The ‘A’ word. Accountability. It’s scary for people who don’t want a light shining on their work product. But in a diesel repair shop, it breeds efficiency, high morale, and satisfied customers.
Accountability Creates Efficiency
The longer the lag time or gap between a problem happening and a problem being identified and dealt with, the bigger the drag on efficiency. The shorter the lag time, the faster problems are solved and the more efficient the shop is.
If a tech is going way over hours on a job and doesn’t want to tell anyone, it drags your efficiency down. But if you can see in real time that he’s going over, as an owner or manager you can step in and address the issue. When there is a long lag time, costs rise and it creates more room for mistrust.
As a leader, it is your job to shrink the gap.
But what if you don’t have an information system that tells you quickly if something has gone wrong? You can develop a culture of accountability, and encourage your techs to bring up issues sooner. You should always be working on this. But you can also use shop management software that does give you real time information (see our demo request at the bottom of this page).
Accountability Increases Morale
Money only motivates people to a point. It’s extrinsic in nature. True, lasting motivation comes from things that are intrinsic. For example, a sense of belonging to something greater.
When your technicians feel like they are part of a team that is accomplishing great things, they feel an intrinsic motivation to do great work. If they can see the billed hours, for example, of their fellow techs, and they know everyone can see their own hours, it creates a sense of excitement and motivation that you can’t get with money.
Make meaningful goals around billed hours as a shop, and pay your techs in a way that they are fully aligned with the goal.
Accountability Creates Satisfied Customers
For example, when a customer calls in a repair, let them see the status of the repair all the way from request to invoicing. Don’t hide that information. Yes, it means they’ll know if you haven’t gotten to the truck yet, or if you’ve screwed up and dragged your feet on getting the parts in.
But it also means that you know the customer is watching, so you are less likely to drag your feet. And so are your employees. That means repairs are done faster, and your shop runs more efficiently.
Customers appreciate being kept in the loop, especially since heavy duty shop customers rely so heavily on their trucks to make money. They can handle bad news, so you don’t need to sugar coat it. You also don’t need to hide information that in the end you’re better off sharing.
We recommend you give customers access to the following:
- Repair status in real time
- Fleet report and unit listing
- Full service history, searchable, for their units
- Preventive maintenance schedules
- A live repair request
Authorization and Custody, the Twin Children of Accountability
Authorization and custody lie at the heart of accountability in a heavy duty truck shop. Customers authorize diag time and approve estimates. Any action taken on a customer unit should be in response to some authorization from the customer.
What if you could trace any work done on a customer truck to a person authorizing that work, with a time and date stamp?
Custody matters when you need to hold a unit for payment, or when you’re keeping track of parts. For example, if you have a walk in customer with no credit terms, you need to make sure you keep custody of their truck until you have payment in full. Who has possession of the truck can make the difference between getting paid and getting stiffed.
With parts, custody also matters. Who is accountable to return cores? What if a part ends up not being used on a repair — does it get returned? Who is accountable?
What if you could trace custody of any part, core, or truck to a person and a time/date stamp? We built this into Fullbay.
Accountability doesn’t have to be scary. It breeds efficiency and high morale in diesel repair shops, and helps you truly satisfy customers. Request a demo of Fullbay to see how accountability is at the heart of what we’ve built.