Regardless of the industry, staffing is a must. Between juggling expenses and increasing revenue it’s sometimes tough to justify a higher debit from personnel expenses, but you have to consider the pros and cons before limiting your departments.
Throughout my career on the front-end of the automotive biz, I found myself in all sorts of different staffing situations. At times it felt like we had far too many people and there wasn’t enough work to go around. Other times we were stretched so thin we couldn’t breathe and it was all due to a management team that didn’t want to shell out the hourly expense of additional support staff.
There’s no perfect formula for deciding how many people should be clocked in and working on any given day, but let me try to make it easier for you: if your production staff, like service consultants and technicians, are finding themselves away from where they make you money the most (the front desk and in the work bays) then you’re in need of more support staff.
It’s no big mystery that if a technician is walking back and forth to the parts department to put in recommendations, acquire pricing, grab up-sold parts for vehicles, etc., the he or she is not making you or your company any money. If your consultant is pulling up vehicles, checking in cars on the drive, filling up amenities in the waiting room, etc., then yeah, you guessed it, they’re not making themselves any money or helping out your bottom line.
The simple expense of an extra porter, parts runner, or driver, pays for itself in no time when your department’s production staff are able to stay in their work station and produce.
In addition to staffing, there is software and other tools out there to help minimize the time that production staff and others spend doing tasks unrelated to producing. If you’re in the car business you’ve likely already been introduced to one or ore forms of these tools by vendors stepping into your office. AutoPoint, XTime, CDK, and others have solutions for automotive fixed operations that can turn your department into a well-oiled machine. Just be prepared to pay accordingly and make sure your entire team buys into the new processes.