Don’t let W-Time turn into ‘WTF?!’ time

Dave Koshollek
Publish Date: 
May 23, 2013
By Dave Koshollek

Now let’s add the $5,512.50 labor dollars with the $5,880 parts dollars. Here we get a whopping $11,392.50 in potential service department revenue being missed due to the techs’ trips to the tool truck. It’s a significant number, and when service managers in my classes calculate the actual loss for their dealership they are almost, to a person, shocked beyond belief.

Does that mean we should chain techs to their lifts to eliminate visits to the tool trucks? No, I’m pretty sure that would be illegal and most techs I know might take a swing at you (because this can be the highlight of their day). But the service manager can ask the tool truck drivers to stop by every other week or after 5:30 p.m. when work is wrapping up. In this case, the best course of action is to mitigate the cause, not eliminate it altogether.

Three other areas just as detrimental that the service manager has greater control over have to
do with shop layout, processes and procedures.

For example:

  • Reduce the W-Time caused by techs having to roll a vehicle off their lift when they’re waiting for parts or the owner’s approval to proceed with the repair. Note that it takes an average of two- to three-tenths of an hour to consolidate and store the parts, roll the old vehicle off the lift, procure the new vehicle and get it set up on the lift to start the new job. The best way to reduce the lost labor hours here is to provide each tech with two lifts so the vehicle on hold can remain on its lift and the tech can begin working on the new repair order next to it.
  • In some shops, pushing vehicles out of the service area and back in every day consumes a huge amount of time. Remember that to produce revenue in service, we need to “keep techs twisting,” as in twisting wrenches. Any activity that reduces their twisting reduces revenue. The shop is better off hiring a “lot lizard” or using parts staff to move the vehicles.
  • Following previous thinking, another time muncher concerns techs waiting on parts. I’ve seen techs waiting 10 minutes or more to get their parts for a routine service. That’s crazy. Routine service parts should be pulled the day before and staged for installation — or better yet, delivered to the tech’s work area. Service advisers should be making the rounds to their techs to deliver parts and collect orders for additional items needed. In a perfect world, techs would never leave their work area for parts.

Of course, your results may vary, so my advice is to calculate any W-Time you think is getting out of control. Determine the annual cost and then make changes accordingly.

I created a simple tool for calculating service revenue called, “DAKO’s Service Revenue Calculator” (chart above) that you can use it to determine potential revenue gains and losses. Email me at using the Subject: Please Send DAKO’s Calculator and I will send it to you. All I ask is that you provide feedback on how you used it and what the results were.

This column originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Dealernews.