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Why is Productivity An issue?


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I agree. Increasing shop productivity is more complicated than the actual time the technician takes to complete a job. We all know that a tech can beat the book time on most jobs, so why would productivity be lower than normal in a given shop?


To elaborate on Evan’s remarks; wasted time between jobs, techs performing tasks that are not productive, time wasted finding the right tools or equipment, receiving the wrong parts, on and on, all contributes to lower than normal productivity.


I too agree that shop owners need to do an analysis on the actual work-flow process, much the same way the Japanese did decades ago when analyzing how to improve the efficiency of the assembly line, in order to find the waste in shop production. As each problem is solved, more profit is generated to the bottom line.


While I agree that there are many factors that effect productivity and it would be great to have a Dr. Deming time study expert on our staff, that is not usually possible from a cost standpoint. But we actually have the experts working for us already! I have found that if I work with the staff individually to find out why they think their productivity is down, they can usually pinpoint the areas that need attention. While it is true that their idea of fix may not take into consideration elements they don't understand, like the cost to fix certain problems, between them all they can usually nail down the areas that need improvement, especially when it effects them personally. It is then up to me to come up with a cost effective solution.


I found that the first step in improving productivity is to make it obvious to everyone that there is a problem so that they can make changes in their own behavior if necessary. If just changing the behavior is not enough then a discussion per above will usually tell me exactly where I need to look. Many times it is not what I want to hear, since it means I must change something we are doing as a company, or buy a piece of equipment, or pay for training, etc.. The problem must first be obvious and identified, and they steps can be taken to cure the problem.


My primary reason for developing QuickTrac productivity software was to make productivity easily understood and constantly on display for everyone in the company. If my facility is put together right, my processes are effective, and my customer load is sufficient the team will keep us above 120% productivity all the time. The first three items are my responsibility, as is finding the right team members, from there on they will see it happens.

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