New fixed ops columnists join the team

Our fixed ops experts will help dealerships run more profitable service operations

Each day our technicians walk through our work shop doors and hand us a gift… that gift is eight hours of skilled time.

We have usually spent a fair amount of money training the technician so we can go so far as to call it skilled time. How we utilize that gift of eight hours every day is where we will be putting our focus.

We are all struggling to find technicians, yet in many of the dealerships we go to, the extra technician is already there, just underutilized.

How well you utilize your technicians’ time is found in one key KPI: productivity.   

Productivity is defined as Hours Punched on a work order divided by Available Hours. Simply put it is a measurement of how well you utilize the gift of the technicians’ time.

In so many dealerships that we visit, productivity is either not calculated or it is calculated incorrectly. Extra technicians are already in your workshop, you just have to increase their productivity.

When you find the time lost and increase your productivity you solve two problems: capacity and profitability.

Now onto the introductions. Wolfgang and Andy have a combined 75 years of experience in the automotive dealership world.

Wolfgang has spent his entire career in After Sales holding many positions from service advisor, parts manager, service manager to fixed operations manager. Wolfgang was also invited as part of a team to open the world’s first Mercedes-Benz Mar 2020 dealership in Switzerland.

Andy has also worn many hats from service manager to general manager, and most recently as a managing partner. We have both had rewarding careers and have worked with many amazing people and manufacturers along the way.

Okay back to the topic at hand.

Find out what your productivity number is. Anything above 90 per cent, if calculated correctly, is good.

If your workshop’s productivity is below that you need to ask, how do we lose time?

Analyze your processes from your customer’s point of view. Are you booking by the number of appointments or the number of hours? Booking by the number of appointments usually leads to running out of work early, but at a minimum it will never drive customer satisfaction.

Are your customers arriving in the service drive at the same time your technician is walking into the workshop ready to work? The morning rush is never good for our technicians.

You must have the same number of work orders already processed and ready to go as you have technicians dressed and ready to go.

Do you deliver parts to your technicians or do you have your technicians leave their bay (the place they make money) and wander across the shop and stand in line at the parts counter?

How does a technician get approval? Do they wait at the back parts counter for a quote, then walk it over to the service advisor and wait for the approval?

Can you solve this problem by establishing better lines of communication to keep the technician in their bay, making money?   

Is your shop organized in a way that benefits the technician, or is it a daily obstacle course of walking over boxes of special tools and around stacks of orphan tires that costs our technicians time?

These are but a few examples of where we lose time. We can’t stress enough that every second a technician leaves their bay, YOU ARE LOSING MONEY.

It’s about time you started to obsess about time. If a parts manager lost a $1.000 part we would all know about it and the hunt would be on.  We lose so much more than this every day in our workshops and fail to go searching for it.

Our obsession about time led us to write a book called “Stay In The Bay” A Road To A Leaner More Profitable After-sales Department, which we thought would be a great title for this column.

We often ask the questions “Why do you do it this way?” and the answer we usually hear is “Because that’s the way we have always done it.”  Here lies your opportunity.

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