Workshop management and garage management are our bread and butter. It’s what we know best. In case you didn’t catch it, here is our latest article on workshop management and garage management in this month’s CV Workshop.
Keeping control of your workshop costs
In workshops up and down the country, costs are split between fixed overheads, the building, plant and equipment and the variables – labour and parts. All of them need your attention if you are going to keep the fleet legal and safe, be it your own or your customers. It would be very easy to spend large amounts of time and fit copious amounts of parts on to vehicles in your workshop but by doing so you’d run up large costs. It is vital to be as efficient and effective as possible.
Measuring efficiency and effectiveness manually is time consuming and can often result in errors, whilst using monthly accounts for costings means that the information is always out of date. How many workshop managers/foremen/mechanics check vehicle histories before beginning work on a vehicle? It isn’t normally done because it means trawling through large files looking for one piece of information that may be written in many different ways. It takes time and often the information is missed.
The most common way of recording mechanic time is by the mechanic writing the amount of time spent on a job on the job card or on a time sheet. So if you wanted to find out what your mechanics have been doing in a day or a week, you’d need to gather all the job cards together and draw the information out. A clever mechanic will always ensure that the time allocated always equals their working day. But how much time has been spent not working on vehicles? Is this recorded anywhere? If not, and all the time is allocated to vehicles, then false pictures about vehicles can emerge and the problem becomes multiplied when buying decisions are made on based these figures.
Using a comprehensive garage management system, such as TRACE, which includes an integrated mechanic time recording facility, you can record all time accurately and charge either to the vehicles or to workshop overheads. Looking at the time overheads may then lead to decisions which will reduce this overhead, leaving more time allocated to vehicle maintenance and repair. If you are a commercial vehicle repair garage then this extra time will result in more income and profit. A client of ours, GWC commercials, introduced the TRACE system with time recording using bar coding and mechanic efficiency rose from 75% to 94% over only a few months.
If your team don’t correctly log parts out of the stores, then you’re losing money and ultimately will get incorrect information about vehicles. It is therefore imperative to have a simple system that the mechanics or storeman can use to log the parts out. Again bar coding provides the quickest and most effective solution. The bins can be bar coded and easily read with portable readers that pass the data straight back to the TRACE system and immediately onto the job.
Keeping track of parts and labour costs and usage is important. Being able to rely on and use that information quickly and easily is vital as GWC Commercials found out.