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A simple technique for improving your shop’s scheduling

Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 07:00
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Improving scheduling at your shops starts with something you should have at your fingerprints: historical data. Unless you’ve radically overhauled your production system in some way, data from your last year or two will show you the amount of work your shop actually produces, rather than what you just THINK it produces.

For each month of your historical data, add up how many jobs (or “units”) you actually completed. Also divide this number by the number of work days in that particular month. Run these numbers for at least the last 12 months, and to get a good basic average of how many units you actually produce per-day, per-week and per-month.

The other number you should pull from your historical data: How many of those jobs on average each month were unexpected tow-ins or drop-offs.

Running these numbers for more than one year also can help you spot seasonal differences. If you’re in the Northeast, for example, you know you’re likely going to have more tow-ins in December than you do in August.

That’s really all you need to get started. Now take out a calendar page for next month. You know how many jobs on average your shop can produce for each week of that month, so that’s how many jobs you should schedule in for each week.

But you also know how many tow-ins or drop-offs to expect, on average. Will this vary a bit, week-by-week? Of course. But to not allow space on the schedule for those, when you have historical evidence of how many to expect, is just foolish. If you’ve typically seen an average of eight such jobs a month in the past, put two a week on your calendar, and schedule your drivable vehicles in around those. If those tow-ins show up, they won’t create chaos and missed deadlines. If they don’t show up, you can always call a customer scheduled for later to see if they want to bring their car in early. Few customers would ever complain about that.

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