Welcome back to our ASE C1 test preparation. We have been talking previously about communicating with the customer and the aspects of handling the knowledge transfer with them. Today we are taking our first look at shop operations.
Our first area of shop operations is managing workflow. Not having enough work is admittedly a bad thing. But having too much work and not meeting customers expectations is far worse for longterm business relationships. Remember in our earlier segments where we established a schedule of events with our customer and then mt those as they occurred throughout the day? Well over scheduling leads to a complete failure of those commitments and the entire system gets stressed as it breaks apart.
There are many ways to control shop workflow. The key element in all of them is to understand what your shop capabilities actually are. Based on your technicians, the number of bays and your ability to get the vehicles thru the shop and back to the customers. This is known as thru-put.
Some systems use the appointment system to control the workload. Others use technician capacity to control the appointment system to govern the shop. Some shops just have a maximum number of vehicles they take in per day and manage it that way. The key to any of these is to be sure you have some record of who is coming in when and what service they require. Then understand who and when the service will be completed. Remember, Parts availability plays a big role in this scheduling.
Each one of these systems has drawbacks. The important thing to understand is your system and why it is best for your shop and your customers. No system is the worst. Closely followed by a system that is not adhered to and monitored. Everyone needs to be in complete understanding of how your scheduling works and why it is necessary. This will go along way towards offering your customer the experience they are looking for and your shop the sold hours they deserve.
One area that can really play havoc on your scheduling is after hours drop offs. These vehicles can be left in many places around your property and be hard to locate. Then there is the issue of the keys. Trying to find keys while the technician is left idle is not a recipe for success. Have a specific area for drop offs. Be sure this area is secure and a clearly marked place for keys to be dropped that is also secure. Familiarize your customers with this process if you offer it. It can be a competitive edge for you if properly managed.
All of the above procedures need to be monitored and changed as your business and customer base changes. This is not a set it and forget it topic. Continual monitoring will ensure top performance for your business and the best customer experience possible.