Scheduling work in advance through appointments can have a significant impact on auto repair shop operations leading to greater efficiency, higher sales and more profits. A shop that operates primarily through walk in business will not be able to achieve the same efficiencies as one that works through advance scheduling. A shop that works without effective appointment scheduling is operating in reactive mode as opposed to being proactive. Further, the level of scheduling performed by the shop is important. If the date and time that the person will bring their car to the shop is the only thing recorded – the effectiveness of scheduling will not be that great. But if as much information as possible is gathered regarding maintenance and repair requirements – execution in the shop will be greatly expedited and improved. Following are points on the impact of appointment scheduling on automotive repair operations:
- Capacity Loading – Loading a shop to capacity can be measured in terms of car count and/or labor hours. Although labor hours are a more specific measurement – scheduling appointments up to a certain car count per day can positively impact shop operations.
- Resource Planning – Identifying repair requirements at the point of appointment scheduling can allow for better resource planning. For example if the shop has a dedicated resource such as an alignment rack it would be prudent not to overbook it. By the same token if one technician is the only person with a specific skill then care should be taken not to overload that individual. Also, scheduling by appointment allows leveling of the technician workload to improve efficiency.
- Parts Procurement – Through appointment processing if repair and maintenance requirements are identified – needed parts can be identified as well. This allows parts to be ordered and delivered before the vehicle arrives to be worked on. Having parts on hand vs ordering them after the vehicle is dropped off can increase vehicle throughput significantly.
- Customer Check In – Scheduling appointments and defining work requirements in advance will contribute a lot to expediting the vehicle check in process. When all or most of the needed information has been gathered prior to vehicle arrival the check in process becomes a matter of verification rather than definition. This allows for a reduction in time required by both the customer and the service advisor.
- Vehicle Throughput – Planning in advance through appointment scheduling can allow for increased vehicle throughput. Increased throughput leads to higher sales and greater profits.