Avoid agressive scheduling

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A. Sending your repair tech on a 40-mile drive to perform a minor repair on a wheelchair is more than a nuisance; it really hurts the bottom line.

Way too often, the typical field tech is over-scheduled for the day. While it would appear that this approach would get the most work done, it is one of the worst things you can do.

Why? Because an aggressive schedule for field service means that the tech will only have time to knock out the specific repair, and miss the opportunity to inspect other components of the chair to identify other problems looming. Building in some breathing room for the field tech's daily call schedule makes it possible to batch more job operations in a single service call.

This helps build the amount of labor that can be billed per service call. This is critical to grow the "average invoice" benchmark and increases repair department revenue.

Identifying and correcting problems that are in the making while on a service call will also ultimately reduce the frequency of service calls. Now we are reducing cost.

Here's how to implement a batch-processing approach:

1. Give your techs a checklist to guide them on what to inspect. Insist that this is done for every repair.

2. Instruct schedulers to allow enough time for for techs to thoroughly perform the repair and checklist. 

3. Communicate a plan and set goals. It is essential to let the techs know that they are expected to use the extra time to take care of lurking problems. Track their billable hours, set goals, and let them know results.

Dick Fuller is the owner of Richard Fuller Consulting. Reach him at fuller@rfullerconsulting.com or 636-451-6220.