We’ve talked before about how instituting a cell phone policy can help increase tech productivity, but it’s certainly not the only way to do it. Here are some ways that the right tools and equipment will help your techs spend more time in the repair bay:
Upgrading Vehicle Lifts
Like any piece of equipment, lifts get old and outdated sooner than most shop owners would like. Older lifts can incur hidden costs, especially if they’re running slowly. When you consider the amount of time technicians spend loading, lowering, lifting, and unloading throughout the day, it makes sense to upgrade to a faster lift. It’s also smart to consider lifts that offer increased work space, allowing your techs to diagnose and complete repairs faster.
Implementing a Shop Management System
A shop management system allows you to keep track of your techs and for your techs to get the most out of their time in the shop. With an SMS, you can:
- Track both tech and overall shop performance. Measuring performance means you can see what areas of your shop are performing well and which ones need improvement. When it comes to slower-moving techs, you can talk to them about their productivity with data in hand.
- Streamline estimates and repairs. Reducing the amount of time from writing an estimate to completing the repair is a huge advantage for your shop.
- Electronic documents. Part orders can be submitted via tablet, and techs can be notified when parts have arrived. Techs can pull up TSBs from their bench. Service writers can pull up old ROs to see what was recommended previously, what was put off, etc. When all the docs are digital, everyone is more efficient.
- Faster workflow. Techs and service writers can communicate without wasting time walking back and forth, chit-chatting along the way. Automation can help process paperwork, send notifications, etc.
All these little time savers work out to big time savings.
A few simple organizational tools go a long way in the repair bay. Consider adding these to your shop so techs can easily find the tools and parts they need:
- Pegboards to hold tools or small parts
- Used kitchen cabinets for under-counter storage
- Wall-mounted tool boxes to free up floor space
- Tool carts that techs can use to reduce time spent running to the bench
Plenty of Shelf Space
Providing lots of space for techs to work encourages more productivity throughout the day. Techs can start working on a new project without having to “pack up” another project that’s waiting for some reason. Shelf space keeps techs from having to work out of a cart or off the floor too, which generally saves time.
Techs aren’t robots (at least not yet, anyway). Obviously, techs can’t remember every small detail about every car made since forever. By providing techs with easy access to the information they need (service manuals, TSBs, etc), time is saved. No more hunting down some manual, asking so-and-so, or trial and error. Just pull up the info and get er’ done.