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Mechanic being timed

Clickbait? On first thought, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. But bear with me and I’ll show you why there’s a LOT more to the productive output of your technicians than meets the eye.

Make it to the end of this article and you could well earn another £25k per tech in the next 12 months. Interested? Then read on…..

It’s an incredibly interesting time in our industry. Whilst many garage owners are focused on the new technology coming over the hill (with good reason) there’s an emerging group of garage owners that are turning their attention to the health of their business and just as a doctor would measure your vitals to assess your well being, these owners are looking at the “vitals” in their business with a view to improving the output.

Healthy business performance

Why is this happening now? As I said, it’s interesting….

This is nothing new by the way. Since the dawn of time, the key to any business has been analysis of the important metrics, an understanding of what this information is telling you followed by patient implementation of change and then further analysis. It’s a thing of beauty to behold. Not only is it beautiful but it’ll increase your profitability and allow you to do some very cool things for your customers and team members with all that extra money!

And do you know what? There’s never been a better time to measure this kinda stuff. With software like Garage Hive finding a foothold in many independent workshops, there’s never been a better time to jump on board and start measuring what counts. After all, if you can’t measure it then you ain’t gonna change it!

There’s just one problem. And it’s an important one!!

Measuring technician efficiency in isolation isn’t going to get you there! 

If that’s the case then why is it that these smart garage management software companies include it in their reports? Have they got it wrong? Definitely not! The key thing to remember is that technician efficiency is just one metric and measuring just one thing and hoping to improve it is like a doctor assuming you’re healthy just by measuring your pulse. It ain’t gonna work.

So let’s take a look at why we can’t look at technician efficiency in isolation……

Imagine that you have a vehicle in for a service and you’ve allowed 2 hours to complete that job. All is well right up until the point you look at your weekly technician efficiency report and see that this particular technician has an average of 57%.

Upon further inspection, you see that the tech took 3.35 hours rather than the 2 hours allowed (and sold) on that job. Now, I wouldn’t presume to tell you how you’d act, but experience tells me that it’s not unusual for a garage owner to point a metaphorical finger at the tech, assume they’ve been dawdling and vow to themselves that technician efficiency MUST be improved! 

And here’s the thing, I get it….. and in truth who would blame you for coming to that initial conclusion? Certainly not me.

So if it’s not the fault of the tech then who’s fault is this low technician efficiency?
Upon further inspection, the lost time on this job could be attributed to one of 16 (or more) culprits. See what you think of this…..

  1. Was a multiplier to the book repair time applicable for this vehicle and not applied?
  2. Did the front of house team members quote enough time for the job initially?
  3. Were the keys and the vehicle easily/readily accessible?
  4. Was time to road test the vehicle given on the job card?
  5. Do you allow time to bring the vehicle into the workshop on the job card?
  6. Was the service allocated to the most suitable technician?
  7. Were all required parts with the technician for the start of the job?
  8. We’re the parts checked at the beginning of the job to ensure they were correct?
  9. Was all technical information given to the technician with their job card?
  10. Did the technician have all the required tools to hand in their bay?
  11. Was the locking wheel nut key easily accessible?
  12. Was the technician well managed through the job to keep them on time?
  13. Do you allow time on the job card for the technician to communicate with the front of house team or workshop manager as the job progresses or at the end of the repair?
  14. Was the technician required to help another tech in the workshop whilst on this job?
  15. Did the technician find additional repairs required on the vehicle and not request time to complete them prior to doing the work?
  16. Is the technician lazy or should work more efficiently?

There are many more reasons why technician efficiency could be low, but I’m sure by now you get my gist. It’s never quite as easy as plumping straight for number 16, making it someone else’s problem and thinking that the solution is a hearty slap on the back, a kick in the arse or buying that tech lunch on a Friday to keep them sweet is not gonna move the needle by a meaningful amount. There are just too many variables to consider.

The fact that software like Garage Hive exists, means we now have the capability to accurately measure crucial metrics cost-effectively – it’s just brilliant. However, we need to be mindful though…

Having the data is essential (we’d be guessing without it), but accurate analysis and more importantly considering WHY the data is as it is, is where the magic happens.

It would be all too easy to think that improving technician efficiency is just a case of adding “fix technician efficiency” to your to-do list and discussing how to motivate your techs. When in fact it should be considered as a project, managed as one and consistently implemented across the front of house team and the workshop team for the benefit of all.

Where would you start? With the 16 points mentioned. But like all things it can often help to involve someone that’s done this before to smooth out the humps in the road and help you dodge the potholes, that’s where we come in.

If you’re looking to drive your garage forwards and would like to work with a company that will not only outline what needs to be done (considering the context of your garage) but work alongside you to implement it, then feel free to call. We’re very efficient at getting you where you need to be and increasing the profitability of your garage 😉

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