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Perspectives: Ideas to Improve Shop Productivity

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How many technicians do you have at your shop? How many bays do you have at the shop? The average shop has 1.6 bays per technician. With this type of ratio, technician productivity should be very high because the tech can stay busy on one car, while waiting on parts for another car. But what does this do for bay productivity?

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In a perfect world, there would be one tech per bay, no cars sitting in a bay waiting for the right parts to be delivered, and no waste of valuable shop real estate. Given the amount of parts inventory a shop would need to make this feasible, I probably won’t ever see it. So goes the balancing act between keeping bays and techs busy.

There are many dynamics that are factored together to make a shop truly productive, and much of that depends on the type of people employed and type of services offered.

With the goal of providing you with ideas to improve shop productivity, Babcox Research asked a sample of shop owner readers for their ideas on this topic. We received dozens of great responses, so thank you to those of you who responded.

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10 Ideas to Improve Shop Productivity

  1. Stock fast-moving parts and don’t run out of shop supplies.

  2. Order the right parts the first time. Order parts online.

  3. Have a compensation plan that rewards techs who are more productive and whose work results in fewer comebacks.

  4. Keep the shop clean and organized.

  5. Make sure your technicians have all the diagnostic information they need. Information is power and will help them make the repair quicker.

  6. Specialize. Be selective in the repairs you offer. Some jobs do not belong in every shop.

  7. Training. Training. Training – on repair procedures, vehicle knowledge and shop procedures.

  8. Outfit the shop with the proper tools and equipment, along with good lighting, heat and A/C, ventilation, etc.

  9. Assign work to the appropriate tech; don’t have the A tech changing tires. That’s work the general service tech should be doing.

  10. Sell the complete job along with wiper blades, lights, etc. Sell preventive maintenance work that can be scheduled and order the parts needed for the job ahead of time.

We also received a lot of comments about keeping techs off their cell phones, keeping them from talking about last night’s game and getting caught up in other shop distractions. We will add these to our list on the website, along with any other ideas you would like to add. Just send me an e-mail.

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