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Auto Repair Shop Owners: Stop Blaming Techs for Low Productivity


Stop Blaming Techs for Low Productivity

by Rick White, President 180BIZ                                                             (Estimated Read Time 3 minutes)

I want to talk to you about blind spots. We have a hard time seeing them. When we can't see the blind spots, we miss out on things. One of my favorite sayings is “You can't read the label when you are inside the jar.” I think that is so true. I am bringing this up because we have an issue in the shop with blind spots. When there's a low productivity issue, we immediately go to the technicians. But I'm going to tell you eight times out of ten, it is not a technician issue. It is a process issue. It's a bottleneck.

Low productivity is a symptom of a bottleneck.

Low productivity is a symptom of a bottleneck. It is the result of bottlenecks. What's happening right now in shops all over this country and in Canada, is when you are not getting what you want or need as a business owner, you immediately go to the technician, and it becomes combative.

You should be watching your labor inventory.

You should be watching your labor inventory. Your labor inventory is the most volatile inventory you have. You are buying eight hours. If you only bill five that day, those other three hours just go away. If I buy an oil filter and I don't use it today, I can put it on the shelf and use it another day. That doesn't happen with labor. But instead of going after the technicians in a combative manner, I want you to recognize that there's a difference between the person and the problem. And if you can separate that and not project that problem onto your technicians, now you can come to them and it becomes collaborative. It becomes a way to come together and to discuss our common foe. Our problem is low hours and I need your help. You can ask the tech to help you understand what's going on with the low hours. So, because the tech can see things you don't see. So, stop blaming the technicians.

Before blaming techs, ask yourself four questions.

Could there be a productivity problem that's technician-based? Yes, but back it up a little further and see if it could be because you're giving the wrong job to the wrong tech. You should dispatch the strengths. What I want you to think about is if there is a technician issue:

  1. Did you dispatch the strengths?
  2. Do you have the right equipment?
  3. Are they trained?
  4. Did you communicate clear goals and minimum levels? Did you create a ruler for them to be successful?

Most techs care and most work hard.

And because of all that stuff in the middle, you are not getting what you want. Most techs care, and most of them work hard. They're doing their best. They don't know any better. They don't know about bottlenecks, they don't know about billed hours. They don't know about managing their time. If you are not there to coach and mentor after and only after you set a standard for performance, you're going to end up with situations like you're getting right now.

Stop blaming techs and start asking them for help.

Stop blaming the technicians and start asking them for help. You're frustrated, you're mad, you're angry because you're not getting what you need. And I promise you so many times it has nothing to do with your technicians.  We're getting mad at the very people who can help us solve the problem. It doesn't have to be that way. Stop coming at it combatively and start coming at it collaboratively.

 If this video resonates with you, if you think this could help someone, please share it. Let others in, because  there are so many shops out there paying eight hours a day for a tech and they're getting three, four hours a day and it can get fixed. So please share this video. 

Also, join me in our next Shop Owner’s Round Table.  It’s the second Thursday of every month at 7:00 PM Eastern time.  And check out my Pocket Business Genius webinar series.  I go into depth on bottlenecks. It’ll be a game changer for a lot of shops.

God bless. stay safe, have some fun, and go make some money.

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