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Boosting Technician Proficiency

Written by David Brown on .

Last issue, I discussed how to build financial growth and ways to maximize your percentage of gross profit. This issue, as a continuation, I want to focus on technician performance.

There are several modes of measurement- however, measuring technician proficiency is the most effective and efficient way to calculate the financial impact of technician performance. Why technician proficiency versus productivity or efficiency? Calculating technician productivity and efficiency demands accurately measuring time spent working. Work time can be approximated by totaling punch times on the repair order, using flag sheets, or the ERO (electronic repair order) system. However, it is often difficult to accurately measure time spent actually working. Let me explain: Technician proficiency compares the actual number of flat-rate hours worked to the potential number of available hours in a work period. This is calculated by dividing the total number of flat-rate hours turned per technician by the number of hours available. Technician productivity measures how much time the technician physically spends on a repair. Technician efficiency compares how fast a technician performs compared to how long the job might take the average technician. Brown &- Associates advocates striving for 120 percent proficiency for each technician. This means for every available hour during a work period, the technician should produce 1.2 hours of billable work.

Service and parts departments must coordinate the best practices for a team effort. Technician proficiency is significantly impacted by inefficient back-counter support. If the parts manager does not monitor daily stock orders, outside purchases, and produce the proper fill rate, technician proficiency is negatively affected.

The following suggestions are ways to increase technician performance:

&bull- Use part runners or pre-pull parts

&bull- Dispatch work by skill levels

&bull- Provide proper tools and equipment

&bull- See that training standards are achieved

&bull- Pre-load 50 percent of the shop at the end of the day with carry-overs, or additional work.

If the shop foreman cannot pull a vehicle in the technicians stall the night before, at least have a repair order placed on the technicians workbench for the following day. Labor time is lost during peak hours. The morning rush period is busy for the service consultants, but many times the technicians are standing around with nothing to do.

&bull- Provide service menus and multi-point inspections

&bull- Implement incentive or bonus plans to promote technician up-selling

Technician proficiency should be reviewed on a daily basis using a tracking report from your computer system, as manual flag sheets are more prone for errors in flagging and time spent.

If you want to boost proficiency, have your technicians complete a technician self-evaluation form to identify their strengths and technical skills in each repair category. This form takes less than three minutes for each technician to complete. By implementing this self-evaluation, the service manager can best identify and coordinate training programs to improve proficiency.

David Brown, president of Brown &- Associates consulting firm, has 34 years experience in the automobile field, including 16 years in the GM parts division and Chevrolet motor division. If you have any questions or comments about this article, please call 866-578-8773 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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