How Much Time Do Your Techs Lose?

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Time.

It’s our most precious resource, isn’t it? We always think we have more of it, only to be surprised when we run out. That’s true across the board in life – but it’s especially true when you’re running a repair shop.

How much time do your techs end up wasting? Be careful how you use that word, by the way; we are programmed to picture “wasting time” as something like them gossiping around the water cooler instead of getting their work done.

We’d like to redefine “wasting time.” If your techs aren’t getting as much work done as they could, don’t immediately blame their lunch breaks. Instead, look at the way your shop runs. Have you created an environment where your techs can work efficiently and productively? Or is your shop operating in a way that almost encourages inefficiency?

To help you figure that out, we’ve compiled some examples of distractions and slowdowns that can occur in a shop, as well as how much time those slowdowns can cost you in time (and ultimately money). Even better, we’ll show you how Fullbay can help all of you be more efficient.

Ready to get started?

Brace yourselves. This may be shocking.

THIRTEEN STEPS

Here is an example of what a typical job without Fullbay might look like. Your tech has started the day bright and early; let’s say they’re replacing brake pads and also investigating a weird sound in the engine. Here’s the sequence of events as we see it:

  1. The service request arrives from the customer.
  2. The service manager reads the initial request.
  3. The tech runs some inspections and adds some notes.
  4. The tech heads to the service manager and reports their diagnosis.
  5. The service manager has to report the findings to the customer, which can turn into an elaborate game of Telephone.
  6. Customer needs to approve it.
  7. The tech goes back to the service manager to get the approval.
  8. The tech gets to work on the vehicle.
  9. The tech figures out what parts are necessary for the fix and heads to the parts manager to order them.
  10. The parts manager needs to find out if the parts are in the shop or not. If they aren’t, they must be ordered.
  11. The customer needs to authorize the parts being used.
  12. If they do have the parts, the tech completes the job.
  13. If they don’t, the tech finishes what they can and then moves on to another job until they can complete the first one.

Every single time a tech leaves the bay, they burn an average of 15 minutes. How much time did the tech in the above scenario waste? If we counted right, at least an hour.

But what if that’s not all? We can add more steps to this. Maybe your tech needs to reference another job. That’s another 15 minutes spent looking for that service order. Do you have two techs on one job? Double the hours burned. What if one of them forgets something? What if the parts manager can’t decipher some handwriting and orders the wrong part? The shop has to go back and fix it – which takes time.

We could go on, but we’re starting to freak ourselves out, so we won’t.

Instead, let’s look at something much calmer. Something much prettier.

Let’s head into Fullbay.

The Fullbay Solution

Running the same scenario through Fullbay makes life a lot easier for all involved. As you look through the steps below, remember, It’s not just about what Fullbay does – it’s about what your techs aren’t doing.

  1. The service request arrives from a customer. It’s electronic, so no time spent deciphering handwriting.
  2. The service manager checks the request, then sends it to the tech’s Fullbay-equipped device (iPad or phone, usually).
  3. The tech makes a diagnosis and adds notes to the SO via Fullbay.
  4. The owner or fleet manager authorizes the work via the Customer Portal. No Telephone game here!
  5. The parts manager finds out from Fullbay what parts the tech needs, and can bring them to the bay or order them, if necessary.
  6. The tech dives in.
  7. Job done!

What’s missing from this story, besides six additional steps?

The tech isn’t running back and forth between the bay and the parts room or service desk.

Actually, the tech isn’t running back and forth at all. It’s entirely possible they didn’t even leave the bay until they were done (unless they needed lunch or a genuine break. We aren’t tyrants!).

Using Fullbay to track service orders puts everyone on the same page, at the same time. There’s no need to hike all over the shop to find someone.

VANISHING ACTS

Of course, wandering around the shop to complete a job isn’t the only way to waste a tech’s time. Sometimes customers themselves – however well-meaning they may be – can gobble into your efficiency and leave you wondering why you even bother.

Let’s talk about the disappearing acts pulled by customers with non-critical repairs. This is an unfortunate occurrence that can hit an unsuspecting shop pretty hard. It’s usually not on purpose; it’s just one of those things that can happen when you depend entirely on paperwork and phone calls instead of speeding up the process with a good shop management software.

Here’s how that act plays out:

  1. A truck arrives needing repairs, but not critical ones.
  2. They diagnose several issues, but the truck is still running.
  3. The techs order the necessary parts, but it will take a few days for the order to go through and the parts to arrive.
  4. The still-running truck heads off with its owner/driver.
  5. Three weeks to a month later, the work order is still there – but no sign of the truck.

So where is the truck? It’s entirely possible the fleet manager and/or driver is just going to keep pushing it until it breaks down. Or maybe it’s already broken down and they’ve gotten the repairs elsewhere.

Where does that leave your shop? You ordered parts for this guy – that’s money out of your pocket. Those parts are now taking up space (and still costing you money) in your parts room. Maybe your tech(s) got paid for the initial diagnosis, but that still leaves the problem with the parts.

Either way, your shop paid out some money and there isn’t much you can do about it.

And when there’s a problem, there’s a solution.

The Fullbay Solution

Let’s try this scenario again. The same truck has arrived requiring non-critical repairs, but this time your shop is using Fullbay.

  1. A truck arrives needing non-critical repairs.
  2. Your techs diagnose the issues and present the fleet manager with a complete service order, including necessary parts and estimated labor time.
  3. The owner authorizes the work.
  4. The parts are ordered online and will arrive in a couple of days. The truck driver makes an appointment to bring the vehicle back in when the parts are scheduled to arrive.

Yes, there’s still a few steps in there, but notice the following:

  • Everyone involved knows exactly what’s going on, and a schedule is agreed on.
  • The fleet manager signs off on all the work and costs, even if only half is paid upfront.
  • The cost of the complete project is included. If the truck never returns, you can bill out for it anyway.

The time everyone ends up saving is money back in everyone’s pockets.

WHAT ELSE CAN FULLBAY DO?

Years ago, Fullbay Co-Founder & CEO Jacob Findlay worked in a repair shop and saw the sheer number of roadblocks and inefficiencies shops created for themselves. He thought there must be a way to put technology to work for these shops – to give their techs the tools they needed to work efficiently. Those thoughts eventually coalesced into Fullbay.

It’s a time-saver, but honestly, it’s so much more. If you’d like to know more about its features, check out our piece on service orders, or look into the integrations you can use through Fullbay Connect.

Or if you’d like to help your techs be more efficient now, hit us up for a free demo! We’d love to chat with you.

Suz Baldwin

About Suz Baldwin

Suz Baldwin got her start in the automotive industry, writing and editing for several motorcycle and classic car magazines straight out of college. In the years that followed, she’s written all sorts of copy for brands big and small while consuming enough coffee to paralyze a dinosaur.

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