Auto Service World
News   January 17, 2023   by Adam Malik

How to drop repetitive tasks in a shop

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A shop that has too many repetitive tasks is being bogged down and needs to find a way to streamline its procedures.

Finding ways to save a step or shift things around could save minutes every hour which can turn into more money for a shop, said Vin Waterhouse, president and founder of The Waterhouse Group, which provides accounting, coaching and training expertise to the automotive aftermarket.

He said a shop has about 80 tasks they do on a regular basis but 15 of them take up the vast majority of a technician’s time. Thing is, they’re fairly important tasks, like taking a vehicle for a test drive and doing safety inspections.

“We found out that your 15 repetitive activities will consume 77-82 per cent of how your time is spent, whether it’s profitable or not,” Waterhouse told attendees of his session Show Me the Money at NAPA Expo 2022.

That works out to about 108 man-hours a week doing those tasks. At 40 hours a week, you need 2.7 technicians for just 15 tasks.

“What about the other 60 to 65 things that you have to do?” Waterhouse asks.

This leads to chaos and confusion. And if a shop is growing rapidly, that accentuates the problem because there is generally just a small team and the owner may be the only technician or the only manager — there’s no one with whom to share the workload.

“If almost all your time is consumed in the top 15 most repetitive activities, you still have to do all the other things, and a lot of things you don’t make any money on but you got to do it,” Waterhouse said.

For a bigger shop, what he recommended was to sit down with your employees and see where their pain points are.

“They’re the ones who do it,” he said. “Get a list of their top 15 most repetitive activities, and ask them what it would take to make it better [and] how you could save one step out of each one of them.”

Because if those tasks are repeated multiple times a day every day, that’s several hundred times a month they’re done. “If you could save one step on each of those 15, how much would you save?” Waterhouse asked.

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