Discussion:
Time guidelines/flat rate?

We have a problem that I am sure that 99% of other shops have. It is especially severe when we are reconditioning our own trucks for resale. The problem is that all jobs take as long as the technician wants them to take so when the truck is completed we basically trade dollars and the technician is the only one that is making good money.
We tried instituting a system that showed in writing how long we expected each repair to take and then the technician was supposed to fill in the actual time that it took. Nobody will or has filled it in because they don't want to look themselves in the mirror.
We try to run our shop with a positive attitude but something needs to change. I would absolutely love to institute a flat rate system but I don't see that working in our industry because there is not enough repititous work as there is in the automotive field plus the application factor can add big time to how long it takes to complete a repair.
Does anybody have any ideas how we can reward a technician for completing a series of repairs (reconditioning) in an agreed upon amount of time? Should there be a penalty for going over on time? What do you do about unforseen repairs or hidden damage that add time?
There are alot of issues facing our industry and this is one of the major ones. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 00:03
  • Discussion started by duodeluxe
  • United States
duodeluxe
Showing items 1 - 14 of 14 results.
Gordo, you better worded what I was trying to say.

We use a plan similar, but the bonus payout occurs after the warranty period. The bonus decreases with warranty costs. It stops a weak prep, and we find that because the techs have a financial interest that they are willing to refurbish unless they have to buy new when the state of the part is not totally bad equalling bigger savings.
  • Posted 25 Jul 2008 07:57
  • Reply by JonG
  • United States
Gordo your spot on with your reply and how you let your techs have input in at a meeting its suprising how peoples attitudes change but its also takes a good manager as well to come up with that idea and trying out.
  • Posted 25 Jul 2008 07:44
  • Modified 25 Jul 2008 07:47 by poster
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
Gordo; Thanks for the positive reply. Can you give me some specifics as to how the bonus works. I would like to implement something like that. It sounds like a real win-win situation and that is what I am looking for.
  • Posted 25 Jul 2008 05:00
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
duodeluxe
Duo, I've read through your comments and understand where you are coming from.
We put an inccentive program in place to give the techs a reason to want to stay within an alotted timeline or quote which relates to more $$$ for them.
We also included the techs in the meetings for what is acceptable when rebuilding a unit for resale or quoting on a customer unit and actually had some real positive results with coming to an acceptable medium. If they feel included in the decision process the techs seem to be more personally acountable and brings managers down a notch or two so things go smoother.
I'm a road tech turned service manager so I'm not playing one side against the other here.
This is only an example of what we did, what you do with it is up to you.

cheers.
  • Posted 25 Jul 2008 04:51
  • Reply by Gordo
  • Alberta, Canada
And I would make the point that a properly trained and equipped tech, should have no reason to exceed a _properly_ quoted rebuild.
break down each part of the rebuild and look that part of the job over correctly and completely, include extra time to grind off the slag from the smelter and pound off the concrete from the construction company job, have the tech come to the estimator if they run into trouble.
The gravy, tough to chew meat, as well as bones, should be shared between the worker and the company.
I once heard that 90% of all corporate problems were related to communication.
if the job is -allways- taking longer than expected, then we are not accounting for some aspect of the time.
  • Posted 24 Jul 2008 20:14
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
you can put a loose time schedule on prep jobs ie fitting light s and stuff but repair jobs can hit all sorts of problems down the way. it doesn,t take long to strip a diff but you can,t throw it back together. you could get lucky and have it setup right in half an hour or it could take 3.
  • Posted 24 Jul 2008 06:11
  • Reply by kevin_k
  • dumfriesshire, United Kingdom
going buy your past replys i think u should have a look in the mirror and why not try talking to your techs to sort out ways round the problem or is your place of work the type of environment were techs feel that they cant be open to freely speak there mind?.You should be having monthly meetings were everyone can freely speek there mind about anything and then do something about it.
But duodeluxe if you need to come onto a foum to get advice on how to deal with staff or how workshops are run then what does that say about your leadership skills or your company for training you for that particular job
  • Posted 24 Jul 2008 02:30
  • Modified 24 Jul 2008 02:45 by poster
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
It seems that every discussion somehow morphs into a conversation about how management has not only created all of the technicians problems but they have also created all of the bad techs.
My original question was how can we increase productivity. But I realize now that the only way to do that is to have a tech look in the mirrror and realize they are either a part of the problem or they are the problem.
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 23:08
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
duodeluxe
Eddie
Sadly you are correct. That's why I decided to move up, not sit and gripe with my fellow techs. I know that the UK is the same as the US, if you're not treated properly you have the option of changing companies. If you know your stuff it's easy.. sadly too many managers do not recognise that. The only way I've found to get rid of bad management is to either to show the senior management how poor they are or walk. If you're a good manager you protct your folks, make them look good and give them the info and tools to do their job, they in turn make you look good... Simple concept too rarely seen.
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 11:26
  • Reply by JonG
  • United States
JonG I get yearly reviews and whether i or any of the other techs get one i have never known anyone to get a raise for doing there job well the place i work its just a yearly review that has to be done were they talk about your bad points if we had yearly reviews were u did get a raise for going the extra bit for being a good tech and other tech sees them or another tech getting a pay rise for doing there job well i would definitaly have a change attitude and would play the game properly you are correct about rewarding a tech if he gets a good review but a lot of places dont think that way i always say money talks
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 08:10
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
Duo
I've been on both sides of this... I think I now work/live the best way...
1. Require the time from your techs, or (as I've had to do) sit there and watch..... boring but interesting (when you watch from afar it takes longer than sitting there). You soon develop more of a feel for time, and that is easily shared with the techs as a 'look it only took....'
2. Then require them for account for their time, at least to a WO. Let them know the time guidelines for a job, and give them an incentive for coming in under - i.e. you save 10% and you get a % of the sale on a recondition - I must point out that it's amazing how many parts they then decide can be refurbished instead of replaced, and the time that is saved.
3. The time limit is then part of the review process. As a part of their goals it is when in time meets expectation, etc and if under then exceeds and is in line for a raise.... You get the idea
4. The nasty bit is when the mechanics will not do their bit. This year I've had to replace all the mechanics at one of my shops who refused to account for their time. It's amazing how the rest got in line and on with the program, even nicer with the new folks - a breath of fresh air..
5. I know your on thsi forum often. We've all read and stated how a good technician is independant and accoutable, your problem would suggest your folks lack in these imprtant qualities...
6. When I started I trained in the shop as well as formal class room training. The senior shop techs kept the new techs and junior shop techs in line, they were allowed some ubilled time to do this. I learnt more from those folks than any school I ever attended. They were always a good go to resource. I've seen shops used as punishment - if your a bad road tech go to the shop etc. It's a culture change, have your shop techs ever ridden on the road, and seen what where how the road tchs have to do it. It's a unique business, and both techs can feel the other has it better unless there is true cross pollination..

