High level scheduling in automotive repair involves loading the shop to the desired capacity without actually assigning specific resources to work. For example if the goal of a shop is to load 20 flag hours per day into the schedule then this would be done without assigning technicians, service advisors or dedicated resources to appointments. Once the shop is loaded to the desired capacity then detail scheduling would be the next step. Following are primary points to consider when setting a high level schedule:
- Technician Hours – Maximizing labor hour utilization is the focal point of scheduling. As appointments are accepted the tasks they include don’t necessarily need to be assigned to specific technicians. But the number of hours required are critical to establishing a point at which additional appointments can be scheduled. High level scheduling involves loading the appropriate number of hours into the schedule without actually assigning technicians to tasks.
- Service Advisor Time – A service advisor often fulfills many functions in automotive repair processing. Often they schedule appointments, assign work to technicians, check vehicles in, build tasks, order parts, receive parts, deliver vehicles to customers and more. High level scheduling should take into consideration the time required for a service advisor to perform the duties required according to the schedule.
- Dedicated Resources – Specialized bays and equipment are examples of resources with fixed capacity. At the point of high level scheduling specific times for dedicated resource utilization do not need to be set but care must be taken that the total number of scheduled hours doesn’t exceed their capacity.
- Parts – At the point of high level scheduling a widely accepted practice is to assume that all parts will be available when needed. Usually average lead times for part deliveries are used to set work schedules. However there may be parts required that have longer lead times and if these are recognized scheduling should reflect this.