Efficiency, Organization, Asset Protection, Oh My!
My specialty has always been in finding innovative ways on how to develop business. “Slick marketing” is what my competition calls it. To me, it’s just business fundamentals. With a rich background in software and technology, tasks that involve creating solutions for operations are pretty trivial for me.
Recently, I was tasked to be an auditor. Throughout the day, I walked around the front office and shop spaces with a reMarkable taking very extensive notes about all of my observations. By the way, if you guys haven’t seen a reMarkable yet, take a look! This thing lets you write all your notes down in one place, in a digital format, and it writes and appears just like paper.
David and I went over a weeks worth of notes and started to analyze the data as best we could to establish any trends. Something for sure confirmed was our teams commitment to their work ethic. Our team is like a machine. Performance work isn’t just their trade but it is also their hobby so we expected to see these results tallying up to an impressive 76% efficiency range. What that means to a consumer is if we quote a fixed rate job for 3 hours, our techs will actually take about 3.72 hours to complete that job. We have always been pretty firm to our guys that we don’t have deadlines unless the customer has expectations. I would rather spend twice the amount of time getting something done right the first time and communicating with the customer along the way. The customer experience aspect of this business is everything.
Recently, we have done quite a few renovations to the front office and shop spaces. One of those renovations in the shop spaces was the effort to create a more organized space. We purchased all new, matching shelving, stainless steel, commercial kitchen-grade prep tables, dozens of plastic totes, peg boards, and other complimenting furniture and appliances.
A complaint from our front office and performance technicians is now we have the real estate and means to store general consumables and customer parts but how can we efficiently fix the issue of locating product? How can we track what is in stock so we don’t have to order additional product? How can we set aside a product for a specific customer’s build so it isn’t used on another customer’s build besides putting it in a pile? Quickly, I began to brainstorm and implemented an awesome solution that goes back to my experience in information technology.
An asset tag is a barcode sticker commonly found on company assets like laptops, filing cabinets, or other large investments often companies keep track of to have a handle on what they own, who is using it, what location or job site the equipment is located at, and more. The asset tag has a unique identifier similar to a serial number. Every single item that comes through our shipping and receiving table does not leave until we execute our new process.
When a part comes in, a new asset tag is placed on the products packaging. Using an asset management software, we scan the barcode in and essentially bring it to life in the system. The part gets a name, generally in the format of <model number>, <manufacturer>, <short text description>, <color and/or size if applicable>. Next, we assign the part to a category for easy tracking, give it an owner (The Shop Houston or a specific customer’s name), and declare its location. After the products establishment in the system, the product can be placed on its designated shelf, stack, or tote.
When a part is used by a performance technician, to update the asset manager properly, they have been given a barcode scanning gun. Every time they scan a barcode using one of their guns, we are alerted in the front that this item has been scanned by a user in shop space. At this point, we not only can check it out of the system but we can also make certain that the customer is only getting billed for parts that were actually used on their build.
In a shop environment, there are dozens of consumables consumers don’t generally realize we have to constantly have in stock to remain efficient. Items like fuel and air delivery fittings, silicone couplers, oils and lubricants from a variety of customer preferred brands, filters, and more need to be monitored closely.
We are extremely excited to continue to push the bar for our business and see how we can consistently continue to create a more positive customer experience and enrich our customer’s lives.
If another shop owner or team is reading my blog and would like a system like this implemented, don’t be a stranger and reach out. I can get you setup with all of the same hardware and software I used to accomplish this. The better all of the performance shops do at creating good experiences, the greater this community we all love with expand.