Technician time utilization is the focal point of maximizing resource utilization in an auto repair business. An auto repair shop earns money by performing vehicle repairs. Anything that can be done to positively impact the direct activities of performing repair work will affect resource utilization. Having parts available when needed, minimizing vehicle movement, improving work area layouts and improving support functions will all help to better utilize technician time. Following are keys to technician time utilization:
- Order Parts in Advance – Immediate availability of parts can significantly increase vehicle throughput. Even though many shops benefit from multiple parts deliveries per day having the parts already on hand before the vehicle arrives can make a big difference in labor utilization rates.
- Optimize Task Sequence – The goal of time optimization in auto repair is to pull a vehicle into a bay and perform all repairs to be done in that bay without having to move the vehicle. So performing inspections then diagnosis followed by requested repairs will allow for recommended services to be priced and approved then required parts ordered while customer requested services are being performed. If parts needed for recommended services arrive in time then recommended services can be performed without moving the vehicle.
- Focus on Efficiencies – Efficiency is the measurement of the time a technician takes to perform a given repair vs. the time sold to the customer. Efficiencies can be affected by work area layout, proximity to required tools, number and distance of trips between the vehicle and other required areas and other factors. The smallest improvements in technician efficiency will have a significant impact on time utilization.
- Reduce Wait Times – One of the opportunities that can be exploited in optimizing labor utilization is the elimination of wait times. Labor utilization can be improved when vehicles, parts and other resources are readily available to the technician when needed.
- Improve Shop Proficiency – The ratio of available labor hours vs. hours spent working on vehicles is the measure of shop proficiency. Proficiency improvements focus on how the activities that support repair work are performed and making them more efficient. Process improvement generally involves automating manual processes, eliminating breaks in process flow and reducing steps.