January 27, 2023

As a manager or workshop manager, which do you prefer, a productive technician or an efficient technician? Every month, twice as many searches are made on the Internet related to the efficiency of workshop professionals than those related to their productivity. This gives us an idea of how important efficiency is to the success of the vehicle repair business.

We may have a facility full of vehicles to repair, but if the technicians are inefficient, our profitability will most likely suffer.

What influences body shop efficiency?

The efficiency of body shop personnel can be affected and influenced by a number of factors including:

Experience/Skills.

A team of technicians will be quite heterogeneous and have different skill levels. Generally, more experienced personnel with good technical knowledge will be more efficient and will be able to complete tasks more quickly than those with less experience. Therefore, it is important to consider continuous technical training of our staff if we are looking to improve efficiency (do you know PPG’s Business Development Center?).

Work environment

The work environment is another key factor, as a pleasant environment can promote positivity and motivation. Employees spend 40 hours a week on the shop floor, so an unpleasant working environment can, over time, be a major demotivator. And this environment is not only influenced by a good atmosphere among professionals. It is also influenced by other aspects that improve (or worsen) this environment (with its impact on the professionals who work in it) such as lighting, ventilation, and heating in the different areas of the workshop, as well as the order and cleanliness of the facilities.

Salary and benefits

Competitive salaries, performance bonuses, and other benefits can be good motivating agents for technicians, as they will be rewarded for greater efficiency in their work. However, some professionals may also respond positively to promotional opportunities, recognition, and job satisfaction, so it’s worth considering other ways to make your staff feel appreciated and recognized.

Working hours

Reasonable working hours also help to keep efficiency at high levels. Together with regular breaks, we help reduce fatigue and keep staff motivated. Working longer hours, especially if there is no incentive, could be counterproductive for your team and a demotivating element, which is likely to have a negative impact on their efficiency levels.

Quality materials

Only the use of the best materials, such as those that PPG offers to the workshop, can achieve the best jobs, using only the time necessary to complete them. Using poor quality products, we run the risk of needing more time to complete the same jobs or even having to repeat them due to poor results.

The benefits of improving efficiency

Efficiency is a measurable, quantifiable KPI (key performance indicator). Nowadays, any management software allows us to know this variable in just a few clicks. However, let’s do a little exercise:

How many technicians do you have? Let’s say, 5. How many hours does each one work per week? 40. So, you can ‘sell’ 200 hours of work per week. If we eliminate the hours (let’s say two a day) that they spend doing other things that do not generate income such as cleaning the facilities/tools, meetings, chasing spare parts and any other task you can think of, each week we would have to deduct 10 hours x 5 technicians, that is, 50 hours to subtract from the 200, which means 150 productive hours.

What would happen if, for example, you made sure that all parts and materials (paints, attachments…) were in stock before you started working on each car? (This is how PPG Inventory helps you in this aspect) Or what would happen if we reduced the meetings to the really essential ones or better organized the cleaning tasks, as well as those other tasks that do not generate income?

Suddenly, each technician could have that 40 hours of real-time per week, which, multiplied by the 5 technicians, would mean that we would have up to 50 hours more for being more efficient. This would allow us, for example, to take on more work without any reduction in quality.

By the way, if you think that losing 2 hours a day per technician sounds crazy, start using a reliable time tracking system and look at your reports after a couple of weeks…

Efficiency is a team effort

Efficiency in the body shop has a direct impact on your bottom line, so working to improve it from the top is critical to the success of the business. However, it is critical not to lose sight of the fact that efficiency is a team effort. The whole shop must work in the same direction to improve it.