In this episode of WrenchWay Weekly, we discuss performance metrics. Watch the full episode, or review the episode highlights below.

Are Performance Metrics a Good Measure of Technicians’ Work?

A recent WrenchWay Insiders poll asked, “Are performance metrics (i.e., efficiency, hours billed, rework, etc.) an accurate representation of the work you do as a technician?” Let’s review the responses:

  • Yes: 43%
  • No: 57%

A majority of technicians felt that performance measurements don’t accurately capture their work. Many comments reflect the feeling that numbers ignore the human side of work, and managers ignore what else is going on in a technician’s life, “They often forget you took a day off, went for a doctor appointment or were sent for training which skews the numbers. In a small shop, this may not be as noticeable.”

Insightfully, this same commenter remarks, “You also need to take into account quality of work and the number of return visits. A tech who takes pride and does the right job is never going to be efficient on a report as a tech who gets them in and gets them out, maybe not with all the bolts in place, but they are fast and efficient.”

Quality of work was another common discussion point among technicians. One respondent adds, “We hear a lot about productivity rate and efficiency. As a technician with a 90%+ workload of diagnostics and/or warranty jobs, as well as helping other technicians, these metrics carry absolutely no weight. I like to think customer satisfaction and quality over quantity matter a great deal more in the end.”

Feedback like this is common from a veteran technician who gets paid under a flat rate system. These highly-skilled individuals are used to performing complex work assignments while still having time to foster the next generation of technicians.

Key Performance Indicators are Here to Stay

The low labor rates from decades ago are long gone. So, because today’s shop rates represent significant dollars and management is always analyzing fixed costs, key performance indicators (KPIs) are here to stay. These measurements include efficiency, hours billed, and rework, and look at productivity and costs the same way professional athletes are judged. There is constant pressure to perform, and when the results aren’t positive, management makes a change.

Working with KPIs

KPIs are part of the industry. And while these metrics will be part of most technicians’ work for the foreseeable future, simple steps can remove the mystery from the KPI equation.

  • Owners/Managers: Explain to technicians what you are looking for when measuring work performance. At the same time, try to learn beyond the numbers and better understand what outside factors (i.e., health and family) might impact technician efficiency.
  • Technicians: Talk with your supervisor to learn what information your shop is gathering when assessing your performance and efficiency. Ask questions, and don’t make assumptions.