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The Digital Shop Talk Radio

Episode Description

Should production management in my shop be owned by the whole team or one person?
Today’s episode of DSTR will feature a debate between three shop owners with strong opinions about how production and task management should be handled in the shop.

What we covered:

-The pros & cons of a Production Manager vs. Pool Management
-Which method makes sense for your shop?
-Groundbreaking tools that will make production management easier, no matter which process you choose
– Compensating your team, no matter which way you choose

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Tom Dorsey (00:00:04):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey. We’ve got a great show for you today. Today we’re going to be talking production management, and so I know a lot of you tuning in. We got a full house, get into a quiet place, go to your safe space, have a sharp pencil, get a notepad because you’re going to want to take notes because what do we have? We’re going to be talking about, there’s kind of two options that you have there. A pool of tasks that you kind of come out and hang a bag or a clipboard and you kind of take the next one in order and dispatch work that way. Or you’ve get a specific task manager, somebody whose role it is in your shop to make those dispatch calls and manage the production. And so as always, right on time, by the way, I want to introduce first my expert panel of experts, Bill Connor and the amazingly prompt Uwe Kleinschmidt. Welcome gentlemen. Good day to everybody. Good morning and we’ve got a great panel for you today. Welcome back, Adam Bendzick from Pro Service Automotive, John Long from Schertz Auto Service and guy we haven’t seen in a little while, but really excited to have him on Fred Gestwicki Jr. from Fix-It With Fred, Canton, Ohio. Thank you gentlemen for coming on.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:01:28):
Thanks for having us, Tom.
Tom Dorsey (00:01:30):
Absolutely. Thank you again. Yep. And I, I’m loving the loving the, we’re so pro. Now at this, we’ve got custom backgrounds being dropped in on the fly. We’re going to make advising great again. We’ve got team Adam and team John Long, and then we’ve got Fred Gestwicki Jr. with a different perspective, but one that’s no less subordinate to the other. And that’s exactly what we’re going to be talking about today is what works best for you, what works best for them. They’re going to let you know the good, the bad and the ugly and you can make those decisions. And so key takeaways that we want to get from you for you today are open your mind to a different maybe concept or think about a different process that may benefit you and then ask those questions and get that information. So don’t be shy, make sure that you’re chatting in your questions.
Use that q and a button, whatever you feel most comfortable doing, and we’ll get that stuff answered, live on the air and give you an idea of what may work best for your operation. So long story short, let’s get right into it because time is of the essence because I know this is going to be a pretty involved conversation. So let’s just start at the basics. Why a production manager? Why a task of pools, or excuse me, a pool of tasks and how did you make those determinations individually in your shops, which was the right fit? And I’m going to go ahead and start with John because John’s handsome persona is the one I’m seeing on my screen right now. And we’ve talked to John about this, but John, if you could give folks an update, the rundown on how you got into the position that you’re in now.
John Long (00:03:33):
For us went back to 20 17, 20 18, I was trying to solve a problem. We had five great techs at that time, but they were always standing around and waiting on my advisors for something to do and I’m like, what is going on? Do we have a car count problem? Why are my techs Aren are not productive? And what it boiled down to is what I found is they were just waiting on the advisors too much. The advisors had just too much to do and they couldn’t dispatch the word back to them and get the estimates back to the techs quick enough. So I went out to solve that problem and then through some different trials and I finally came up, or actually I didn’t come up with it, it’s not a new term, but just doing a production director or an estimator for taking away certain tasks from those advisors, giving it to one person to do just so those advisors have more time to build the relationships with the customers that they need and go from there. And then I’ve just got one person that’s dedicated to creating estimates and their focus is the techs and keeping those techs busy.
Tom Dorsey (00:04:40):
Adam, and I know that you are running a similar operation, some nuance in there maybe modeled off of what John’s doing because you guys are like that. And so I mean is that similar to the reason that you went that route? And let me ask you this. What did you expect to have happen? What happened and maybe what are some of the unexpected results of that and things that folks might want to look out or prepare for or maybe avoid?
Adam Bendzick (00:05:20):
Yeah, so there’s a big pros and cons list, so to speak, of one versus the other not. But for us it started with John and then also Christopher conversation that we had amongst Facebook and everything, talking about how they had their setup for sure. This has helped us a ton. We first went to it back in 2019, like February, 2019. We gave it a six month trial. We actually went back to separate advisors for six months and now we’re back to service advisor, production manager role. The team feels like that’s the best way to go about it. It seems like they’re communicating and the teamwork is great within it and it would be hard to switch back at this point. So we’re kind of full steam ahead with now this process and then trying to make that process better. Not always perfect, neither it’s going to be perfect, but it’s just a matter of weighing out which one’s more beneficial, which one do you have more hiccups within? And then are those hiccups fixable? So we’re trying to perfect this process now at this point.
Tom Dorsey (00:06:22):
So now do you think that it depends on the volume in your shop? In other words, did you adopt this process change because now you got to a point where volume and the number, sheer number of tasks made it almost a necessity?
Adam Bendzick (00:06:39):
Absolutely, yeah. And it’s a lot of it dictated by car count and how many customers you’re going to be talking to. Yes, techs as well. And John and I have talked back and forth about the tech count helps dictate when to make the switch to, but for us, we were looking at our old location, we had two and a half to three techs, now we have four techs here and it’s so much for an advisor to put on their plate to try to work with three techs or four techs or whatever. So you have to separate the roles and then you have to have two advisors. But how do you make those two advisors work? And what we felt like when we switched over was the balance of the workload from day to day is one advisor would have a technician with one vehicle on their schedule, long timing bell time and chain, something like that type of job.
And one technician, one vehicle, another technician with maybe two vehicles and he’d have three things on his plate for the day. Well then the other service advisor would have his two techs and they would have maybe five vehicles a piece because waiting for work to sell and diagnose and so on and so forth. So one would be completely overwhelmed with how much they’re trying to do and the other one didn’t have very much, but they both would have the need or want to, if a customer comes up, I want to be at the service counter to help that person. If the phone rings, they would have that distraction. They didn’t look at each other and say, Hey, I’m not going to pick up a phone today because I got a big work schedule and you got nothing. It just kind of molded into let’s look at something different. And talking with John and then Christopher, like I said, opened up our eyes to a different way of doing it and it’s been working for us really well.
