You don’t need 300 more technicians! - Lean-Auto-Retail
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You don’t need 300 more technicians!

You don’t need 300 more technicians!

Think Lean and do (much) more with the resources you have – without stressing them – AND make more money!




A growing market share means more after-market demand – a happy prospect for dealers. But to capture that prospect means adding resource – more technicians, and either more ramps and larger workshops – or the complexity of longer opening hours.


Or does it?


What if you can sell more hours, do more services, repairs and preps, without the need to add resource? And without making people work faster and harder?
What if you could save millions of pounds of investment AND treble your profitability in few years?


It’s exactly what Jaeger Toyota did. In 2007 Toyota’s market share was growing quickly in Norway and Jaeger (a £65m turnover multi-site group) were told by the brand that they needed to expand both of their two largest workshops – and therefore the number of technicians – by a third to accommodate for the surge in after-market work. But in Norway, the oil industry loves to poach skilled technicians, so salaries are high. The thought of recruiting more in such a market was daunting.


In the months before this Jaeger had been on a study tour with us to see the 3 rd largest group in Portugal who had been learning about and implementing Lean thinking with great financial success for several years.


The Simao Group was faced with similar problems at a number of its sites and worked out how to do any service in 30 minutes using 2 technicians. Customers loved the convenience of this appointment-time Express Service and wondered why they didn’t have to pay more. It also solved their pressing car parking problems. The techs loved it because their life was easier and the MD loved it for its effect on his bottom line.


Back in Norway, a short discussion with Jaeger convinced them that they could apply Lean thinking too – starting with Express Service. With guidance, they progressively developed their own version – building up to 4 bays in their main site and two at the second one. Each became capable of doing 12 services a day – including additional work like brakes.


The result? No need to spend £4 million developing their sites. No need to add more technicians. Much happier customers who loved the appointment-time and short-wait convenience. Much happier techs who were involved in improving their work and shared in the profits.


And the profits? Well, this was the beginning of a journey of applying Lean throughout the group the result of which has seen them deliver a total of over £8m MORE profit than if they had just stayed as ‘one of the best performers’ in the network. The chart [below] says it all.


So no, you don’t need more technicians.


You might want to pay them more – but by engaging them (and the rest of the team) in eliminating , creating more value for customers and improving their own work you will improve productivity AND profitability – like Jaeger. From this you can afford to pay a profit-share bonus that will further help to retain good staff.


And it’s not just about Express Service. That’s just a starting point that solves a range of pressing problems. Lean applies to all workshop jobs. And to admin. And to Sales. And to Strategy. To everything. It’s not about ‘getting to another level’ it’s about a journey of continuous improvement. As a few UK dealers are now beginning to find out.


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