This seems obvious, but all too often when a repair overshoots its estimated completion time the reason can be traced back to a tooling or mechanical issue.
You can’t expect technicians to improve turnaround time if you don’t equip them with everything they need. And this doesn’t just mean wrenches and screwdrivers.
Improving service productivity can require a significant financial investment in larger equipment, such as hydraulic lifts and jacks, DPF cleaning units, frame straightening tools and dynamometers.
The most important thing is making sure you have the tools specifically required for the service you’re offering, says Brent Patterson, sales manager at Direct Equipment Supply.
“Back in the day a lot of different components could be serviced using the same handful of tools. The parts were built in a simpler fashion; they were much more mechanical,” he says. “Now we’re dealing with more advanced technology and different tools are needed to perform that service.”
And some tools aren’t only valuable for the speed they provide in repair. They also can add significant safety benefits, says Doug Spiller, heavy-duty product manager at Rotary Lift.
“Having a vehicle at an ergonomic height allows a tech to move freely between the service area and necessary tools and equipment. Technicians can even bring their tools under the vehicle, reducing trips, bending, stooping and crawling from under vehicles,” he says. “This reduces chances for injury and wear on the technician.”
Having a communal tool section also can help speed up repairs, as technicians who lack a specific tool in their bay can quickly walk to a centralized location and check out the tool they need.
And if these centralized tool chests are controlled using smart inventory technology, managers can track what tools are checked out and for what repairs at any given time, says Savage.
That tracking also comes in handy when assigning repairs to technicians after trucks complete diagnostic testing. Trucks shouldn’t enter a bay until a tech has all of the parts, tools and equipment on hand to get them fixed.
“Even if a service provider can access the part locally the truck will probably be pulled out of the shop,” Martincic says. “Service providers cannot afford to have a bay down or a technician waiting.”