Sep 14, 2023

Diesel Connect Recap: Getting the Most Out Of Your Techs

Diesel Connect Recap: Getting the Most Out Of Your Techs

How many Diesel Connect recaps can we squeeze into this blog? In the words of Will Turner, at least one more! In our latest article, we’re covering a presentation from Troy Willich of TDI Fleet Services. Troy and host Chris O’Brien covered a topic that’s top of mind for many diesel repair shop owners: how to get the most out of technicians.

In Fullbay terms, this begins with tracking efficiency and/or utilization. And hey, great place to start, right? A quick poll of the audience indicated that only 59% were currently tracking one, the other, or both.

They’re important metrics to be looking at, but it turns out a lot of shop owners aren’t totally sure how they could be making use of them.


“Anyone in charge of a tech, or handing out work, or overseeing production is tied to those numbers a lot,” Troy told the audience. “Our top-producing techs kind of track their own. But the shop managers, the parts managers…everybody from that level up is really concerned with those.”

Troy looks at those numbers weekly. The trailer shop and the truck shop look at them every day; if Troy sees a problem on Monday, for example, the trailer and truck guys can explain what’s up.

He sees efficiency numbers as a way to see where work is going—whether “we’re working off-ticket … or a guy’s gotten ahead of himself; what’s this guy doing? When we dove into those numbers and went after those issues, we discovered we weren’t using Fullbay properly and it was causing downstream problems in our service and repair order process.”


At TDI, utilization is a question of using your people. If your people are there 40 hours a week, are you getting 40 hours of billable labor for them? That’s often a problem caused by the shop, not the techs. Their job is to work. Your job is to get them that work.

(As a side note/shameless plug, shops have often assumed they were short on techs until they start using Fullbay. As they get on board with the Fullbay workflow, they realize they do have enough techs—they’re just under-utilizing them, and not all techs have work when they need it.)

Efficiency, on the other hand, is whether the job is done on time—if it’s a two-hour job, does the tech complete it in two hours or less?

In this case, Troy would like to see his techs beating their “assigned” times by 20%. “If it’s a 10-hour job, I’d like to see you finish around eight. If not…why? Do you not have the right tools? Are we not training you? What caused you to go over, or not meet, a higher efficiency?”



TDI’s techs clock in every morning and onto every job. “When you hit the clock button, you’re not on anything; you’re just saying you’re here,” he said.

The techs can then clock into a service order, move through those action items, and clock out for lunch or another job. This allows their supervisors and Troy to see how long they were at work, how long it took to do the repairs, and how much they were able to bill.

“All three numbers will mean something and either tell you everything is all right or direct you to something you need to solve.”


New hires need to do all the Fullbay training through the software, though Troy says most newcomers take to it quickly enough. Most issues techs have with it seem to stem from not quite using it correctly, or having some kind of obstacle they have to overcome (through better tools and training, for example).

In short, once people know how to use Fullbay, they do very well with it. But it’s important to get ahead of that learning curve.


“We measure our success in how much free time we have, and that was a selling feature with Fullbay,” Troy said.

Now…it took a little while to get everyone acclimated to Fullbay. There’s a learning curve. But once everyone was onboard with the process, they started making more money and having more time. “We really bought into that and expanded on the Fullbay process, and I went from working 80-100-hour weeks to maybe 8 hours a week. I’m just logging into Fullbay and getting reports from our people.”

Chris paused things for a moment to remind us that a steady, repeatable process allows you to scale. Fullbay just tracks that process. If you’re using pen and paper, and someone wanders off-process, you’ve got to walk through what happened piece by piece and cross-examine everyone. Fullbay…takes all that away.

Troy said once people see how much Fullbay tracks, they tend to buy in. “[They say], ‘If I do a little more work on the work order at the beginning, once the job is approved, I’m done.”


Chris had a word of advice for those wondering how to start looking at their utilization (and how workflow impacts it). “Watch the Netflix movie The Founder,” he said. It’s about McDonald’s, so maybe watch it with a filet-o-fish in hand.

(Editor’s Note: No one eats filet-o-fish but you, Suz.)

The movie has a scene about the flow inside a McDonald’s and how it was the key to their success—”How they maximized the flow,” Chris said. “Everything was stationed in a certain area, everything was organized very well, and they were able to speed up the ability and do what was impossible [at the time]: to serve a hamburger in less than a minute.”

Everything related to efficiency and utilization comes down to your process and what you can streamline, automate, or eliminate. Not to toot our own horn too much, but that’s part of why we’re so proud of Fullbay—its process makes it easy for you to maximize efficiency and productivity amongst your techs. And when your techs are working and earning, you’re all working and earning.

Suz Baldwin