December 4, 2006: Taking an in-depth look at a service department
December 4, 2006
Filed under Archives
This series of articles recaps a portion of the opportunities that were uncovered by Gart Sutton and Associates’ powersports specialists during actual consulting visits. These opportunities are followed by recommended actions.
The goal of this series is to provide ideas to help you improve your dealership.
The focus of this report was the needs assessment of a dealership’s service department.
The goals for the recommended actions were to (a) increase the profitability of the service department; (b) create an effective service write-up area and scheduling system; and (c) improve technician time tracking and reduce comeback repairs.
The first step in this three-stage process looks at the dealer’s facility from the customer viewpoint.
This multi-line rural dealership draws from surrounding communities and an established rural market. They recently moved into a new, highly visible facility, resulting in rapid growth. Their existing systems and procedures are not capable of supporting their increasing volume.
Customers can enter from the showroom through a hallway. Normally, they enter through an open, roll-up door at the back of the building by walking up a concrete ramp. Once onside, they encounter a cluttered write-up desk that is at one end of the service area. There is one designated service writer, who is assisted by the service manager. Frequently, the service writers have to go outside and down the ramp to do the write-up. The write-up area is open to the service area. There is a lot of noise, smoke and traffic from units being serviced and rolled or ridden in and out of the same entrance. There is additional traffic from the parts department and the new unit set-up area, which are located on the opposite side of the write-up desk from the shop. Customers are generally free to enter the shop area. The write-up counter is not identified by signage, and there are no menu boards or services signs. No technician diplomas or certifications are posted. There is a customer waiting area in the showroom, but there is no signage to indicate this. The shop labor rate is posted.
The shop is in need of cleaning, organizing and painting. Unacceptable posters are displayed where they can be seen by customers. Each tech has one lift and a small workbench area. The area under the workbenches is crammed with engine parts and debris. There is an exhaust system, and the work station lighting is adequate. Special tools are in unmonitored open tool boxes at the end of the service area.
This facility has a lot of unused space in the service department.
The following changes could be accomplished with a moderate investment and minimal effort:
Author, speaker and educator, Gart Sutton has been retained by every major powersport manufacturer/distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state motorcycle dealer association events. Visit www.gartsutton.com.