To paraphrase a saying usually attributed to Albert Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I’m reminded of this phrase as I write this, back-to-school season is in full swing and autumn is just around the corner.
This is the period of relative calm before the storm, in every sense of the word, when plummeting temperatures, snow and poor road conditions will translate into an increase in body shop traffic.
Still reeling from last winter’s experience of full yards, backlogs of parts and stretched human resources, we need to use this time to take stock. I keep coming back to this, but it’s inconceivable that our workshops will face the new season of high demand with the same approach and the same tools as last year.
How can we achieve better results if we don’t change the way we do things, as Einstein reminded us? What have you put in place to avoid a repeat of last winter’s bottlenecks?
The first measure I insist on is the workshop’s production capacity. Knowing how many hours are available for repair is the basis of analysis that all bodybuilders can control.
It’s these figures that will tell the manager which vehicles he can or can’t accept, depending on his schedule and his ability to deliver. Saying yes without validation is just as bad as saying no without knowing. A good manager will know how to slip lighter, quicker-to-complete repairs in between larger jobs to ensure that the workshop is running at maximum profitability.
Then there’s the question of whether bottlenecks, lack of tools or training, or poor job planning are getting in the way of achieving the shop’s full potential. To help bodybuilders, they can always ask their network, if they haven’t already done so, for productivity statistics for the various departments of comparable companies.
The approach is concrete. Is there an employee missing in a key position whose absence is holding up the entire production flow? Or could new equipment simplify and speed up work?
One thing’s for sure: before taking any action, it’s best to get an overall picture of the situation. Your suppliers can guide you towards best practices that will help smooth out some of the rough edges. But I believe it’s your right to turn to your networks for access to the measurement, comparison and management tools that will enable you to change your ways of doing things, to achieve better results.