In vehicle repair, time is a valuable currency. As the owner and operator of a network of repair shops, I quickly learned that improving Turnaround Time (TaT) wasn’t just about efficiency; it’s about providing top-notch service to our valued customers while keeping operational costs in check. A key contributor to optimising TaT has been a robust Shop Management System, which has guided us towards enhanced efficiency. Join me on a journey as we explore the keys to enhancing vehicle repair TaT, making every moment in the shop count.
Preparation and planning are primary keys to improving throughput in a repair operation. Streamlining and improving procedures to ensure best utilization of resources result in higher capacity and thus lower overhead cost per vehicle. Increasing throughput results in higher sales and improved profitability.
Following are keys to improving vehicle repair turnaround time:
1. Schedule Work Through Appointments – Preparation is half the battle. Knowing what resources and parts are needed in advance will support having resources available when needed. Just booking an appointment without knowing what will be needed in terms of technicians, bays and parts negates this possibility.
A Shop Management System allows you to seamlessly schedule appointments, enabling you to plan resources and parts in advance for each job. This ensures a smoother workflow and reduces downtime.
2. Don’t Overbook – It’s important when advance scheduling to not overbook a technician, bay or piece of equipment. Overbooking will create a bottleneck and inhibit work flow.
A Shop Management System helps you monitor technician availability and prevents overbooking, ensuring that each member of your team has the capacity to focus on their assigned tasks.
3. Schedule Based On Productivity Ratio – When scheduling work for a technician take his/her productivity ratio into consideration. For example, a technician with a productivity ratio of 1.5 can complete 12 hours of work in an 8 hour day.
A Shop Management System can track individual technician productivity ratios, allowing you to allocate tasks accordingly for optimal efficiency.
4. Level Load the Schedule – It’s advantageous to schedule an equal amount of work for technicians and bays to the greatest degree possible. Even workloads make the best use of resources.
With a Shop Management System, you can evenly distribute workload among your team members, ensuring that each bay operates at full capacity.
5. Order Parts in Advance – When appointments are made and the required work is defined at that time the necessary parts can be ordered before the vehicle arrives to be worked on. Having the parts available before work starts on the vehicle will significantly improve throughput.
A Shop Management System tracks inventory levels and can generate orders for necessary parts, ensuring they’re ready for use when the vehicle arrives.
6. Reduce Move and Queue Times – Setting up shop floor layouts and defining procedures so that the distance travelled between one step in the process and another will reduce the move time between operations. Level loading will reduce the amount of time something waits to be worked on (queue time).
Utilize your Shop Management System to analyze Productivity and Efficiency. Accordingly, optimize the layout of your shop, reducing unnecessary movements and minimizing queue times.
7. Eliminate Process Breaks – If there are points in the repair process at which a person has to look for the next thing to do when it’s time to start it, there is a break in the process. The person should know what the next job will be well before it’s time to start it.
A Shop Management System provides clear, step-by-step instructions for each job, eliminating process breaks and ensuring a seamless workflow.
8. Design Continuous Flow Processes – Work flow optimization requires seeing the forest and not just the trees. Focusing on points where work occurs is necessary to achieving optimal utilization of individual resources. Focusing on how work flows from point to point through the repair cycle allows for optimization of all resources to the greatest degree possible. Sacrificing utilization at a single work area in order to maximize throughput in the entire environment will result in the best possible turnaround time.
A Shop Management System helps you visualize and optimize the entire repair process, ensuring a continuous flow of work from start to finish.
Through my years of hands-on experience in the repair industry, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact that a well-optimized Turnaround Time can have. It’s a commitment to providing the best service to our valued customers. With the aid of a good Shop Management System, we’ve been able to turn these principles into tangible results. So, as you step into your own repair shop, remember that every second counts. Implement these keys and leverage technology to enhance your vehicle repair TaT, and watch as your operations flourish. Together, let’s drive the industry forward, one efficient repair at a time.
A personal note: It’s completely natural to wonder if these strategies apply to smaller repair shops. The truth is, these lessons are adaptable for repair shops of any size. Don’t be daunted by industry jargon (even those I’ve written in the article); instead, focus on the core principles and identify areas that work for you best. Continuous improvement is important for success, and it’s all about honing in on areas that deliver the biggest impact, both for your business and your valued customers. Remember, every step counts on the path to a more efficient and customer-centric operation!”