Increase Technician Efficiency

Aug. 3, 2021
Foster a highly motivated and efficient team to get vehicles out the door faster

In The Shawshank Redemption, the character Red says that geology is simply the study of pressure and time. Technician efficiency is much the same; we know the equation (hours worked divided by hours sold), but unlike Red’s observation, the equation doesn’t reveal everything beneath the surface: technician skill set. Labor rate. Ability to learn. Willingness to succeed.

Instead, properly motivating and rewarding technicians is a tricky matrix of on-the-clock quantitative values juxtaposed against much more intangible qualitative values. Nonetheless, people are people and many are motivated by a few simple factors. Understanding these will help those rote numbers grow (and your staff’s happiness and shop revenue along with it).

SMART Protocols Yield Efficient Technicians

What does every 20 Group, thought leader and business mogul say? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, and they’re absolutely right. So let’s start there. Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relative, Time-Based. If Kennedy did it in 1960 and reached the moon by 1969, you can do it in 2021 within your shop.

Measure Time - Establish baseline parameters for common repairs based on your technicians’ ages, experiences and skill sets. Write them down (make ‘em measurable!). Now you at least have some base numbers to assess not only what your technicians are doing today, but what you hope they’ll be able to accomplish tomorrow with more experience and time in the shop.

Maximize the Shop Layout - You’d be surprised how much happier technicians are when they know where everything is. If your shop floor is laid out in such a way that enables your technicians to succeed and feel a part of a larger whole, their ability to work is hindered only by new repairs or inexperience with new models or components, and not by their own space and tools. "Now where’d I put that wrench?" said no efficient technician ever.

Establish Technician Procedures - Your technicians should be busy without being overwhelmed. Establish slow day / rain day / inefficient day protocols so your service advisors know when the technicians aren’t actively making money for the shop and can advise on what’s coming in, what needs to be done and how to bridge those gaps.

Ask for Feedback - Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you necessarily know best (though you will be held accountable). If your people are unhappy or have suggestions to improve the workday flow, listen to them. Efficiency is directly related to ability to work, and if your technicians aren’t working, no one knows why better than them.

Tech Tips & Tools 

In the contemporary repair shop, efficiency is fueled by data as much as anything else. AutoZone provides ALLDATA repair solutions to service any vehicle. 

ALLDATA Diagnostics turns your shop tablet into a powerful scan tool preloaded with ALLDATA’s industry-leading OEM repair information. 

ALLDATA Diagnostics works with most major manufacturers to retrieve the lion’s share of P, B, C, and U codes, accounting for 99 percent of most of the work coming through the shop doors. It reads and displays PIDs, delivering real-time sensor data from all modules/vehicle systems, including PCM, TCM, SRS, ABS, chassis/body systems, and more. 

Furthermore, the ALLDATA Diagnostics tool is directly connected to the ALLDATA Repair/Collision network, and vehicle codes link to associated OE articles, including full-color wiring diagrams. Using the tool, technicians can access System Tests, Relearns, Resets, Initializations and Calibrations as directed by the manufacturer.

ALLDATA Tech-Assist also helps reduce diagnostic time and the Tech-Assist hotline is staffed by ASE-Certified Master Technicians who have seen it all. Tech-Assist can even use live video streaming to see, discuss and advise on the repair.

Last, to access ALLDATA Diagnostics, you need a subscription to ALLDATA Repair, the industry’s No. 1 choice for OEM-direct diagnostic and repair data, including repair and maintenance procedures, diagnostic information, factory-direct diagrams, TSBs, DTCs and more. ALLDATA Repair also features over 300,000 non-OE full-color wiring diagrams. 

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