A well-run workshop can provide many benefits – including reduced costs and downtime.
It is not unheard of for fleets that operate workshops to sometimes view them as something of a managerial headache – but they also represent great opportunities. A well-run workshop is a strong asset that can provide you with direct control over your fleet servicing and maintenance.
Some fleets even use their workshops as a profit center by providing contract maintenance services to external customers. If you already run a shop there are a number of potential gains to be made by taking steps to improve its efficiency – including reduced costs and downtime.
So how exactly do you improve workshop efficiency?
Read on for some some simple tips…
One of the most important tips for workshop improvement is to make sure you understand what is available in your operation at all times. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so take steps to improve the visibility of your assets.
Gaining visibility is a process that starts from the bottom up: You need to have a solid overview of everything from service histories, maintenance schedules, parts inventory and warranty coverage through to workshop equipment, technicians (and their capabilities) and vehicles.
1. Firstly, it’s important to take time to research how you currently track and measure asset availability, jobs and costs.
2. Then, assess how your processes could be improved. Be honest with yourself – are you able to track and measure all costs associated with a vehicle, a maintenance or repair event or a shop facility? If a part was needed, could it be easily located? Time is money so the longer team members spend looking for items, the more costly jobs become.
3. Once you understand where improvements could be made, you can take steps to fix problems and resolve issues.
An efficient workshop is one that works as close to full utilisation as possible. On one hand, it’s important to ensure that you aren’t left waiting for stock to come in; on the other, having excess or obsolete stock can prove very costly. Understanding how your assets are used and replenished is the first step in facilitating more appropriate scheduling for your operation , and helping ensure your workshop is well-utilised both now and in future.
When it comes to scheduling, it’s important to take a range of factors into account for individual assets, such as:
Real-time parts availability
Usage trends and forecasts
You should ensure that these factors are assessed on a regular basis, as this will help you identify any new trends or issues as soon as they occur. The need for effective scheduling also applies to staff utilisation, which brings us to our next point….
People are probably the most expensive resource used by your workshop, so it’s incredibly important to make sure they are managed effectively on all levels. Of course, staff planning doesn’t just mean making sure that the standard staff is effective – it also means having procedures in place for sick days, holidays and other absences to minimise disruption.
You should also take steps to understand your team’s availability and training levels and be able to plan well ahead by cross-referencing staffing against forecast requirements. Look carefully at your fleet’s maintenance needs too when planning staff schedules. It could be that your fleet’s maintenance needs are seasonal, or they are affected by recalls and campaigns, so take steps to increase your knowledge of such trends. Such insights can be greatly useful to support decisions on staff scheduling.
Over time, you can become better not only at planning your workshop schedule on a weekly or monthly basis but also longer term.
An accurate job always starts with an accurate repair order. Your technicians will perform more efficiently if they know exactly what they should be doing to which vehicle and when. Industry standard repair times can also be utilised to support job creation and implementation.
When creating job cards, you should also take steps to ensure that all the information required is easily available. If a technician is not able to easily view or understand job requirements, it could result in increased job times and costs, reduced compliance and much more.