Tom Dorsey (00:08:19):
Yeah, no, that’s fantastic. And what I want to do is, what I’d like to do is I want to talk to Fred kind of about because, and the reason we got Fred on is because I mean pool task management, hanging bags, it’s been around since car’s been around really. It’s funny if you google it and you look at an old automotive repair shop from the twenties, it looks exactly like it is today. Guys got a clipboard except actually they dressed up kind like the milk delivery guy. We’re all white overalls and stuff and some of their lifts are a little shady, but other than that you could modernize the thing, put it in color and it looked just like a shot today. But anyway, but Fred’s really working and putting in the thought to really kind of take it to the next level and make it, I think a complete all the way to the compensation levels team and collaborative effort. And so Fred, if you could kind of give us the rundown buddy. How did you get to this point? What gave you the epiphany? How are you looking to structure this and what are the benefits for your operation that you’re experiencing through this work you’re doing?
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:09:31):
Tom, like anyone, when we started, we went to the default 1952 model, overly managed, micromanaged. A lot of people’s instincts when you start a shop is you have to touch everything because you made it and no one can do it as good as you because you made it. So I had that mindset for several years and there was a day the team had a vehicle in and we have a rule if the vehicle is in the shop, it’s getting a full inspection, they can say, I don’t care all they want, we believe in the inspection not only for the value it produces for the shops they owe, but you owe it to the customer for them to see the vehicle from the sky view. So before they invest their money in it, they know everything. So they had a vehicle in, we don’t service diesels or heavy duty trucks.
We do half ton, but when you get into three quarter and one ton, sometimes it gets a little problematic. So what we had was a vehicle that they couldn’t pick up for whatever reason, I want to say it was a length issue. They couldn’t lift the vehicle up and they had already started changing the oil or something to where they couldn’t do an inspection, they had a problem and they couldn’t get ahold of me. So instead of waiting, they came up with a solution and the solution they came up with actually was better than what I would’ve come up with. And the epiphany I had is the smartest person in the entire world isn’t as smart as the smartest person in the entire world with a helper. No matter who you take, if you add a second or third or fifth or 10th brain, you will get a better output.
And that actually changed the belief system for me where generally speaking, when a decision needs to be made, whether it’s me or an advisor or tech, a lot of times you want to always involve someone else in that decision making process. So that’s what created the task pool. I found when that happened, instead of me going, Hey, I would’ve done this and looked like a dummy, it wouldn’t have been as good as what they did. I was like, wait a minute, if I can involve more than one brain in decisions that are impactful, I’ll always get a better result. And that’s where task pool came from. The future at Fix for Fred will be where it’s a dispatch pool, not like at a shop where that intermittent no start sits in the back and no one dodges it where you pick the next one that you have the skillset for that was most recent car brought in, or I’m sorry, the oldest car brought in where it’s based off of time.
So with us, the way it works, instead of having a production manager that touches every vehicle that comes through, our belief is that that it causes a funnel, all the work comes in, goes to one person, then comes back out and goes to everyone. We have the workflow up when there’s a task outstanding, you assign the task to yourself, you grab it. If you’re already doing a task and you can’t get to it, there’s no sense in someone assigning it to you and there’s no sense in assigning it to yourself. So it’s the next person available all hands on deck. As soon as you’re done with the task, you look for the next one. And that matches our advisors, that matches our management style, that matches our decision making process. And soon we’ll match how our dispatch works as we gain one more tech and then the pay will go along with that also. Tom, does that answer most of where we get developed that?
Tom Dorsey (00:12:48):
Yeah, it does it. I’m sure we will have some input and some questions for you. I think the first one that I’d like to start off with is what does the implementation of that look like? Is it that, so how do you make sure that you got to rely on your guys a lot, that they’re going to follow the process and they’re going to double check each other and they’re going to make sure that nothing’s falling through those cracks. And in that additional I guess responsibility, does that impact their production levels
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:13:18):
The way that you would, how do I say this? It doesn’t necessarily affect production, but if you choose to do this, like you said, the staff’s important. So we have in our minds that we’re going to operate this way when we interview, when we hire. So we want to pick people that think that team oriented way. They think that depended that accountability where they have a high accountability where once you’ve taken on that task, that task is yours. And if you fail at it, yes, we all failed, you failed, but the whole team failed. So we staff our shop with people that are very team-based, people that are approachable, people that have accountability, people that are honest so that they’re not going well, I didn’t do that. So that’s where the beginning of it is, Tom. You got to pick the right people, the right people that will follow that business model. And if I switched business models, there’d be a huge set of discussions to go along with that because buy-in is the most important thing and set up for it. Here’s what I want to do guys, what do you think? And then just shut up for five minutes and listen to what they have to say because you’re probably going to get some ideas you didn’t have. So that was very much a collaborative effort to form the way that we manage that task workflow.
Tom Dorsey (00:14:28):
Yeah, and I know Russ Crosby’s in the house, the king of culture, and I bet you he’s over there nodding his head right now. And so there you have it folks. It really starts at tilling the soil and fertilizing and burying the seed and watering it and loving it. You got to probably start at some of the basics if you’re looking to adopt that type of a process. It starts at hiring, it starts at shop culture, it starts at accountability and setting clear expectations. What I’d like to do if we could, because we’re going to show you you folks, we’re going to give you a demo. We’re going to have John and Adam show you how they manage production manager and we’re going to have Fred show you how he manages his task pool. But what I’d like to do is bring in Bill and Uwe and talk a little bit gentlemen if you could about how we have developed task management tools and functionality that benefit and actually both of these styles and models and maybe a little taste of what we’re looking at or what we’re working on to benefit both of those as well.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:15:48):
Yeah, happy to chime in. So I would like to go really back a little bit more that working in the shop as an interrupt driven business and before digital came along, this was all kind of person to person communication. The boss yelling at somebody, the tech needing something, the service advisor needing something, it was pager or yelling or something like that. Customer calls, put the posted up or have a spreadsheet. I mean there was no management tool possible other than your brain and yelling to simplify as more and more happens digitally, customers don’t call, they send a text or then an email with the introduction of giving the tech a tablet. So they’re not only seeing the work, they also can communicate. What happened was that we can now do this digitally and if we are smart and using things like vehicle alerts where we repetitive things on, not needed to be typed out there just a button, all of a sudden there was the opportunity to put alerts into tasks. I’m done with inspection now review, put notes on it and send it. That is how this all started.
