Putting out the Fires


Service shops today have times that technicians are being pulled off a job that they are currently working on, and placed on a  priority of the moment job. I refer to these events as fires in our operations. When this happens, technician will lose a minimum 15 minutes of their production on the job they were currently working on. Today let’s look at some of the causes of this loss and how to avoid them.


The primary cause  in which the dealership has fires all the time that they need put out is poor scheduling. When the dealership has five waiters show up at the same time and the technician staff is working on other vehicles the trouble has begun. Scheduling must be disciplined with the entire staff understanding that a successful visit begins with the value on the customer’s time. It is understood that things will always happen to interfere with your schedule.  Wise manage this with integrity, keeping the customer up to speed and realistic about the developments. Pulling a technician off of one job to go to another will cost a minimum 15 minutes of production for each incident. Add to this the loss of having technicians ride with the customer to hear noises in a vehicle and the fires spread quickly.


The entire staff must show restraint and discipline before pulling technicians off work. Let it become a rare occurrence instead of a common event. It will amaze you that when you use discipline, a technician becomes available before you know it, and that you  can meet the need you consider a fire in a timely fashion. Take a deep breath, and inform the customer honestly about what is going on with their vehicle. Your technician staff will thank you. Do whatever you can to extinguish the fires in your shop and you will quickly find life is so much better without them. 

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.

Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting