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How to Improve Efficiency with Technician Time Tracking

Maximizing employee efficiency is a crucial step toward boosting your independent auto shop’s ROI. However, your workers might not be quite as efficient as you might assume. On average, employees are productive for a mere two hours and 53 minutes each day. 

Investing in time-tracking software is a great way to improve your shop’s overall efficiency. This software can help you track many different key performance indicators, including:

  • Technician efficiency rate 
  • Technician productivity rate 
  • Average recommended jobs per inspection
  • Hours spent per job
  • Total hours spent completing jobs
  • Labor costs per job
  • Jobs completed per technician
  • Average extra hours per job

Of course, the increased efficiency these programs can deliver shouldn’t come at the expense of team morale. By keeping your techs’ needs in mind while implementing time tracking software, you can reap the benefits of this technology without making your employees feel like they’re under surveillance. This is AutoVitals’ guide to improving your shop’s efficiency through technician time tracking.

Set Goals

Before you can start working towards supercharging technician productivity, you need to figure out where your shop is at right now. Take a thorough, honest look at your shop’s current workflow—including how much time your techs usually spend on each job and non-billable activities.

Once you have a baseline in place, it’s time for the first real step in the process—setting concrete goals for your technicians. As with all business goals, your targets must be both realistic and measurable. 

Before implementing your new goals, take time to explain them to your employees and why they matter. Involving your team in the process is essential for employee buy-in on the new technician time tracking system.

Create Appropriate Time Buckets

In order to keep an eye on your technicians’ activities, you’ll need to define what those activities are. That involves creating multiple “time buckets”—categories your employees can use to log their hours.

Your shop’s specific time buckets will vary depending on the services you provide, the level of insight you want, and other factors. Still, you should keep a balanced approach in mind when creating buckets for your time-tracking system. 

Yes, having more buckets will give you a more detailed overview of your technicians’ activities. But too many buckets will force your techs to spend excessive time on a non-billable activity—that is, updating their time-tracking software.

Look for Bottlenecks

No matter how qualified your technicians are, they’re only human. That means they can get held up by any number of problems around your shop, including things completely outside their control. Technician time tracking can help you look for trends that indicate:

  • Slow Wi-Fi connections
  • A lack of information
  • Poor software functionality (especially on mobile devices)
  • Suboptimal floor plans
  • Bad UI design
  • Issues with parts organization
  • Task scheduling delays

If you notice these issues or any other potential hang-ups around your garage, make a point of resolving them. Doing so might take some time and money, but that will pale compared to the efficiency you’ll gain by fixing these problems.

Look for Discrepancies Between Employees

One of the best things about technician time tracking is the detailed information it gives you about your shop’s operations on a per-worker level. For example, this technology might help you notice when a technician consistently completes a particular task faster than their coworkers. That might mean they’ve found a quicker way to finish this job—information they could share with your other techs to improve efficiency across the board.

Time tracking systems can also make it obvious when some of your employees are falling behind on certain tasks. These workers might be struggling with obstacles you’re unaware of (like the list from the previous point), or they might benefit from additional training or support

Just avoid the temptation to use this technology to punish less-efficient technicians—doing so will inevitably harm employee morale. Instead, approach it as a way to find opportunities for improvement and ensure everyone on your team is getting the support they need to do their best.

Reward High Performers

Adding technician time tracking to your shop’s workflow will be a big adjustment for everyone. If your techs work hard to adopt this new system, it’s a good idea to reward them in turn. This lets them know how much you care about their efforts. You’ll also re-emphasize the benefits of time tracking while giving your staff members an extra incentive to use this system.

In addition to “real” rewards, giving workers recognition and appreciation for their hard work is never a bad idea. And if your time tracking system shows exceptional performance among specific employees, it might be wise to consider giving these technicians a promotion.

Track Time the Right Way With AutoVitals

Technician time tracking software comes with countless benefits, but this software can be a double-edged sword when implemented thoughtlessly. That’s why you should set realistic goals for your technicians, use time-tracking information to help them out, and give hard workers the rewards they deserve. By doing so, you can get the most out of your time tracking system while avoiding any potential drawbacks.

Of course, you’ll also need to select a time-tracking program that truly meets your shop’s needs. AutoVitals’ SmartFlow app includes TeE (Technician Equivalent)-Time—a mobile-friendly tracking system that automatically logs your workers’ activities. To use this system, all your technicians will have to do is clock in and out. For a closer look at the SmartFlow app and TeE-Time, request a product demonstration today!

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