Technician income is on the rise and the current shortage of available technicians is as well causing concerns for most dealerships across the country. Dealers have become aggressive offering more per flat rate hour and I’ve seen sign-on bonuses as high as $20,000. New technicians coming into the Automotive industry is low quickly elevating the shortage. The new technicians that enter the field face the challenge of no support in the dealership on the flat rate system causing their income to be so low they have to exit to make a decent living in a different industry. The existing technician pool is aging and showing signs of wear on their knees and backs reduce the ability to turn the same number of hours. In addition, other industries are stealing automotive technicians as they need to staff oil drilling and fleet operations. As bleak as all of this sounds dealerships haven’t changed the way technicians are treated or implemented new processes to address these issues. Dealers might still consider support staff as a cost they need to keep down reducing technician efficiencies and the ability of technicians to turn hours. Adequate support staff is a must to eliminate obstacles reducing technician efficiency. One of the processes that would help address this issue I have titled “The Surgical Approach”. Consider the orthopedic surgeon being interrupted during the surgery to go find a tool that is in a pile alongside the wall needed to complete the patient’s knee operation. Imagine a surgeon waiting for approval from the insurance company for an additional item found while the patient lays on the table. Would a surgeon ever be pulled from a job to go to another patient because someone scheduled inappropriately and they have been waiting too long? As ridiculous as that sounds these are common practices throughout our dealerships and are considered normal operations. A technician generates over $150 an hour in parts and labor sales while staff to improve efficiencies might be an investment of $12 an hour. Dealerships must build a foundation that is unafraid to change existing ways of doing business and embrace processes such as the surgical approach realizing the real cost is to do nothing different.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Cell: (419) 282-1351
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