Show up at almost any hospital anywhere with an emergency or a health complaint and you will be directed first to a triage nurse who will check your vital signs, listen to your problem and judge where to send you next. That may be to the ER, but often it turns out to be the waiting room. Sometimes they just send you home. That’s what triage is all about; deciding what your real health needs are and sending you to the area where treatment – or not – is appropriate.

It’s a process that quickly assesses the patients and sends them to whomever can help them. It came about as a lifesaving process first utilized by the military in wartimes to best care for wounded soldiers. And it was quickly deemed successful and is more widely used today to decide who gets what and in what order.


Now Being Applied in Truck Repair Shops

Beyond the military and lifesaving, triage is now gaining traction when applied in heavy truck repair shops to avoid sidelining a truck for long periods. In small shops triage may be handled by the service manager. But in shops where a designated diagnostic technician performs triage it can lead to speedy repairs and a truck back in service quickly.

It works because the old way of first come first served could see even a small repair job waiting hours or even days when it could have been completed in very short order. Triage makes for happy owners and drivers. And those are the people who drive more business to your shop.


Shedding Old Habits

Triage in your shop means overcoming the old work method of repairing the first truck in and the rest waiting. That plan leaves a manager putting out fires for much of his or her time.

Assessing problems quickly and reporting to a customer right away is what can keep the wheels turning. It turns your team into heroes. Then you pull that truck out of triage and into a repair bay and bring the next to triage and the process continues.



Couple with a Software Shop Management System

Triage really comes together when used with a comprehensive shop management software system which provides your people with data at their fingertips up to and including warranty approval. That gives the manager and tech the truck’s history, superfast repair order write up, parts availability, and customer estimate in very short order for the customer to okay. Then the necessary repair can be carried out right away.

Triage also helps the manager to know which tech to assign to the repair. The rapid diagnosis of this system is key to quick repairs and throughput. Keep in mind you must know your team very well and be able to keep them functioning as a well-oiled team.

Much of the repairs you perform can be done in relatively short times. Remember, it’s not about price; it’s about getting trucks back on the road without a lot of downtime. That’s what interests your customers. And that’s what makes them money and gives your shop a stellar reputation.


Triage for the Small Fleet Shop

Can triage be applied in the small fleet repair shop? The answer is yes. Small shops still need to get estimates of cost and downtime ready in quick order, especially for those repairs that are more time consuming. Communication is vital to the triage process and customer approval.

Just knowing that you took the time to examine and diagnose even a complicated and lengthy repair puts a customer at ease with your triage approach. It’s about creating great relationships with your fleet operators and customers. And it’s the way to go these days.

If you have questions about how a software shop management system can speed up your throughput, contact us today at We can help with that.