Keep the line moving

This refers to the time spent physically moving trucks at your facility.

Endless ingress and egress that doesn’t coincide with completed repairs is the result of an inefficient shop, Martincic says.

In a typical heavy-duty service shop, diagnostic and preventive maintenance lanes should have the most turnover. All other bays dedicated to service and repair should move at the rates indicated by your initial estimates.

Ideally, Martincic says once a truck enters a repair bay it should only exit when its required service is complete. Rotating trucks from one bay to another to access a specific tech or machine should be kept to an absolute minimum.

One exception to this rule is specialized service.

A bay designed for a specific category of repairs, such as frame straightening or collision repair, should remain open when not being used.

Spiller says these bays should be stocked using the same methods highlighted above for mechanical bays, though the components and tools should be specific to the service performed.

“When a customer decides to use a lift in an operation or service bay we ask one simple question: What do you plan to do in this bay?” he says. “Too many man- agers believe that just adding a lift will make them more efficient. Having the right lift and productivity tools can make a tough job almost effortless.”

Assigning an employee to aid in moving trucks throughout your operation is another way to keep things moving.

Similar to the parts issues mentioned above, technicians can lose valuable time searching your lot for their next repair.

And while a full-time vehicle mover may not be feasible at your location, assigning service writers to track all units on your lot and have them provide that information to technicians when handing out new repairs will still save some time.

Service processes are another area where wasted time can be recovered, says Liddell.

“I think in our industry there’s just a lot of ‘This is how we do it,’” he says. “Business owners create a system and everyone in the shop uses it and they never change it because they don’t see anything wrong with it. They don’t see it as a problem that needs to be solved.”

But there’s a difference between being thorough and being redundant. Liddell says removing process duplicity can at times have a dramatic impact on repair times.

He notes diagnostic and service note taking as one area in the heavy-duty aftermarket where duplication remains an issue.

Having a technician input vehicle and repair information directly into your service management platform via a handheld tool, tablet or laptop is much more efficient than him writing it down and expecting your service writer to copy it, adds Riemer.

“There’s no need to do that twice, especially by hand.”

Ultimately, improving shop productivity means doing everything right the first time.

“Everything we’re doing today is focused on driving efficiency and getting units back into customers’ hands,” Delaney says. “Our goal is no comebacks. We want the repair done right the first time.”

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