And then in talking to John and Adam and the Tobo group, we basically turned that into the production manager based model. One person runs the show because it’s highly specialized, takes work away from the service advisor and runs the show. So then I had a conversation with Fred and you heard him talking about it and that’s a more natural way of how it worked before the digital world. Right now we are making the pool stuff digital because it was already before kind of a pool, it was just a yelling pool if you want to call it this way, in some places, in some places of course.
And now we make that pool a task pool and it was really an epiphany for me also after talking with Fred, and it’s not just Fred, Doug bracket and a few other shops, Tom Richardson and so on and so forth. Through the conversation with the shop owners, we just allow you now to say, I’m going to stay in the pool, in the pool world, just digitize it. Or I’m going to the step and introduce a production manager. And Fred, I hope you can confirm that that was a pretty helpful discussion and then we implemented it in less than a week.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:19:15):
The second that came on half of the frustration trying to operate in John and Adam’s platform, we’ll say where there’s a production manager in a shop that doesn’t manage in that method caused a lot of tasks to be lost. It caused a lot of balls to be dropped the day that the new task pool created. Everything was good. And I’m sure for John and Adam, it would’ve been the opposite where if they tried the task pool, things would get dropped like crazy. So finding the system that fits your culture and your workflow was very key to the success,
Adam Bendzick (00:19:51):
Not necessarily that they would be lost more so that there’s just so many tasks. So the dividing up a responsibilities was why we made the switch so that you could focus on 20 different things rather than 40 different things and perfect those 20 things and have a dedicated person doing those 20 things and the techs know exactly who to talk to and there’s not shifting back and forth. Can we pull up an illustration real quick? Would that be kind of fun?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:20:24):
John Long (00:20:25):
Yeah. What Adam is pulling up is pretty much the exact reason why I went to this model and I know it’s pretty similar to why Adam went to the model too.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:20:41):
What are you doing in that picture, Adam? So
Adam Bendzick (00:20:43):
This is 7:00 AM this is an advisor, a little phone, computer, screen at service counter,
Tom Dorsey (00:20:50):
High quality stuff
Adam Bendzick (00:20:51):
Buddy. High quality stuff. Absolutely.
Tom Dorsey (00:20:54):
This might exceed the video that you produced.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:20:57):
I didn’t know you had Photoshop Adam. That’s
Adam Bendzick (00:21:00):
Cool. This is gold standard stuff right here. If you want me to stop so you can take screenshots, that’s totally fine. Otherwise we can send the PDF as well. But at 7 0 1 you’re still at the service counter. Big smile on your face, dude. Where’s my car technician? Little scruffy. He is moderately happy but unimpressed at 7 0 1. 7 0 2. Mrs. Jones comes in, I’m sorry I’m late. Has her two little kids still at the service counter smile turns into somewhat of a grin. Technician’s kind of angry at this point. 7 0 3 comes in now, other technicians there now they’re all pissed off. She’s having her kids hit hitch punch, stop hitting each other, the phone’s ringing and then your parts vendor comes in and I said I need to check. That’s A COD. All your service advisors hearing is tech alert. I need my car. That invoice is COD. Why are sales numbers down? Edit the inspection, send it, build the estimate. Is my card on? I need a loaner. My check engine light wasn’t on before 7 0 4 2 week notice comes in, I’m done. I’m just too frustrated. 7 0 5 Bill Connor’s wondering why his GPS down there just aren’t any good advisors out there anymore.
So that’s essentially all of these things and more that’s five minutes buddy is why we stopped doing it and that is every single day. So kind of going back to this one, if you can draw a line in the sand right here and take away this cluster of stuff and give it to somebody else so that this, sorry, this smile that started off at seven o’clock stays there for that customer that makes their customer experience more enjoyable. They leave a better review. You’re not irritated because she’s dealing with their kids and you’re waiting on her while these people are waiting on them and all that back and forth. This attention is right at this customer experience. That’s where the Google reviews are left for you because your attention span was there. Sometimes our production manager will come in and help out grab that phone ringing or whatever it might be so that person’s attention can be solely based on the customer and I don’t know how you could possibly have a better experience than that when their attention is a hundred percent on them.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:23:27):
I have a question and it’s actually a serious question, Adam, about your illustration. This solution to this is to bring a second person into the picture to do these other tasks, correct?
Adam Bendzick (00:23:40):
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:23:41):
So if you were to redraw these pictures and have two advisors where the other advisor can grab the COD and the text because the task presented itself as needing done, would that solve this problem in a different method?
Adam Bendzick (00:23:57):
I don’t think so because that phone ring ring can be that next customer that’s calling about that vehicle. So you still have these people to deal with for that one phone call and this phone call might be picked up and hopefully not put on hold for too long or it might be a callback and this and that. But nonetheless there is just so many things for us to manage as advisors every single day. And this is just a handful of ’em. When you think about AV AutoVitals as great as it is, there are a lot of steps within AutoVitals that aren’t even detailed within your yes, a tech alert or whatever it might be. But there’s a lot of additional steps there and it’s great that we have those steps and that’s where that task pool where I feel like we don’t lose the tasks, we have a way of keeping track of ’em through our digital software that we’ve been provided.
