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Business Management

Time to Wind Up or Down?

Run these 5 reports keep your service department rolling in slow and busy times

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As we roll into the fall and head squarely toward winter, the season is winding down in some parts of the country, while in other parts it’s about to get really busy. If your dealership is located in the part of the country where things are slowing down then now is a good time to look over how you did during the busy season. If you are getting ready to ramp up for the busy season there are a few reports and checklists that might help your department get through the busier time of year.

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The first report I like to run at the end of a busy stretch of work is the number of open repair orders in the system. This gives you an idea of what hasn’t been done yet and what needs to get done. It will also tell you if you have some cash left on the table you need to collect. This report will also tell you where all the problem units are and why they are in the shop. Whether you are getting ready to slow down or getting ready to get slammed with work, it’s always a good idea to do a little house keeping and get rid of some units that are a little “long in the tooth.”

Second report: Dollars billed from the previous three months from the same three month period the year before will tell you how you did versus last year. Were you up or down or about the same? If your sales were down ask why? Many times it’s as simple as the weather has not been good and people have not been riding. Sometimes it’s a little more complicated like a change in employees and a lack of upselling. Were your sales way up over the same period?

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This one is always good to look at because there are several reasons why. Maybe the weather was better this year. Was there a local shop that went under? It could also be that maybe you hired someone new and they are overbilling your customers. Overbilling your customers can have a long term negative effect on your business. If your service department is either significantly up or down from the previous year it’s always a good idea to figure out why.

Third report: Dollars billed for the next three months from the same three month period the year before. This should tell you where you are going and what to prepare for. I think it’s important to know where you have been, but also where you are going. You should be looking at making sure your staffing levels are adequate and you have the right parts on hand to handle the upcoming service work and upsell opportunities.

Fourth report: Unit service history is always fascinating to look at. It will show you the year, makes and models of what you have actually worked on. When I run this report at dealerships for the first time it always surprises them because they never remember the models they do service work on, but they always seem to remember the models they have trouble with. Unit service history can also be used as a guide for your parts department. Once you run this report and count the number of times you service or repair a specific model then you have a guide for stocking parts for that model.

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I usually run this report for the previous 12 – 18 months and look at how many times we see a specific model. If you do tons of service work on Yamaha R6s look up the part numbers for consumables and see what other models those parts fit. Most online parts catalogs have a where used section on them. Once you run your top 10 -15 vehicles see how many of them have common parts and try stocking a few of them.

“Are you billing enough time for the job? Did you short the time for the tech on the job?”

The final report I like to run at the end of a busy stretch is a technician efficiency and productivity report. This details how well a technician performed over the past year. This report can be kind of tricky. Just because your technician is really efficient that might not always be a good thing. If your tech is in the 125 percent plus efficiency range there are a couple of things to look at. Are they doing all the work? Are they taking short cuts on services? Are you overbilling your customers?

Or it could be your tech is just really fast and hustles. The same things can be said if your tech is below the 75 percent level. Are you billing enough time for the job? Did you short the time for the tech on the job? Is your tech working on a bike that is not being billed out (i.e., fixing hoses and leaks and not reporting the time)? Is your tech not finishing the job?

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Running some simple reports and knowing where you were last year and looking ahead to the next year will help you keep your department on track.

C.R. Gittere and the Service Manager Pro team specialize in service department efficiency, elevating customer service and increasing department profitability. His monthly column focuses on best practices and unique ways to get the most out of your service department. More information about Service Manager Pro can be found at www.servicemanagerpro.com.

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