Recently scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, I noticed about every third post is a service manager or fixed operations director across the country looking for technicians. In addition to trying to find and hire technicians myself, I have come to the conclusion that business is good, but the pool of available technicians is not. I have seen offerings of sign on bonuses and additional benefits to entice a technician to come to work at the dealer hiring. Techs are in HIGH demand and they know it. This will cause some of you to make a bad hiring decision because of the urgent need. In short, there is not going to be a quick fix. You will need to grow your technician.
So that does not fix your problem right now – the shop getting stacked up and customers complaining about the amount of time it takes to have their vehicle repaired. Obviously this creates a CSI problem and also makes it tough for you to really have the opportunity to maximize every opportunity of this business coming in.
So what do we do? The first step is to make sure your production team is operating like a well-oiled machine and get every ounce of production out of them possible. Here are a few tips or reminders that will help you achieve your shops highest efficiency.
- Clearly define “efficiency” and “productivity” terms for your techs so they know and understand the terms and how they can impact the result.
- Efficiency – how fast you perform each flat rate hour
- Productivity – how many flat rate hours turned in a given time period, typically an 8 hour day
- Define the GOAL – performance is always increased when the goal is specific and clear. When the goal is challenging but well within the employees capabilities, the employee will accept the challenge and typically do their best to achieve.
- Tools – Does your team have access to the best tools? Ask yourself.
- Are they well maintained and in good working order?
- Are they easy to get to?
- Are all the attachments/fittings there
- Shop supplies – how many times have you seen your tech at the back parts counter or back room looking for a connector, washer or lubricant to fiish a job. Usually they have to really look causing the loss of precious time
- Clean and organized
- Plenty of quantity on hand
- Training – Fix it right the first time is not only good for CSI but it also drastically fixes efficiency without having to spend costly time repairing the mistake
- Proper Dispatching – if you have worked with your techs for any period of time you know their strengths. Now feed it to them. If you have someone that is fast with heavy line or one that is speedy with electrical feed it to him or her.
- Leverage technology – A slow internet connection or a wireless connection that is spotty not only creates frustration but it burns delicate time. Most if not all of the factory updates are large files and uploading them to your customers car with a bad connection takes forever.
- Sales and marketing strategy – What items are you marketing to your customers? Hopefully they are ones that you can do with extreme efficiency and create good gross profit. Identify the most efficient labor operation and develop an internal spiff around that operation.
These are just a few to start with and if you observe your technicians routine or behavior there will be some other areas I’m certain you will have some constructive feedback to help your shops production. Good luck, make it fun.