So we’re not going to lose the tasks. It’s just a lot to try to manage. I mean when you think about your shop management system estimate authorization and clicking on this and that, making sure remembering to order the part because you just got that phone ringing or you got that customer stopping or you need that loaner car for that person. There’s just so many steps to manage that if you can divide that, there’s less chance of error because there’s less response, there isn’t less responsibility from a general day standpoint, but there’s less individual pieces to manage
Tom Dorsey (00:25:25):
And that’s a big part of it too. And the automation, I mean it’s going to work for both models really, but that’s where AutoVitals comes in and it’s like we’re building canned tasks just like your canned jobs and your point of sale. We build canned tasks and automations that strip away some of those bubbles and then that allows the service advisor to lighten up and focus better, keep that smile on a little longer.
Bill Connor (00:25:48):
A lot of what’s going to make your decision as far as which way to go is going to be skill sets of your employees, personalities of that employee and also the availability of employees. So to me it’s a lot easier to go ahead and find a friendly person to train as a service advisor than it is to go ahead and find a service advisor that can estimate be friendly, stay focused and so on all in one package. So there’s a lot of things that are going to go into this particular process. Also does a service writer has the personality that they can go and estimate profitably without going and taking their emotions into the fold. So there’s a lot of things to go non wrap here and you guys can probably all speak about the pluses minus of each one.
John Long (00:26:33):
Yeah Bill, you just took the words right out of my mouth about what we’re going to say is the biggest thing also for us is you’ve got that one person that the production director, estimator parts guy, whatever, he’s the one that’s estimating that ticket. There is no emotion for him pricing anything out. Once the service advisors, they’re full of emotion, they’re the emotional people. So they’re going to see something, oh that’s a little bit too high. Lemme give ’em a discount here. Lemme give him a discount there. And next thing you know you’re GPS through the toilet because you’re giving away stuff
Adam Bendzick (00:27:03):
And you want ’em to do that right though John, you want ’em to be emotional because then that’s the empathy part of it and you don’t want to be empathy giving stuff away.
John Long (00:27:10):
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:27:13):
I’m sorry John, I didn’t mean to interrupt that. Empathy is for the customer’s situation that they put themselves in to buy the vehicle they have and drive it in the conditions they drove it to the miles that they have currently and that’s how in our task pool we can separate the estimator. The other day we made an estimate for $12,000 for a car and I don’t do euro so that’s ridiculous. I didn’t choose to drive a car, hit a pole a little bit, knock the cool out and go until it quits. I didn’t choose that. So the way we cause that separation, they have empathy for their situation. This is terrible that your car is broken and needs all this extensive work, but in their head I’ve trained them, you didn’t buy that car, you don’t drive that car, you didn’t break it, you didn’t choose for it to cost so much to buy used engine for a Ford focused or whatever it was. So that’s how we separated that emotional connection. Just to give everyone the big view, it doesn’t mean if you task pool that your bleeding heart service advisors are going to discount everything if they’re set up correctly. And from my side
Tom Dorsey (00:28:13):
And real quick, we got some questions in the chat if we can just give a little summary, a summation of what is a task pool, right?
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:28:24):
John and Adam actually have task pools that hit their production manager and the production manager hands them out, right guys, they go to the production manager, here’s the task pool, here’s what needs done, this is the stuff that needs done right now and they hand the tasks out. So to give a definition, a task pool is a set of incompleted tasks in a shop. That’s what it is. It’s just a group of stuff that’s not done preparing an inspection, ordering apart, finalizing a work order, contacting the customer, all that 50 things that Adam had on his drawing that the advisor’s got going through his head. That same task pool exists in every shop.
Tom Dorsey (00:29:02):
So let me give you an analogy real quick about a task pool, right? I like soup. It’s called out bone goss, right? It’s meatball soup and if you just reach into that with the ladle and you scoop out a bowl, sometimes you don’t get meatballs and that’s kind of how that task pool works. You just dip the ladle in and you pull out what you got a production manager’s going to kind of divvy up those meatballs and make sure everybody gets a little bit of meatball in their bowl. And that’s kind of how I visualize the difference between kind of a production manager and a task manager, or excuse me, a task pool is a lot of times you dip that lale in and well you pour out what you got. And I think that part of one of the challenges is a lot of times if I’m sitting there, especially if I’m a little slow and I’m going through and reading what’s coming up, well then I’m just going to take this one because like Adam said, that check engine light, no start intermittent light deal I want to avoid. So I hope that helps for the folks that we’re asking questions. And then one real quick, Tony Berg, a little critique on your presentation, Adam, she said why aren’t they wearing masks?
Adam Bendzick (00:30:15):
Tom Dorsey (00:30:17):
I’m ready. I’m compliant.
Adam Bendzick (00:30:20):
We’re talking about on the illustration or actually in this here
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:24):
Tom Dorsey (00:30:24):
The illustration.
Adam Bendzick (00:30:25):
That’s what I thought of the illustration. So it was just kind of drawn up quickly with a couple pieces of white paper and a black marker, but I’m certainly no Picasso.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:36):
There we go. Awesome. No, no, I would think that was a Picasso,
Tom Dorsey (00:30:41):
Some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:43):
Tom Dorsey (00:30:44):
How’s that? How’s that for
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:30:47):
Better Tom? Tom, you I prepared a little summary of pros and cons. Want to do this now because it has been touched on a while or let’s just show us how it works.
Tom Dorsey (00:31:02):
Yeah, do you want to take a look at Under the hood and then we’ll go through pros and cons right after that? Yeah,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:31:07):
Tom Dorsey (00:31:08):
Awesome. Alright, well let’s kick it off. Who wants to start? Who wants to show me production manager
Adam Bendzick (00:31:17):
Before on the slideshow here?
