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Daily planning can ensure optimum efficiency in the shop

Friday, September 28, 2018 - 07:00
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Last month in "Time management amid growing admin burdens" I discussed the ever-challenging issue of how to balance all of our shop's administrative demands while still managing overhead. Although the simple answer is always adding more staff, this is not always the best option when looking at the bottom line.  

I stressed the importance of helping your employees prioritize their duties and learn where there may be wasted time and effort. This process should be done jointly with the manager and team member. One way that we have started the coaching process on time management is to have our teams track their days for a week time frame.  

Document what they do by time blocks. This is a valuable exercise for everyone to do, no matter their role or position within the company. It is remarkable how much time can be wasted when we do not plan our days. Does that mean everything will go like clockwork? No, there will be times certain tasks take longer than others, and you adjust your day accordingly. Also, you must take into consideration the “people” factor and know that efficiency is the goal for tasks and effectiveness is the goal in dealing with people. We absolutely, positively do not want to “process” our customers, internal or external. Therefore, it is important to also be flexible in planning. For example, a Drop Off Appointment with one customer may take 20 minutes. However, another may take an hour. Be flexible, do not rush the customer and be willing to adapt your schedule and behavior to meet the needs of each customer.   

When planning out your day, keep the end in mind. What is it that will make your day a success? For each position, that looks different.  For our Customer Service and Front-End Estimators, that includes a certain amount of Drop Off Appointments each day, Vehicle Delivery Appointments, Customer Update calls, emails, and other administrative claims processing tasks. For our Back-End Estimating Team, that would include managing the disassembly and repair process. To have a successful repair process, we must complete a 100 percent disassembly at the repair planning phase, we must research OEM repair procedures, complete a vehicle diagnostic pre-scan, pre-measure, confirm parts availability, parts prices, determine if any sublet work needs to be completed, sublet pricing and estimated time for parts to arrive. If any of that is rushed, skipped or missed during the repair planning process, it causes delays, frustrations and a negative customer experience. Therefore, planning the day and allotting time for each thing to be completed is critical in the overall success. It is better to take more time on the front end and to formulate an accurate and complete repair plan than to rush too many cars through in one day.   

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