Who Does What?

If you don’t know, find out. Let workflow management work for you.

Last time, we focused on creating a learning plan for your team and the position of Learning Manager to develop and drive this plan. Now, I want to consider how the shop owner manages the team members’ education to move the business to new heights of success. My intent is to tell how changing decades-old processes and procedures can significantly improve your efficiencies and bottom line, as well as enable you to be service-ready for your customers.

I assume you’re the shop owner and have a learning path that you’re actively engaged in. You attend regular management training events or are involved in one of the industry’s many business-training programs. And you implement many, if not all, of the ideas and concepts presented to you, including tracking their results.

With that assumption, I’m betting you’ve seen positive change in your business and have a more efficient workflow in your shop. The area I want to consider here is workflow and how managing it appropriately can make a significant positive improvement in your business.

What is workflow? It’s simply the process in which tasks are completed: Who does what and in what order. I don’t want to change your processes and procedures; I do want you to consider who does what.

Let’s focus on the technician. This is not to say every other position in the organization shouldn’t be considered. But technicians are the production machines of your business. Everything else should be focused on feeding this machine work orders so it can produce work.

The more work produced, the more revenue generated and the healthier your business becomes. There are several ways we can approach this. We could get a big whip and crack it every 15 minutes, demanding the techs produce more. Or, we could give them multiple service bays and expect double the production. But let’s consider how we can make the production machine more efficient.

Continuing education is the core of this effort. But what about the flow of work that your technicians perform? My suggestion is to provide your team with a pedometer or identify a pedometer app for their smartphones that allows you to track the number of steps they take each day at work. Some apps have GPS integration that can track where they travel. Set everyone up, and don’t change a thing regarding your processes. Track them for at least a week.

Now analyze the data. It will astound you how far a typical tech walks each day. And when you analyze where they’re going, you’ll realize that a large percentage of those steps are taking away from their ability to produce work.

Consider how you can change the “who does what” part of your processes to reduce the amount of footsteps your production team takes for tasks such as getting the next work order, pulling in the next job, returning the completed inspection form to the front counter, picking up the parts from the adviser, finding the special tools or looking up service information. If you track it, you’ll find opportunities to serve up the work to the technician much like an assembly line. Watch this video Youtu.be/Zt1Ra-upavk and imagine how you can change the “who does what” in your business to improve the efficiencies of your production machine.