Improving shop efficiency doesn't always require transformation

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated May 8, 2024
Ashley Sowell, CEO and co-founder at Integrity Fleet Services, shares some of her company's efficiency hacks with Chris O’Brien, Fullbay COO, during the Fullbay Diesel Connect conference Tuesday in Phoenix.
Ashley Sowell, CEO and co-founder at Integrity Fleet Services, shares some of her company's efficiency hacks with Chris O’Brien, Fullbay COO, during the Fullbay Diesel Connect conference Tuesday in Phoenix.

Everyone knows increased shop efficiency increases profitability. But building a more efficient business is often easier said than done. After all, if it was easy everyone would have done it already.

During a session Tuesday at Fullbay’s Diesel Connect conference in Phoenix, Ashley Sowell, CEO and co-founder at Integrity Fleet Services, shared her company’s ongoing journey toward streamlining their shops through efficiency hacks, employee engagement and more.

“Hack efficiency, to me, is when I notice we have a consistent issue; what’s a way we can address it to work smarter, not harder?” Sowell says.

[RELATED: How to strengthen digital customer payment processing]

One area where the company’s had success is through Fullbay’s scheduler tool. Sowell says Integrity has added a specialized color coding system and leveraged reminder tools to create a corporate-wide calendar that enables associates and Sowell to see everything they “need to see at a glance so we don’t need to click into everything.” She says the categorization has been vital. All employees are trained on the process and Sowell’s structure and Fullbay’s intuitive design makes it easy for anyone to pick it up fast.

Sowell says it also makes sense to use every resource a business has available to them — and Fullbay’s platform is very robust. “If I’m paying for something, I’m going to use easy piece of it,” she says. “There are so many things in there that are at your disposal.”

That’s how Integrity started logging tool use within service orders where technicians can check in and check out equipment. She says the record keeping helps her management team know where tools are at all times, reduces tool losses and places responsibility on associates to return a tool when they’re done with it so they aren’t on the hook to replace them.

And Sowell also says you don’t need new technology to be efficient. She says old-fashioned walkie talkies have improved intra-shop communication across Integrity’s operations. She has employees check the units in and out daily — just like tools — and their simple functionality enables all associates to communicate and solve simple requests to keep the business humming.

[RELATED: HD Repair Forum: Educating the consumer and the adjuster from the shop]

“There are ways that you can inexpensively improve efficiency,” she says.

But spending a little to drive efficiency shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Sowell says a detailed incentive program with prizes employees can earn (gift cards, TVs, paid time off, etc.) has been money well spent for Integrity. With clear documentation about how the program works and how associates can earn incentives, Integrity has gamified recognition across the operation. Employees are motivated to earn incentives and enjoy competing with each other to earn as much recognition as possible, Sowell says. It helps improve customer interactions too.

“We’re all as good as our weakest link. If our weakest link is disgruntled all the time, that’s the face we’re going to put on [with customers],” she says. 

Learn how to move your used trucks faster
With unsold used inventory depreciating at a rate of more than 2% monthly, efficient inventory turnover is a must for dealers. Download this eBook to access proven strategies for selling used trucks faster.
Download
Used Truck Guide Cover