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Capacity Scheduling in Automotive Repair

Capacity scheduling is the first and highest level of scheduling in automotive repair. This refers to scheduling appointments so that enough work is loaded into the shop schedule to meet sales goals and make the most of resources without exceeding the capacity of the shop. There are indicators that can be used to gauge this while scheduling work for the shop. Car count, labor hours and sales dollars are three measurements that can be utilized to ascertain whether or not the proper amount of work has been scheduled:

  1. Car Count – This is the simplest and quickest way to establish sales goals and capacity ceilings when scheduling. Establishing a daily car count target will allow appointments to be scheduled that will meet sales goals without exceeding the capacity of the shop. If all business is done by appointment then the schedule should be loaded to the desired capacity. If a percentage of business is walk in this should be allowed for.
  2. Labor Hours – Loading the work schedule based on number of flag hours can result in a schedule that results in the proper level of labor utilization and the achievement of sales goals. This requires definition of customer requirements at the point of appointment scheduling. The tasks that the customer requests and the estimated hours to complete each must be part of the appointment. Tasks resulting from inspections and diagnoses must be anticipated as loading the shop to capacity will result in overflow if time for this additional work is not allowed for. Technician productivity ratios should also be included in determining flag hour capacity.
  3. Sales Dollars – This measurement is directed more toward goals and less toward load leveling. A check should be made to ensure that scheduled work will achieve sales and profit goals. Sometimes the mix of work will result in missed target numbers.

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