Schedule Density

Chris Murray
I have recently taken over a VW service department. We have been overwhelmed with two things; Customers and complaints! We have been using a scheduling system (X-Time) but it is not providing any level of "intelligence" when it comes to properly stacking the schedule. We have 4 technicians, two A's a B and c++. The efficiency is 93.7% since January. Two things have had a negative impact on the efficiency; missing tools and my inexperience at scheduling, I suspect. How many Diagnostic appointments, how many regular maintenance appointments, how many recalls, etc.... should be on the total schedule and per technician? I notice two things about VW's; they break ALL the time and the customers think they have purchased a Rolls Royce and seem to enjoy NOT being satisfied!
Mark Miller
Having spent several years in a group with a VW store, I agree that their expectations are high. That said, we fought the battle to better educate the owners on what they really had, and while we didn't makeup a lot of ground, we got through to some. It sounds as though your X-Time may not configured properly or not used properly. I have some knowledge of the product and have seen it work very well for many dealers. At the most basic level, I used an old fashioned scheduling style called "time buckets". In this system you total the available hours for all the techs, with 4 you can use a base of 32 hours a day. You subtract and hold over work from this bucket first, then as you set each appointment, you subtract the amount of time that job should take from the remaining bucket. Most A level techs will get more than 8 Flat rate hours in a day, so this leaves some room for upsells from diagnostic work. This is a very basic system and does require the advisors to remove the time from the buckets and requires the person setting the appointment to know how long repairs take. In my case, I always did both do it was never an issue. I would contact your X-Time rep and make sure you guys are set up and using the program properly as well.
Steve Tuschen
One of the brands I currently manage is VW. I have X-time for my online appointment system but I don't use it at a scheduler. I have a google word document that has the days and the hours on them. As we set appointments we block the time out, as soon as you know you have a carry over you block the next day, this way if you need to move the time, and so on. I can show you what I have if you send me an email to stevet@mankatomotors.com. I will give you read access to mine that you can copy and make your own, which I can also help you with if you have questions. For scheduling if you have 4 techs and at the efficiency you stated that would be a max of 30 hours per day, I wouldn't schedule more than 80% until you really get a flow that brings it down to 24 hours a day. This will allow you to take in drive ups, break downs, and have room for upsells. If you aren't filling the day with the above three then you can move the schedule hours up. If you are going to use X-Time for scheduling you can have them set the same parameters it is whatever is most convenient for your team.
Denim Simkins
@Chris - Mark is right - Xtime can and should be configured to allow you more control. A way that I used XTime to control the shop flow was I created 3 shops within my store and only allowed a certain amount of appointments per shop per day or even per hour. For instance we had a "main shop" "express shop" and "Recalls". This allowed me to restrict certain op codes for each shop, therefore keeping better control of what I had the ability to complete each day. Control is necessary but.... I would not let it choke the department. The inventory of time available has to be maximized every day. What ever time is not turned in the day does not cary over, you simply loose it. It is impossible to to make it up the following day. An area that XTime does not interface real well with is the carry overs and removing the shop hours out of the next days "bucket". Carry overs happen and are necessary if your really going to press on the gas and improve the efficiency %. What a great problem to be discussing, how can we improve something that is already producing? Seems to me the immediate answer would be to get more from the current producers during this heavy time of traffic and look at growing with some additional help.
Steve Tuschen
@Denim, Great points on all, you have to maximize each day's hours and adding before it becomes a problem.
Mark Miller
@Denim, that is a great way to use X-Time and a good point, you cannot carry unused hours over, but you have to account for the carry over work hours.

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