Ask the average service manager if he has daily individual production objectives for his technicians and you may get more than one answer.
That answer may be, “yes”, “no”, or “no, but I’ve been meaning to do it.”
If he answers no, then you have to ask why not? The new and used car sales staff I’m sure has objectives, don’t they? If the answer is yes, then the next question should be, what are the objectives and how did you determine them?
What you are probably going to hear most times is, “well they are each here 8 hours a day, so I expect 8 flat rate hours”. Or you may hear, “I want each of them to flag 10 hours per day, because I think they can.”
Although these are good intentions on the service manager’s part, the truth is in most cases, neither is very effective and most importantly doesn’t work; leaving the service manager to wonder why. You actually may be shortchanging yourself in your expectations. Why? One of the key reasons you want individual objectives for your technicians is that if all the tech’s have the same 8 hour objective, more than likely you will have technicians that can do much more in an 8 hour period than other technicians, therefore shortchanging yourself. Does this make sense? Or you may have a tech that can’t do 8 hours, and that tech in your eyes is not holding up to his or her end of the contribution to the shop hours.
The tech that isn’t cutting it in your eyes may not be able to keep up because of dispatching procedures or even lack of training, so whose fault is it? The reality is sometimes it is not the technician’s fault.
Determining true production objectives for technicians can be a bit of a challenge, but by doing it the correct way it will be well worth it. By establishing true production objectives, you accomplish a number of things; most importantly is that you can schedule appointments by objective hours for the shop rather than just by counting the appointments for that day. Now, you can count the hours scheduled for that day rather than just the number of vehicles scheduled.
Think about this for a minute, wouldn’t you rather have 20 appointments for 80 hours of scheduled production or 50 appointments (by car count) just to find that for the most part they were oil changes, trim pieces, etc. and have tech’s leave early because you seem slow, and the reason you seem slow is actually not due to RO traffic, but simply due to the way we schedule work?
We all know that one of the truly effective ways to move the needle in service (among other things) is to have your tech’s become more productive, right? We all know we want to be more productive, but how many service departments are actually doing it the correct way? You would be surprised…
Also if done correctly, production objectives can be a great performance driving tool as a portion of a service advisors pay plan.