Goodbye Emotions, Hello Numbers by Sonia Bouthillette

Autosphere » Collision » Goodbye Emotions, Hello Numbers by Sonia Bouthillette
The performance of a workshop is linked to a multitude of steps that must be measured. PHOTO Fix Auto

In these really tough times, efficiency in shop floor performance is a hot topic.

However, do we really know our performance and the nature of the barriers that prevent us from reaching our optimal level of effectiveness?

Before embarking on improving it, we need to know where to start, where our shortcomings are and attack them one at a time, because by shooting everywhere, we will not achieve anything.

The idea is to go step by step.

Every win will be a victory to celebrate with your whole team. It is essential to demonstrate an approach where emotion will give way to numbers.

I know that many shop managers are resistant to data analysis, but without measuring yourself, you can’t improve. And a shop that wants to improve its performance must avoid jumping to conclusions. We should not act on perceptions. Let’s go back to the source.

Also, several questions are to be asked to base this desire to be more efficient or effective.

The trigger can be a continuous loss of money in our operations. If so, have we identified the area where this loss is coming from?

The urgency to act is also imperative to establish especially if the continuity of our business is in danger.

The good numbers

There is no shortage of data and a manager can quickly be buried under a sea of performance indication numbers from their accounting system or shop management platform.

While it is imperative to analyze the situation based on numbers, we must find a way to do so and be diligent about it.

This system can be as simple as an Excel document, if it presents the data, well compiled by the team members, that we need. A shop floor management system is only as good as the information we put into it.

Too often owners invest in a shop management system, implement the use of it, but do not check the validity of what is entered into it afterwards.

This will distort the information and affect the results.

Involving the team

Do your employees know that their actions have a direct link to your profitability?

From the liaison officer to the aesthetician, everyone plays a role in the continuity of the company and, by the same token, in the maintenance and improvement of their own job.

You must inform them and involve them in the process from which they will ultimately benefit.

In this first column, I don’t want to go into the details of the diagnosis of each of the operations that go into the repair process of the vehicles entrusted to you.

Let’s establish some areas of concern to put in your chart at the outset: quantity of products and materials used, labour inefficiencies, high rework rates, high vehicle rental days that indicate poor production scheduling, or parts purchased and paid for too early.

We will come back to this.

Sonia Bouthillette started in the industry and joined Fix Auto in 2009 as Director of Insurer Relations before becoming Vice President of Collision Operations in 2021.


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