Picture this scenario: A shop has a pair of technicians. One is constantly reading up on new vehicle technology, they’re taking in training and embracing all that is coming. The other is the opposite. They come in, do their work and that’s it.
Yet, they’re both being paid the same. This is certain to cause angst, predicted Rob Morrison, Canadian fixed operations manager at Phaff/Lithia.
He called flat rate a “dinosaur” system during Centennial College’s Driving the Future 2.0 event. These days, the job of the technician is to tell a story to the customer through digital video inspections and other documentation. It’s “an articulate document” that describes what was done.
“You have a vast amount of learning that you have to do now that there is no financial reward for doing under the flat rate system,” Morrison said as part of a panel discussion. “You’re penalized in that system for becoming an expert at fixing the new stuff that you’re not going to be fast at and somebody is rewarded for shying away from embracing the new technologies.”
If someone just wants to do brakes, then they will because they’re not incentivized to go beyond that, he added. And in the end, it’s the customer who gets penalized.
“Because our most rewarding jobs are the things that are the basic maintenance on the car. That doesn’t make sense, right? It’s a silly system,” Morrison said.
Efficiency needs to be rewarded, he stressed. Morrison knows the change will eventually come. With a huge demand for skilled labour, the industry needs to change to attract those people in. They want to know they’ll be paid for being in the building “but they also want to know, they’re going to be rewarded for being better at what they do,” he said.
Morrison also pointed out that he’s seeing the idea being more and more embraced. “It’s recognized that [flat rate] is not an efficient system anymore.”