Get More Out of Your Techs
Since your service employees hold so much value in the overall success of your business, it’s important that they operate at a high level of performance.
With the help of dealership expert Bob Clements, here are 4 tips for keeping your employees more efficient and profitable.
1. Anyone in your dealership should be able to answer questions
We all have that “go-to” person at work that seems to know the answer to every question. But what happens if that person is busy, or on vacation? You’ve just lost valuable time pulling someone else away from their job who might know the answer, and you’ve created poor customer service by making people wait.
In order to help make all of your employees knowledgeable in the eyes of your customers and prevent having to pull employees away from their assigned duties, you need to record detailed information in your dealer management system.
Turn your software into a “go-to” person
The job of your software is to be that “go-to” person in your dealership, so make the most of this valuable tool.
Any employee should be able to look up customer records and answer questions regarding sales orders, service work, and other pertinent information.
The more data you have in your system, the more time all of your employees will have to perform tasks that make your dealership profitable.
2. Do not let your technicians look up or pull their own parts
This is an area where many dealerships need improvement. Clements makes it a rule that service technicians do not look up or pull their own parts.
The more time they are away from their service bays, the less billable time they are producing.
You need to have your service manager or another employee in place who does all of the parts handling for your techs.
A good system is to have a workstation back in your service bays so techs have the ability to create invoices and pick tickets from their working area for the appropriate person to retrieve.
This also helps keep your inventory quantities more accurate because there’s a direct process for taking parts out of inventory and recording the data.
Smaller dealers should add a second parts location by the service techs
We do understand that some smaller dealerships don’t have the resources to assign a particular employee to this specific task.
In this case, Clements recommends that you create a second parts location right next to your service techs and conduct inventory counts for those parts on a weekly basis so the numbers are accurate, and your techs always have the supplies they need.
3. Keep your techs operating with an 85% recovery time or higher
Clements states that in order for your technicians to be profitable, they must operate with an 85% recovery time or higher.
He measures recovery time as paid time vs. billable time for an 8 hour workday.
A break even recovery rate is 75%. If you aren’t at 75%, you are losing money.
Clements has seen techs at dealerships work at a 130% recovery rate, so set your goals high.
Your dealer management software can help you easily monitor these rates if it includes a technician time clock.
By having your techs punch in and punch out on work orders, you can easily compile data that will let you know the recovery times of each individual tech as well as your entire team.
4. Reduce the amount of non-billable activities for your technicians
The money generated by your service department is based primarily off the billable work of your technicians. Nothing can be more detrimental to your tech efficiency than having them get sucked into performing tasks they aren’t being billed for such as unloading trucks, answering phones, driving fixed equipment out of the work area, mowing the lawn, etc.
Hire someone to do your odd jobs during your busy season on a part-time basis.
You could look for high school students, good customers that are knowledgeable about your business, retired people, or someone who is just looking for a couple hours of work per day.
The extra money generated from your techs turning wrenches as opposed to doing these odd jobs should justify the cost of hiring someone to do busy work.