In this episode of WrenchWay Weekly, we discuss what impedes technician productivity the most at work. Watch the full episode, or review the episode highlights below.

What Affects Technician Productivity?

A recent WrenchWay Insiders poll asked technicians, “What impedes your productivity the most at work?” Here were the responses:

  • People: 31%
  • Poor Processes: 27%
  • Disorganization: 24%
  • Lack of resources (tools/equipment): 11%
  • Other: 7%

For the most part, responses are evenly distributed among people, processes, and disorganization. The “Other” response included replies such as “poor leadership” and “waiting on parts” that could have fallen under one of the other categories. Characteristically, we received insightful feedback from our WrenchWay Insiders. “A foreman that can be the go-to guy would remove many of the teaching/assisting duties from other technicians,” remarks one respondent with an improvement suggestion.

Another technician shows that workplace improvement is possible, “The amount of time spent out of my workstation to get/return parts and to find/return vehicles to be worked on is the biggest non-productive use of time I have. We have hired a service department assistant, which has helped tremendously.”

3 Ways Management Can Improve Shop Productivity

The survey results clearly show that no shop is perfect. There’s always room for improvement. At the same time, enhancing the workplace can make for happier and more productive technicians. Let’s look at three simple improvement techniques that managers and owners can use in their shops.

Technique #1: Spaghetti Charts

No, this isn’t inviting the staff over for a pasta dinner (although that might be a good idea someday). It involves standing back and watching the technicians in your shop go about their daily routines. Trace the steps and paths each person takes to get the job done. Is there a way of making their tasks more efficient? For example, does a technician frequently walk across the shop to grab an oil filter wrench when a $10 investment can put the tool right at their service bay?

Technique #2: Management By Wandering Around

Management by wandering around (MBWA) is a simple a way of saying that the person in charge at the shop should get off the office and spend time on the shop floor. MBWA is an opportunity to identify processes that need improvement and evaluate steps that need reinventing.

Technique #3: The Communications Loop

It’s easy for a shop manager or owner to issue orders via one-way communication. However, increasing productivity and efficiency involves a continuous communications cycle. This approach collects and implements improvement suggestions from staff and then circles back to acknowledge these contributions. Employees will feel recognized and engaged as a result.