Tom Dorsey (00:31:20):
Yeah. Hey Uwe, if you want to go through the infogram and set it up, what we’re going to see in the demo and the differences to look for between the two demonstrations we see.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:31:32):
So hug is basic. What I believe the big differences are between the two task pool versus task manager. And so the criteria for the selection is your staff profile and I think Fred made it very clear and we are talking service advisor, non-tech jobs here you have a close to equal skill set in the same job. The service advisors need to be very close in their skillset. There are team results oriented in thinking and if we have time, Fred might share with us how he even goes to a pay regimen based on this. It normally works really well for a smaller team size up to two service advisors and from a process perspective, the service advisor on the work order is not fully responsible for the work order, right? Right. Yep. Correct me if I’m wrong, right? Agree
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:32:40):
Completely. It doesn’t matter who’s on the work order,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:43):
It doesn’t matter who’s on the work order. There’s
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:32:44):
At least two people able to process that work order’s estimate
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:48):
And all tasks about any work order going to one pool and as a scrap the task as they’re all made aware of it, the is it’s an easy way of managing load with all hands on deck. If you are in that team oriented mode, the challenges I see is there’s a risk of cherry picking. Bigger teams is pretty hard to manage the bigger they become and then when the queue is overloaded, it’s hard to determine the root cause, why that is because everybody’s grabbing, you cannot really drill this down to individual people and so it’s always a team effort to determine the root cause. So that’s what I think on the task pool side, the profile and the advantages and challenges are on the task manager side, you can have a diverse skill possible. It’s a very specific job description, works for big team sizes and you have one task production manager that goes back to what we talked about that service advisors or emotional people.
Estimates don’t need to be, they have to be meticulous from a process profile. The service advisor is responsible for the work order by default and the production manager gets assigned all tasks and then assigns based on load. He knows exactly and can see that visually and Bill’s going to show that how what service advisor should do what and the advantages are clearly defined ownership, which can be measured per staff member and as we talked about, it’s easier to hire a specialist for managing and another one for the service advisor work, the challenges are the production manager become the bottleneck and then you have to do some kind of half pool thinking to get out of it. Is there anything I missed guys or do you think that’s a good summary?
Adam Bendzick (00:35:06):
Yeah, that’s a good summary for sure. I mean there’s a lot more pros and cons to it so to speak, but it’s a great overview of it without a doubt. The bottleneck is a great point is that you have this quarterback that’s handling kind of not everything because it’s not everything. Every column of progression through the TVP has its own individual assignments that keeps track of the progress of it. But yeah, I would say that if anything slows down, it’s probably the production manager that would slow it down in our shop. John May not have that and the reason that he may not have that is he has an additional service advisors that are there to help with the customer interaction a bit more. Whereas I only have one service advisor and I only have one production manager. So sometimes Nick is pulled out of the production manager role to help with the customer side of things and it would probably be helpful for our shop to have that extra person there. We didn’t add an extra person, we added a office director for impressions type person upfront and then that’s helped take Nick’s level of responsibility because she’s able to do some of that loaner car stuff, scheduling appointments even too. We’ve given her that responsibility. So I’d say the bottleneck has been reduced solely off of adding her into that position.
John Long (00:36:31):
Interesting. You got to take a case by case basis. I mean it just depends on how big your shop size is for us. I mean we have seven techs, three service advisors and then I’ve got the production person as well as a parts guy and that also helps write estimates. So the bottleneck for us can be the production side, writing those estimates, but I’ve got two people doing that in that essence. So I mean they kind of split that job up and they’re doing a great job of it, so there really isn’t a bottleneck there anymore. One person that’s kind of tough with seven techs, so once you get to a certain size, you might need to add additional personnel just to try and help alleviate that bottleneck at that production side.
Adam Bendzick (00:37:15):
That could almost be a hybrid though too. That can be a hybrid of all of our shops probably have people that are pretty good at selling but maybe not the best salesman on the team. And then we have this person that’s pretty good at estimating but not the best estimator. So for me, if I’m running a basketball team and I can put the ball in the hands of the best scorer every single time, why would you ever pass to anybody else? Well, I know you have to have a team and everything, so there’s a shared level of responsibility, but if you could literally score the most points by putting in that person’s hands every single time and they’re going one-on-one over and over and over, would you ever sub to your bench warming eighth person on the bench kind of thing and say, Hey, go try and score as many baskets as our star player did in a one-on-one type of competition That’s very similar to service advising.
When you have all of us have even Fred, I’m very much if I was thinking about myself as a shop owner, I’m like that nope. I want to build the estimate, I want to sell it, I want to do everything because that’s us having that control over what our shop does. But when it comes down to it, I can definitely tell you with our team currently is one of our guys likes to sell more and one of our guys likes to have more control over the shop operations and why would I have forced to do one or the other both ways when they enjoy doing those separate things. It goes back to episode 10 when I mentioned my friend that worked at Wells Fargo about how they worked as a team. This all spins back to that and that hit home for me and that was just a friend of mine telling me about that.
Bill Connor (00:38:55):
Yeah, that’s a great and a smart estimator’s going to know what to delegate and when also, so if he gets an inspection come in that’s got an oil change and a tire rotation, a wheel balance and alignment on it, he’s going to sign that back to the service rider and let them wrap that up while he goes ahead and intends to the big hairy ones that they got to go in and hunt for parts and things like that. So that’s why the production manager has that flexibility to delegate as the need arises.
Adam Bendzick (00:39:22):
Yep, for sure. We actually just did a very similar to Bill’s point is our bottleneck, if anything was our waiting oil change appointments and I’m like why are we having that go through production manager then to the service advisor and it slow us down the process and that did create a bottleneck. So now the last probably two to three weeks we’ve been having our service advisor take all the waiting oil change appointments, straight up air filters, cabinet or filters, degres, this and that, that are coming from those inspections that thankful to AutoVitals. It comes over and it’s estimated right off the bat anyway. So why do I need to have my highly skilled technical person production manager build that estimate when the other service advisor is plenty capable of doing so and it actually makes it smoother and less stressful for both of them.
