PSB 123s: Increasing technician efficiency
Liz Hochstedler, Associate Editor
December 21, 2012
Filed under Features
1. Decrease the technician’s time away from the service area. Joe Loukota of Motorcycle Mechanics Institute recommends dealers keep an eye on and reduce the amount of time techs spend at the parts counter, talking to other employees, taking breaks or horsing around.
2. Hire an employee to stage jobs. “Invest in an employee whose responsibility is to stage all jobs for the technicians; including pulling the units in and out of service areas and having all parts pulled and ready for the job,” Amanda Blackstone of The Butler Group Atlanta, LLC advises.
3. Ensure efficient interaction between parts and service. Make sure parts and accessories are pulled and ready before the techs receive ROs, says Ray Wilt and Doug Hough of WyoTech’s Daytona campus in Florida. “By having parts available with RO, the tech can concentrate on the repairs, completing the job, and not have to waste time waiting for parts. Pre-stage parts in bins or boxes for common routine maintenance services (e.g. 10Ks). Electronically save pick list for common jobs to eliminate redundant parts look-up time.”
4. Schedule all jobs. “In a perfect world, we try to get every work order on the schedule,” said Mark Niforopolus, owner of St. Boni Motor Sports in St. Bonifacius, Minn. “Honestly, that’s the one way a writer can truly communicate with the customer about where they’re at.”
5. Make parts are available before work begins. A service manager and/or service writer should verify parts are in stock for service work prior to the technician beginning the work, says Loukota. He also advises establishing a “quick service counter” for technicians only.
6. Keep the shop clean and organized. “Have a designated area for all special tools and diagnostic computers/cables/software,” Blackstone said. “Keep lube areas well stocked. Maintain the service department equipment to ensure everything is in working order.”
7. Charge popular batteries in advance. “Most batteries require a charge period of at least 10 hours or longer,” said Christopher Salvagno of WyoTech Fremont in California. “One way to increase technician efficiency is to have the most popular brands of batteries prepped, charged and ready to install. This will reduce completion time of the job for the technician and reduce the wait time for the customer.”
8. Use a flat rate book. “Utilization of a flat rate book is essential, instead of a service writer shooting from the hip,” Niforopolus said.
9. Assign two lifts to each tech. “A tech should have access to two lifts, that way if a repair needs to be authorized, the tech can move on to the next lift and the next job. Time is wasted racking and de-racking the same bike multiple times,” said Christopher Vaugh of WyoTech Fremont.
10. Assure repair orders are written correctly. “Skilled service writers are the first step in diagnosing customer concerns,” Loukota explained. “Poorly written repair orders cost hours of diagnosing time and many times end in customers returning with the same complaint.”