Check-In Sheets & Your Business

You use inspections sheets, right? You know the sheets for; checking starting and charging systems, cooling / brake/suspension system inspections, Preventive Maintenance Inspections…the lists although not endless, should be very long. This blog is NOT about those!

This blog is instead about the “Check-In” inspection sheets that very few use and even fewer use properly. What are these valuable inspections sheets? These are the “drivability” check-in sheets that we see very few facilities use. The “No Start”, “Vehicle Runs Bad”, “CEL or SES light is on”, “Noise” issue and so on and so on. Do you have separate check-in information sheets for these? You should! If you aren’t currently using these types of forms or check sheets, your Technicians are wasting “some or a lot” of time. I know, a bold statement, but they are! I say this because as Service Advisors, if there are no forms or check in sheets, you may forget to ask the customer certain important questions, questions that may slow the diagnostic process and a slow diagnostic process will ALWAYS cost the business money! Everyone has run into this at one time or another…everyone! So why not build inspections or check sheets to make this a more consistent repair or diagnostic process.

Have you ever given a Technician a Repair Order to diagnose a “No Start” only to have the Technician come back in 10 or 15 minutes and tell you it starts fine? Maybe it starts now because the customer just drove it in and it is still warm but our Service writer never asked when the No start occurred (hot, cold, sitting overnight?). How about a “No Start” that should have been written as a “No Crank”. These require VERY different approaches by the Technicians and as such if there wasn’t enough information taken at the counter, everyone wastes time! Don’t think so? Think about the Technicians research ahead of time (before he starts the diagnosis), the way he hooks up test equipment and even his “mental game” as he focuses on the wrong complaint. How much time is wasted in just this example, and it is an easy example of wasted time??

OK, so I know everyone has sent a Technician to track down a “noise” right? Here, sometimes even diagnostic inspection sheets may not save you, but do you know what will? Having the Shop Foreman, or in case you don’t use a Foreman, having the Technician that is going to be assigned the ticket go for a ride with the customer. How many of you have tracked and corrected a noise only to find out that the customer knew about “that” noise but it was the other noise they were complaining about? Most all of us have had this happen. Now imagine for a second the last time that happened to your facility, how much time we could have saved “IF” the Technician had gone for a ride with the customers? This was a mandatory process in all the facilities I was the service Advisor at, because I had learned the value of not wasting time by not doing it. Sure everyone is busy, especially the Technicians, but how much time can be saved by he/she going for a 5 or 10 minute road test with the customer? The answer could be and has been, hours in the long run!!

I referenced wasting time a lot in this article because ”labor inventory” is a full one half or more of our potential sales and any time (labor) not billed for, is time lost! You can never get lost time back, so you MUST make sure that everyone within your facility is always thinking about billing for “time”. Try and look at labor inventory the same way you do parts inventory. If parts are going out of your facility not being charged for it is a loss and as such you would probably spare no expense at finding why and stopping it from happening any further. I am here to tell you looking at labor inventory is no different and should be approached with the same “spare no expense” way of making sure we get paid for it. Building good check-in inspection sheets is part of the spare no expense way of thinking!

Average shop productivity (hours on site VS hours billed) is 72% or 5.76 hours billed for each 8 hours a technician is on site. What would it mean to your shop if we were able to bill one more hour per technician per day. Take the time to do the math here; it will make a huge difference in your sales each month. What would it take to bill that one more hour per technician? A little less wasted time, a better complaint description or a 5 minute road test.

You can build the above mention sheets with the help of your Technicians, Service Advisor(s) and computer information system (AllData, IdentaFix, Mitchel etc.). Many information systems have some of these already built into their systems, my recommendation is to use those as a base and build out from there.