So we’ve been trying that for the last two or three weeks. So there’s going to be, whether you go with the old sales system of separate service advisors or now a production manager, there’s going to be certain things that you find in doing it that are going to work better for your shop. It’s not just option A or option B. You might have a hybrid in between there and Fred is probably actually more of a hybrid than what he’s talking about because when we had the video before or we had a webinar before this just amongst the panelists and when he talked about it, I’m like, gosh, he’s so close to actually having a production manager set up because he has two service advisors that are kind of seeing almost every single vehicle that’s in the shop, which is great and that’s a benefit of having the setup that we do is that they know everything that’s going on with every vehicle. That was going to be a point of ours to say not against Fred because you can still choose whatever you want, but a benefit to seeing that is like that the entire front staff knows everything about every vehicle, which it sounds like Fred Shop does actually do a pretty good job of that.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:41:13):
Well then you never have where a customer calls, oh yeah, I got that report, I’m calling in, hang on, let me get so-and-so so-and-so’s on the phone, they’re just on the phone with somebody else and they’re going to be on the phone for seven minutes. So now you get to choose, do I want to sell to this customer that I’ve never talked to and I know nothing about their car, should I learn it and sell it or should they wait seven minutes or should I say, you know what customer, you’re so important, I’m going to tell you, I’m going to call you back to reiterate what you said, Adam. At our shop, when we have a presentation ready, we actually practice it with somebody else. So whether it’s one of my two advisors or myself, you practice it with somebody else and practicing that only makes you be a better advisor because all sports people practice.
It also makes sure there’s a second person in the shop that’s familiar with that car, with its needs, with the inspection, with the estimates, we cross proof each other’s estimates. We’ve had too many mistakes in estimates too many times that an estimate was wrong. Someone can spend 30 seconds looking over your estimate to make sure it’s okay before you send the inspection. So that’s how we create that. I don’t want to make it be a picture where someone’s like God, he’s got six advisors all reading every single thing. No, how I vision this and I’ve never been as large shops as John and Adam are, but if it gets to where I can have four attack or at techs and four advisors, then you would have a friend that helps you with each one when you’re ready to practice, you practice to somebody. And now there’s two people that know that car, so it would still work, but it would work as a pool. But there’s different pools that develop along the process like your production manager has pools of information and pools of he hands out. Ours are just self-regulated and self-managed. Does that go along with what you’re saying, Adam?
Adam Bendzick (00:42:53):
Yeah, absolutely. For sure. Yeah, that’s a definite quality control thing without a doubt. The consistency and estimates it is leading into pro of having that production manager is that you have a certain way of looking up your all data or your Mitchell or your whatever times and knowing that you are always looking up like, yes, timing, change, job and okay, what’s the overlap of doing this with that or this with that. Not always these programs have overlapping jobs. There just has to be somebody that’s maybe a former tech that knows that, yeah, they can go back and ask the technician themself, but then that’s another thing that slows things down. So Nick, our production manager, he’s a master level certified technician, one of the best I’ve ever come across and I’d love to have him in the pack, but he’s so great at doing production management and making sure that our estimates are consistent and accurate and we’re not losing a half hour here, a half hour there or getting the wrong parts and then slowing our text down that assignment of that production manager and that consistency is huge for us.
Tom Dorsey (00:44:01):
Yeah, I mean you get good at flipping pancakes if your job is to flip pancakes.
John Long (00:44:04):
Yeah, I mean that’s the same thing with us. I mean my production director, Edgar, he was a master technician as well, and then I’ve got a parts guy, Randy, who spent 20 some plus years in the parts department in dealerships. So they both know their job inside and out.
Adam Bendzick (00:44:20):
Can they sell a job
John Long (00:44:22):
Adam Bendzick (00:44:22):
Can they sell?
John Long (00:44:24):
I would say Edgar can definitely sell 100%.
Adam Bendzick (00:44:27):
Would he be your best salesman?
John Long (00:44:29):
He probably wouldn’t be the best salesman. No. And that’s why he’s doing the production. He’s doing a great job at production. So if
Tom Dorsey (00:44:34):
You could, because we’ve got a couple questions in here, if we could just kind of clarify that who sells to the customer? Is it the service
John Long (00:44:42):
The advisor sell? Yeah, the advisor sell. And a little story on that. When we went to the system back in March of 2018 or April, 2018, my advisors were doing everything just like what Fred did. I had two supermen of advisors up front in the office and they were great. They did not want me to take away the estimating portion of it, they wanted the full control. Once I took that away, I said, I convinced them to give me one month, give me one month of this and then we’ll reevaluate what happens after two days. My best service advisor, the best service advisor I’ve probably ever had came to me and says, you cannot pay me enough to go back to writing estimates. You could not do it. He goes, I now finally have the time to do what I really need to do and do what I love and that’s spending time with our customers and it shows.
Tom Dorsey (00:45:34):
Wow. Yeah. Yep. So let me ask you this too. Is there a specific size of shop that should be considering a production manager?
John Long (00:45:51):
Adam and I were kind of talking about this beforehand. I’ll let him answer with that. I know he’s right at the cusp at it.
Adam Bendzick (00:45:58):
So yeah, John and I were talking before traditional service advisor role two to maybe three techs. You get in that fourth and it’s just overwhelming. Probably at that third technician level you should be thinking about it because you probably should be thinking about having a second service advisor. So if you’re thinking about having a second service advisor, that’s a good opportunity to potentially look at of doing the split role of the service advisor. Production manager at that point too was thinking about car count. The old traditional deal for me was always a TI hour car a day. So if you split the roles, you can almost plan on a half hour car a day. So if you get in that anything above eight or nine cars, you’re probably going to need a second service advisor for sure. At that point then either you get the second service advisor or you split it and that’s going to be a decision that you’re going to have to make off your shop.
All we’re trying to do is give you feedback on why it works for us and I was as resistant to as anybody and making the switch just from my own personal thought of how I like to do things and kind of control freak and all those things, and I’m glad I made the switch mainly because the feedback from the staff, they’re all happy. Just like John is saying, they’re all happy that they made the switch. Nick has actually told me plenty of times, he’s like, if John’s on the phone, I go up in Service counter, I help that person. I grab a phone call, whatever it might be, which is kind of out of his responsibility because seen the benefit for our shop and the additional sales that have been turned by John. Just having a relaxed mood, not feeling like you got to grab that next phone call and all those things. I mean it’s just a better experience for the customer.
