Is your shop a mess? Are techs walking from one end of the shop to the other to get tools, supplies and parts? They’re wasting a lot of time and losing your shop money, experts warned.
Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s European Service, repeated a phrase taught to him: There’s no money in muck.
“You cannot make money if you’re constantly walking in that. How do we get footprints and kick marks in cars? Because we’re not being careful,” he said at the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo in March in Kansas City.
“So one side of the cleanliness is respecting the area that we work in, showing respect and appreciation to the shop owner, showing respect and appreciation for the customer to keep their car clean. And I’m reducing my chance of slipping on a spill or tripping on hose because I’m just taking a couple minutes to clean my area.”
If you think your shop is clean, take a picture, Scandura said during his presentation Unleash the Power of Your Shop Foreman and Take Them to the Next Level. If looking at a picture of your work area puts you off or you wouldn’t be proud enough to show it to your mother, clean it up.
“What you’ve looked at what you see every single day, you don’t notice,” he said.
Another issue is the location of tools, equipment and supplies.
“Do all the techs know where to get supplies? What do they got to jump through and move around to get to them?” asked Bryan Stasch, vice president of product and content development at the Automotive Training Institute.
Every morning, shop owners should be making sure they have all the supplies they need, he added during his presentation Master the Chaos — Art and Science of a Successful Service Advisor at the expo.
Bill Hass, of Haas Performance Consulting, speaks at MWACA Vision 2022
“I’ve also seen spots where I have a shop owner that has all the supplies locked in a cabinet,” Stasch said. “And I get it, supplies are expensive. Not everybody’s going to like it, but to me, that is tripping over dollars to save cents. Is there easy access for supplies and stuff for your techs?”
Everything a tech needs should be a dedicated spot. They should know where everything is located, not scattered around or in the bay of the last tech who used it. Think about bay layout. Is each bay designed for maximum efficiency for the technician?
“If you’re going to walk a mile to go get an oil filter or oil or whatever it might be, what does that cost you?” Scandura asked of lead technicians. “Sit there with a stopwatch: How much time is [spent going] back and forth times how many times a day? Multiply that by your labour rate. You’re going to find a lot of dollars that is going out the door. So as [lead technician] you can go back to your boss and say, ‘Hey, can we move the shelf here? Can we do [it] this way?’ Change the layout of the shop to make it more efficient, you can convert that into dollars [so] they can see.”
Furthermore, technicians should have their own tool cart. If a tech in his shop didn’t have one, Stasch bought them one. It makes them more productive and more efficient, he said.
Bill Hass, owner of Haas Performance Consulting LLC, dedicated to the automotive service and repair industry, agreed.
“Their toolbox is over here, the car they’re working on is over here and that means 5,800 trips back and forth. What are you doing? Buy the guy a tool cart, tell him to put the tools he needs and roll the tool cart down to the job,” he said during his Systems and Process Drive Operational Excellence session at the same event.