April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive
If a tech has fewer reasons to leave his bay, he is going to be more efficient in completing the repair.
But perhaps the biggest area where time is wasted is in the communication process. Riemer calls this service relationship management. “This is a combination of the people, the information and the process required to efficiently manage the service and repair process,” he explains. “It is all the communications, it is all the documents, it is all the service history, it is all the approval process – all of that communication and collaboration and information that is exchanged.”
It is about making sure the right people have the right information at the point of service. “We try to preach to people that improving that collaboration and communication process is what is key to actually driving efficiency all the way down to the technician,” Riemer says.
Mapping the process
Before a shop can improve its efficiency, it needs to determine where the problems are. The best way to do that is to map the current process. Once the mapping process is completed, review it and “try to focus on what is best for the customer, what is best for the technician and what is best for you,” Martincic says.
“It won’t take a rocket scientist to see where there are opportunities to improve the work flow.” These areas will be different for each shop and may necessitate putting new procedures in place or adding technology solutions.
One outcome of the mapping process may be to develop a triage system for diagnosing repairs quickly.
“The advantage to the customer is we can engage in a conversation with a customer within two to four hours of him dropping off the vehicle,” Martincic says. “And then second thing is we know exactly what skill we need to fix the vehicle and what parts are needed so the repair can be assigned to the proper technician.”
This system also allows the shop to get the parts it does not have in stock before the repair begins and to get authorization from the customer before the truck is dispatched to a bay. “This means there are now fewer reasons for a technician to leave his bay and as a result he is going to be more efficient in completing the repair,” Martincic says.
Whether a shop chooses to use a triage approach or not, if it manages the service relationship more efficiently and attacks the 80% of non-wrench time it will make everyone more productive, Riemer says.
“The technician has the truck in the bay, he knows exactly what is wrong with it, he has all the information he needs, he has all the approvals he needs and he knows what to do if there is a change order.”
If non-wrench time is improved, it allows the shop to be more effective and process more vehicles in a day.
How much is wasting technician time actually costing you?
“At $100 an hour for every six minutes or one-tenth of an hour that a technician is doing something besides being in the bay working on a truck, it is costing $10 in labor sales," Martincic says.
“Most dealerships run about one-to-one with parts to labor, so it also is costing the shop $10 in parts sales.”