Tom Dorsey (00:47:44):
So now devil’s advocate question, what happens when you’ve got these highly specialized roles? What happens when they’re out? They get sick, they
John Long (00:47:52):
Quit. We cross. Yeah, we cross train. I’ve got the one person that said that he would never do it again. I couldn’t pay him enough. He’s helped and he’s filled in and he has done that for us and he can do the job. He’s an sa. I’ve got another service advisor that I’m taking to our second location that she’s done both. So I mean I’ve got people that are cross-trained in those positions. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (00:48:14):
It’s the hit by the bus.
John Long (00:48:15):
Exactly that. That’s my rule. If somebody goes out and gets hit by the bus at lunch, who’s going to step in
Adam Bendzick (00:48:23):
And what if we expressed so much of teamwork, unity, all those things. You promote this, if we all want to promote this culture of having each other’s back and helping each other out, what better than to create an environment where they aren’t? Teamwork isn’t optional. This type of setup, it’s required. So you have to have people that are interested in teamwork and building with each other and everything. Otherwise it’s not going to work. And if it doesn’t work, do you want that person then involved with you? If they are all about themself, I would’ve fired myself a long time ago, but I’ve evolved into saying, okay, our team likes this structure. I’m going to do my best job of, even though I as a service advisor want to handle it from start to finish, I’m going to try to do my best job of filling in that role if one of the guys is out. So at our shop, if there’s a sick day and this and that, rather than maybe overwhelming the other person, I just step into that role and fill in. Like Nick was on vacation last week, John, he’s totally capable, I’m sure of filling in if he didn’t have anybody because that’s what he did before. So having another body there is very helpful. That can do both.
John Long (00:49:42):
Yeah, and it’s funny about that. I just had a meeting with both my staffs, what was it last week or the week before, and said, okay, from here on out, nobody’s replacement. You guys need a train replacement, you guys need a cross-train. I am. Nobody’s replacement anymore on that with going to two locations. It is just not going to be possible. And we’re doing even more cross-training now. The past two days I’ve had actually one of our shop foreman that’s going into our second location, he’s been sitting with Edgar, our production director for the past two days. So the more people that you can have to fill in case someone is sick or out always helps, but you still want to have your best people doing what they do best.
Adam Bendzick (00:50:26):
I also want
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:50:26):
To add a feature implementation you’re going to see in the next release. So every production manager is going to have a proxy, so you define who’s the main guy and who is the proxy, and then if the production manager for whatever reason is not online tasks get automatically routed to the proxy if both are not online, which should actually never happen, I hope, because then something is not right with the scheduling. But main point is not to lose tasks, then the banner is going to show a warning sign. No PM online service advisors, you’re on your own. You have to go to pool actually. Right. So this way there’s always responsibility and the bottleneck I was talking about earlier will be drastically minimized for sure. Yeah.
Tom Dorsey (00:51:34):
Can we show folks what we’re talking about?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:51:38):
Yeah, this is Bill I believe. Or do you want us to
Tom Dorsey (00:51:40):
Yeah, I think Bill, you ready buddy?
Bill Connor (00:51:44):
I certainly can be. Let me go ahead and see if I can find out what monitor this is on and I’m guessing that you can see a today’s vehicle page on there. Sure.
So this particular one is set up with the production manager and when I come down over here, this production manager has got certain tasks assigned that he wants to intercept and actually take care of himself. So this list of tasks in here has actually grown actually over a short period of time to go ahead and let this production manager go ahead and decide what things that he needs to do and then they’ll just automatically be routed to them and then when they come over here to the task manager, basically they’re going to get routed to him and he has the ability to go ahead and actually look at the task and decide does he do it or does he go ahead and dispatch it directly to somebody else. Is there anything else that we need to go ahead and cover in this area, Uwe, as far as how it’s laid out or other questions that you’d like to go ahead and cover?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:53):
I think that’s the simplest way to explain it. The other addition I would make is tasks are triggered either by actions from techs. Most of the time when the tech is done with all work, then automatically the review work order or finalized work order, depending on what workflow step there are is being triggered. So tasks are mostly auto-generated based on actions by either motorists or by tax. And then the production manager gets an alert and either does it himself or assigns it to the appropriate people
Tom Dorsey (00:53:35):
And then monitors that to completion. Yeah,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:53:39):
Yeah. See the monitor is the 78th right there. See for the whole shop in build shop, that tells you a little bit about this 78 tasks open Bill, what’s going on?
Bill Connor (00:53:55):
We all went to lunch and we’re all watching digital shop talk radio at the same damn time.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:53:59):
I see.
Bill Connor (00:54:02):
And do you want me to switch over to another shop that’s got the other one set up?
Tom Dorsey (00:54:06):
Bill Connor (00:54:07):
And Fred, I hope it’s okay to go ahead and show your shop because I’m going to do it.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:54:11):
Tom Dorsey (00:54:13):
Yeah. We’ll take a look at the team concept and then what I want to do is towards the outro is let’s talk a little bit about how is structured between these two models and what kind of metrics that we’re looking at to make sure that we’re on target.
Bill Connor (00:54:32):
So this one’s a little bit different. This is the task for the service advisor that wrote the repair order and then this is the pool for the entire shop here. Then we’ve got the different task here, and I’m not going to go ahead and mess with Fred shop here, but basically you can go ahead and click on this and assign it to another person or you can go ahead and actually take a task back and pull it in for yourself.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:54:57):
Right? In this case, just to be precise, right, Becca is a little bit behind with three tasks open and now Corey or whoever is the other service advisor goes now in and says, oh, let me grab the master, or whatever it is. So that’s how simple that is.
Tom Dorsey (00:55:20):
And Fred, can you speak specifically to what we implemented to give you the ability to manage that pool more efficiently through your TVP?
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:55:34):
The problem we were trying to solve Biden when we didn’t have the pool was that if you were looking like, okay, I have all my inspections out, I’m going to go on to job a side work, whatever it is, thank you calls, thank you cards, whatever all the 50 things advisors do, I’m going to go on to something else. Is there anything that I should do first? Hey Corey, what do you need done? Hey Fred, what do you need done? It was go around and ask everybody because, or the second problem we had was when the task manager had to go do something, fill in the blank as to what that could be, talk on the phone for 15 minutes to a customer, fill in the blank, everything coming in just sat there. So because I had trained my people to look for when you have time, look for the next task to do and they could no longer look, they had to constantly go to production manager who was busy and say, oh, he is on the phone.
