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It’s already started, 30 days into the new year, and we are already discussing shop efficiency.

Typically, the conversation is about getting more techs, getting our techs certified and getting the techs to speed up their work…that should fix our shop efficiency issues…right??

Well the first two statements are really about production, not efficiency, and techs working faster is not always the answer, due to quality control being in jeopardy.

Overall shop efficiency, as well as tech efficiency, is really derived from how structured and organized our service admin team is…specifically the shop dispatcher or foreman.

Speaking of which, don't get wrapped up in the title of a shop foreman or a shop dispatcher, specifically if both titles are accomplishing the same; shop scheduling, repair order dispatching process, and QC process!!!

Let’s not forget the administrative responsibilities of a foreman/dispatcher as well, such as; verifying cause and correction write-ups, warranty parts return, and proper picture taking process for parts ordering and warranty processing!!!

This is where time management and a few key processes in place really drive efficiency, and your shop foreman/dispatcher needs to spearhead these opportunities.

The following are key elements/processes that are pertinent to shop efficiency:

  • Reviewing repair orders with advisors for proper documentation/investigation prior to dispatching or assigning a technician the repair order or job
  • Assigning the repair orders to the correct tech based on skill-set and loading up day/week
  • Review what vehicles will need specific parts installed and or shop supplies needed prior to vehicle coming in the shop
  • Making rounds from tech to tech throughout the day to observe job lines completed and time needed for remaining job lines on repair order
  • While making the “technician rounds” throughout the shop, QC labor lines that are completed and sign off on jobs. Note: You won’t be tying up the tech when he/she his completed with the vehicle to go through a lengthy repair order. This will expedite the tech to the next vehicle and repair order.
  • Ensure parts are pre-pulled based from discussion in the “Daily Status Meeting”
  • Notify fork-lift driver ahead of completion of tech’s repair order, of next vehicle to be pulled in the shop.  At the same time, notify back-parts counter person to sell over and expedite parts to specific technician’s bay.  Note: Hopefully these parts have been inspected for physical condition and correctness prior to accepting them in our shipping and receiving area!!
  • Reviewing the next day’s schedule for drop-offs vs. waiters
  • Daily conversation and recognition with appropriate personnel regarding warranty/customer authorizations and parts arrivals or parts ETA’s

When your shop foreman or dispatcher has the above-mentioned skill-sets and priorities, mixed in with their ability to recognize proper time management needed to conduct these responsibilities, then and only then will you see an increase in shop efficiency and productivity.