Milestones or the planned dates/times that specific activities in the automotive repair process are to be completed are a critical part of planning and scheduling. Ultimately the most important date/time is the promised delivery of the vehicle to the customer. And this date is contingent upon the timely completion of all milestones leading up to it. Moving any scheduled milestone will affect other areas of the schedule and care should be taken when doing so. Following are automotive repair process milestones and their potential impact on planning and scheduling:
- Parts Delivery – Delivery of parts required for repairs will impact the completion of required vehicle repairs. Some shops are in highly populated areas where distributors make several parts deliveries per day. Sometimes shops have to order parts and have them shipped. Parts deliveries are an integral link in the vehicle repair chain. Promised delivery date/times given to the customer are often contingent on parts delivery date/times. If parts deliveries are late the work required to complete repairs can be impacted.
- Task Completion – In order for a scheduled plan to be effective repair tasks and support functions must be completed as scheduled. If a technician is allowed a specific amount of time to complete a task and it takes longer than that – the schedule will be impacted and other activities in the plan will be affected. Also, if a support function such as sourcing or ordering required parts is not performed on schedule – the rest of the plan will be impacted.
- Scheduled Vehicle Delivery – The date/time a customer is given for delivery of their vehicle is extremely important to customer relations. Missing a promised delivery date can have a negative impact on credibility and trust. Also, having to move a vehicle delivery date forward can negatively impact productivity.
- The Ripple Effect – Moving a milestone can affect the timing of other scheduled work. For example moving the scheduled delivery date for a vehicle will not only affect the scheduled activities for that vehicle it will also impact the start date/time for the next vehicle and all activities related to it as well. So adjusting milestones in a shop schedule can have a major impact in several areas.