Improving vehicle turnaround time will provide better service to customers and reduce operating costs in the process. Preparation and planning are primary keys to improving throughput in a repair operation. Streamlining and improving procedures to ensure best utilization of resources will result in higher capacity and thus lower overhead cost per vehicle. Increasing throughput will result in higher sales and improved profitability. Following are keys to improving vehicle repair turnaround time:
- Schedule Work Through Appointments – Preparation is half the battle. Knowing what resources and parts are needed in advance will support having resources available when needed. Just booking an appointment without knowing what will be needed in terms of technicians, bays and parts negates this possibility.
- Don’t Overbook – It’s important when advance scheduling to not overbook a technician, bay or piece of equipment. Overbooking will create a bottleneck and inhibit work flow.
- Schedule Based On Productivity Ratio – When scheduling work for a technician take his/her productivity ratio into consideration. For example, a technician with a productivity ratio of 1.5 can complete 12 flag hours of work in an 8 hour day.
- Level Load the Schedule – It’s advantageous to schedule an equal amount of work for technicians and bays to the greatest degree possible. Even workloads make the best use of resources.
- Order Parts in Advance – When appointments are made and the required work is defined at that time the necessary parts can be ordered before the vehicle arrives to be worked on. Having the parts available before work starts on the vehicle will significantly improve throughput.
- Reduce Move and Queue Times – Setting up shop floor layouts and defining procedures so that the distance travelled between one step in the process and another will reduce the move time between operations. Level loading will reduce the amount of time something waits to be worked on (queue time).
- Eliminate Process Breaks – If there are points in the repair process at which a person has to look for the next thing to do when it’s time to start it there is a break in the process. The person should know what the next job will be well before it’s time to start it.
- Design Continuous Flow Processes – Work flow optimization requires seeing the forest and not just the trees. Focusing on points where work occurs is necessary to achieving optimal utilization of individual resources. Focusing on how work flows from point to point through the repair cycle allows for optimization of all resources to the greatest degree possible. Sacrificing utilization at a single work area in order to maximize throughput in the entire environment will result in the best possible turnaround time.