Whether your small, heavy duty truck and trailer repair shop services your small fleet, outside customers, or both you need a service manager that can juggle. He or she must learn on the job to juggle repair schedules, technician assignments, preventive maintenance requirements, repair orders, inventory, and various other shop functions to continuously feed the bottom line.
Even if you hire a seasoned veteran manager, that person is new to the workings of your shop and is not guaranteed to know who or what works best in your particular situation. There is still a learning curve. Above all, you need a person with leadership skills, not a giver of orders. Not necessarily likeable, but honest, knowledgeable and fair in dealing with your people and customers.
Knowing what repair to schedule at what time must account for trucks in the shop now and when the bays will be open. That involves juggling. Do you take customers’ trucks by order of when they show up or do you plan a schedule based on time required for each job?
Getting quick and easy jobs done first may sound appealing but may keep good customers waiting for their longer, higher paying job. The manager must sometimes juggle according to who are the best customers, which will not always be easy.
Your manager must know which tech is right for each job in order to reach maximum efficiency in your shop. Techs must be of varied skills and varied levels of proficiency. You don’t want techs who are great at the same repairs. You need techs with different abilities so you don’t have to throw darts to see who gets the next repair job.
Your service manager will also have to juggle training schedules for techs to keep them up to date on the latest technology. Here again, developing varied skills in your people. The more arrows techs have in their quivers the more likely your shop will be profitable. And tracking tech time and evaluating their individual efficiency will play to their strengths.
PMs are your bedrock customers. They keep the doors open and the lights burning. Your people must treat them with the utmost respect to continue caring for their trucks. Techs need to inspect vehicles with their eyes wide open to look for any component that could possibly fail on the road.
Your manager is responsible for developing that mindset in your techs and should not think of it in terms of upselling. Rather, preach preventing costly unscheduled downtime. The manager should create PM schedules and endeavor to keep the customers’ maintenance up to date.
Breaking up the Paperwork Logjam
Repair orders, PM schedules and checklists, purchase orders, and invoices must all be processed immediately and are primarily the headache of the service manager, especially if he or she is hand writing and filing all those documents.
But that work can easily be streamlined by investing in a software based repair shop management system that turns all paper docs into digital format that are stored in the system and not in file cabinets. Shop docs may then be accessed with just a few clicks on a smartphone, tablet or computer, ending the paper logjam and simplifying back office work.
Keeping frequently used parts on hand is key to performing quick and accurate PMs and repairs. The manager needs to be ever vigilant to understand which parts are moving regularly and to not keep on hand parts that are not used frequently. By stocking only parts that move and purchasing those that can quickly be acquired, time and money are saved.
But how does a manager track all those part numbers? It’s all done for them with the software based shop management system. And the manager receives recommended parts orders based on recent usage. They then can generate a purchase order electronically and email it to their preferred vendor.
Give Your Manager the Right Tools
To efficiently repair heavy trucks, techs must have the right tools. To effectively manage your shop the manager must have the right tools, namely a software based shop management system that will enable you to see your people excel.
Using a system will let you track each tech’s efficiency. And it will record their work on a job in real time, eliminating errors that with handwriting could require a rewrite of the RO. The system must be affordable and not be a drain on profit, but an investment in streamlining workflow through efficient practices.
With a system your shop will become more productive and will allow you to take on more work. And more work is an enhanced bottom line. Look no further than FleetSquared.com for a free 30 day trial of FleetSquared, our shop management software system for small heavy duty truck and trailer repair shops.
Sign up with your email to start your free trial today and see its power.