients.
Release of Carfax for our USA users
Integration with Carfax is released who are an American company who are able to produce all the vehicle details based on the licence plate or the VIN. Carfax also track service history so that if the vehicle changes ownership the service and repair history is available. For our American and Canadian clients this is a gamechanger, not only saving time but saving any possibility of human error making sure that the customer receives the correct information on their vehicle every time.
Improving different industry types for users
– The advanced vehicle fields update is released. This update is designed to improve the way different industry types such as marine, motorcycle or agricultural businesses use the software. With this update users are able to adjust their industry type as well as some fields so that the vehicle details more accurately reflect the details needed.
Release of online booking diary
In an automotive industry first, the Workshop Software public booking diary is released. It is designed so that workshops can send their customers a booking link, have an option on their website or Facebook page so that their clients can book themselves in.
2019 AAAA Trade Show
Melbourne AAAA (Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association) James, Harrison, Kate and Jonathan headed to Melbourne to spend 3 days at Australia’s biggest gathering of the automotive industry. Meeting clients and learning from others in the industry is always a highlight for the Workshop Software team.
Partnering with American Distributor
Workshop Software partners with an American distributor, James and his daughter Kate travel to the USA for 2 weeks to have training with the team. James and Kate were able to make a really great connection with the team and have seen great success with supporting our clients in the USA.
Release of Bronze Workshop Software system
The release of a Bronze version of Workshop Software designed for workshops, sole traders and or mobile mechanics that are wanting a basic version of the system. This system includes the ability to manage jobs and payments and manage reporting.
Industry first VVGarage integration released
Release of the integration with VVGarage in an automotive industry first! Workshops are now able to communicate with their customers through push notifications on a unique app just for the workshop itself. Customers are also able to communicate with the workshop and or their mechanic by using the ‘Ask My Mechanic’ feature. This game changing tool is designed to help workshops keep their customers coming back whilst providing them with exceptional service.
Release of Multi branch system
The release of a multi branch/platinum version of Workshop Software. This allows for the Workshop Software team to not only support independent workshops but also branch and franchise workshops.