Our field conceals punctual periods with very different needs.
Indeed, a bit like farmers, we have several seasons. What they experience as the planting season and the harvesting season would rather translate into: the battery season, the tire season, then the air conditioning season, the rust season, followed by the remote starter season and then back to the second tire season. Obviously, with each of these seasons comes its own set of tools and equipment.
So let’s focus on the essentials of this column, which are tires. Often a part of our workshop is dedicated to “stacking the tire stock”. I can never stress enough the importance of quality equipment in 2020.
Many years ago, a tire bar and a 40-40 machine would have done the trick. Now, not only do we need tire changers that don’t touch the wheel, state of the art balancers, but also, many tools.
Let’s take a moment to look at these often lost, unloved and often neglected tools. First of all, the weighing tongs: several manufacturers in the sector offer them, I would say that there are two types: the good ones and the others… Regardless of the supplier, you will always have the possibility to have a first quality weighing tongs and sometimes even with replaceable tips. After having timed our employees, I can confirm that this basic tool is one of the underestimated sources of lost productivity. The investment is not glorious, but saving two minutes per vehicle, over a day, means one more vehicle!
Next, let’s talk about lubricants, for which I invite you to be cautious. A lubricant that dries too quickly is often the source of tire failure. Conversely, one that doesn’t dry will allow the wheel to turn inside the tire and will cause you to re-balance the tire following a customer complaint.
In addition, I also invite you to use a very liquid spray to facilitate the work on low profile tires as well as a textured tire for larger diameter pick-up trucks. This will surely save you from having to assign two employees to the assembly of a set, another easy productivity gain.
As for reassembly, our workshops have been using torque wrenches preset at two and a half pounds to tighten the valves for the past few years. This detail may seem trivial, however, we no longer experience broken sensor bodies or internal threads, which has also improved our performance.
Then, to finish the job, all our installers use torque extensions to get the right torque. The purpose of these extensions is to limit manual tightening, which is much faster, without neglecting precision and, above all, to avoid the excess that results from breakage.
In conclusion, I would like to confirm to you, dear colleagues, that despite frequent questioning, the quality of the tooling still plays a major role in productivity growth. Of course, we will always be dependent on the involvement of each employee in the chain, but we can see that saving equipment is not a solution.