No one would expect a service shop to pass the “white glove” test; that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be as orderly and clean as possible.
The premise of this IdeaXchange blog, “Neatness counts in the shop,” by Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease, may seem obvious; yet it’s an important point that deserves to be emphasized. If you have a teen-ager in the family and you’ve tried to find something in his or her room, you probably have a good understanding of why neatness counts. When you need something immediately, you don’t want to find yourself on a scavenger hunt; you want to be able to grab what you need and go.
The same should hold true in your shop. Certainly, as Jane notes, the nature of our business means that some amount of disorder is inevitable during the working hours. Technicians have to disassemble and assemble components; floors may be stained with oil and grease; but that doesn’t negate a basic need for order.
Technicians should never be forced to hunt for the tools they need, especially for specialty tools. That means management must set up a specific spot for these specialty tools and inform staff where everything is. In addition, since such tools are often costly, there should be sign-in and sign-out sheets technicians must fill out.
The time a technician spends looking for the right tools and equipment is time he or she should be spending making necessary inspection and repairs. That’s a waste of time that translates into a waste of money, since the longer it takes to get that vehicle on the road, the less time you have to make on-time delivery.
If you outsource maintenance, Jane notes that you should expect the same organization from your provider. Are the technicians’ uniforms clean? Does it look like chaos reigns with tools everywhere and floors that are excessively dirty? If so, you should take that into consideration when making your selection of a third-party provider. Neatness and organization implies a professionalism that you should demand from any provider.
Obviously competence and expertise should still top your list of considerations both internally and externally, but an organized shop will ultimately be a shop that performs with greater efficiency.