Sorry If I rambled.
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 07:46
  • Reply by JonG
  • United States
Were i am techs are hard to get due to shortage plus materialhandling business overhere are not good payers thats why the struggle to get good techs and thats why techs get away with things thats the big problem here and techs no it personally if you pay higher hourly rates for techs than the other techs in your area you can get decent techs and get rid of the crap techs.But that probably wont happen in this game
Could you give us couple of example of excesive time on jobs please.

My first reply was an honest reply do u disagree with what i said?
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 04:00
  • Modified 23 Jul 2008 04:03 by poster
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom
Eddie; I have been out in the shop and most of the time I do know how long a job should take.
I was looking for an answer, not 300 justifaications for taking forever.
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 03:40
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
duodeluxe
Timelimit on jobs it is very hard to put a time on a repair depending on the enviroment were the truck used to work and it is a touchy subject if you say it to a tech like me.Some managers have tried this were i work and here is the top 3 replys for a a tech would reply back
1.how long is a piece of string
2. it takes the time it takes
3 write down on a bit of paper what u dont want me to do and sign it
lol but true.
But an honest opinion when u get given jobs in a workshop u start the job and then 1 hour later you get taken of it to do something else and then ure back it and off it again thats what adds time on the job.If u get a truck thats been in a bad environment it can take longer to do jobs if everthing is seized and sometimes u have to look at the condition of the truck is it worth reconditioning?
If u put a penalty on someone for going over there time you will end up with no techs you would be better of having bonus if the work is completed in a given time after all money talks.
As for unforseen repairs or hidden damage anybody that has been a tech knows the when doing repairs things happen u get caught out u break something or u just cant work out what is wrong with the truck thats all part of the joys of being a tradesman in general were all human everybody has bad days but not everyday.
What i would say to u duodeluxe without being rude about it why dont you get your boiler suit on and go out on the workshop floor for a month and give the techs a demo on time to do jobs.
But i do think part of the problem you have to question is the quality of the truck u are reconditioning is the truck worth reconditiong taking in time and parts to get it up for resale.
I always moan about salemans when they go after customers were the envornment is really hard on trucks were u no the maintence is going to be high they put in rented trucks in i always think thats crazy but like most sales people there only interested in there commision i always think that a big problem from a view point of cost of repairs over 5 years.The damage the customer wont pay for and then when the trucks come out as you point out the time and parts to get the truck up for resale.
Another idea for you if you have a truck in for repair once the parts are orderded and they have arrived work out how long u think its going to take and book transport for the truck going back to the customer and then tell the tech when the transport is comming and that will make the tech go faster he wont like it but i bet he will have it ready before the lorry comes try it
  • Posted 23 Jul 2008 02:28
  • Modified 23 Jul 2008 02:39 by poster
  • Reply by Wind Breaker
  • eab, United Kingdom

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