I’m not going to interrupt him. I don’t know his pin, so I’m not going to log in. I’ll just wait. And it caused a confusion. So what AutoVitals implemented is that you have the notification for your tasks and the shop tasks. So if you finish, when Becca finishes what she’s doing, obviously she’ll take on another task, but when Corey finishes what he’s doing, he can look at her tasks and go, is this something I need to do to help progression? And he can take the task from her. She doesn’t have to give it. The only real difference, my takeaway from this show is the difference at John and Adam’s shop, the task is given and at my shop you take it. That is the huge fundamental difference. And it’s not right or wrong, that’s just the main difference is in our shop, you grab the task and at your shop the task is given to
Tom Dorsey (00:57:16):
You. And I think the critical success factor is that when you take that task, there’s notification to the other stakeholders. They know that something has been managed and I don’t have to worry about it, focus on it. There’s nothing worse than running back. You’re doing this thing, it’s in your head, it’s spinning around. You get, oh, it’s been done. What did I burn? All that energy and effort for speed up, get the guy off the phone and it’s done this way. I see the notification that it’s being managed and now again, I’m back to a customer service and mentality and focus. I can alleviate that pressure and give better customer service and engage more effectively. Fred, if you could talk to us a little bit because you’re looking at taking that team concept all the way and rounding it out. We’re going to be talking a little bit about bonus structure, compensation structure. What are you looking at to do there from a bonus and comp perspective, and I’m sure it’s driven by metrics. How are you using the BCP, the business control panel, the AutoVitals metrics or your point of sale metrics? What metrics are we looking at to enable you to make sure that team’s working and how to compensate them?
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (00:58:26):
Well, the reason I haven’t implemented a team-based pay is I’ve hired two more techs this month and to add two more into your mix and be like, and everybody’s pay affects each other. That’s just terrible. That’s not good. ’em get onboarded first, right? What I’m looking to do is go to similar to a weekly profit sharing pay where everyone wins simultaneously or everyone wins. So as the shop gets bigger, instead of fourex, you have six tags instead of two advisors, you have three advisors. If you have someone that’s really struggling with the car for whatever reason, not only will other people be more apt to help that person because it doesn’t matter if you’re flagging the time or not, it’s producing more output for the business. The other thing is by going to a weekly profit sharing pay, everyone in the building currently has a different focus.
The techs look at their hours, the advisors look at their sales or their gross profit depending how you pay ’em, or hopefully not just their clock hours, they’ve been here 40 hours. However you pay them is what they look at. But as owners, we look at two numbers, gross profit, net profit, those are the ones that matter. The other numbers all affect those two numbers. So if I can get my team to look at the same number, I’m looking at pretty high chance that’s going to go up, especially when that affects their pay. I want to round to where everyone’s staring at that same number. First I had to build the team check, then I got to train the team that’s in process now and then pay the team. So that’s the process I’m going through and I’m very open to, as I grow bigger and bigger, I will definitely be reaching out to John and Adam, Hey, here’s the problem I’m running into. Can my weird job pulling thing still work? Because John’s shop is triple the size of my shop, at least, if not bigger, and he has experience with that and I don’t. So as you change and grow, if you find your system’s not working, reach out to somebody that knows that’s been there. Because I know John, when I call you, I’m like, Hey man, this is kind of struggle for me. I’m sure you wouldn’t have any trouble helping me, brother.
John Long (01:00:33):
Not at all.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (01:00:34):
What is
Adam Bendzick (01:00:35):
Your quantity of shop as far as techs and service advisors currently?
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (01:00:39):
Me or John?
Adam Bendzick (01:00:41):
I’m sorry, Fred.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (01:00:42):
I have a tech B Tech, C tech, GS and two advisors. So I’ve got the perfect set right now. John, what is your shop size?
John Long (01:00:52):
Well, currently it’s kind of a mess because I have two shops in one. We are opening up a second location that was supposed to be open about a month ago that we’re way behind on. So I hired a bunch of people and integrated ’em so they can get ingrained with our culture beforehand. So currently right now out of our one location, I’ve got 12 techs, five service advisors, three production people. So it’s kind of a mess. But ideally what we’re going to go back down to is at one shop we’ll have three advisors, a production person, a parts person, seven techs, and the other shop will be five techs with two advisors and a production person.
Bill Connor (01:01:35):
So one of the things you really got to think about as you journey down this path is cost of front office staff and cost of technicians. So if you go in and keep your service staff and your product advisor or whatever you want to call ’em and a certain percentage of gross profit and get the right button, the right seat, that’s probably the most important thing to think about cost wise, is it feasible and do I have the right person in the right seat that has the skillset to really shine in that job? And as a CEO of your company, that’s your job is to exploit strengths and camouflage weaknesses, and it’s a great way to do it and think about it and control costs at the same time.
Adam Bendzick (01:02:18):
And our shop has, what I say, two ATECs, a B Tech and general service tech. One service Pfizer, one production manager. So although maybe our sales volume is, I don’t know what large is or anything like that, but we’re probably what we do been able to accomplish. I’ve done under a million dollars and had to have three techs to do it and a service advisor to do it another front staff person. So there’s been a lot of growth within changing to this production manager service advisor role without having to increase our quantity or think that to be a $2 million shop, we got to have seven techs and three advisors and a parts person and a loaner car specialist or what have you. We’ve kind of done it with the staff that we already have and maybe including one extra person and then a director of first impressions. Relatively hate to say it’s low cost because everybody’s important, but we aren’t adding on expensive A level tax and the best service advisors to do it. And having this huge sales staff team to wait at your hand and foot, we’ve just delegated responsibility a little bit more efficient.
Bill Connor (01:03:34):
And so gross sales are great for going in and bragging about how your sales are, but gross profit is what we pay our bills with. So I’m more happy with the gross profit all day long than bragging about what my gross sales are.
Adam Bendzick (01:03:46):
John Long (01:03:47):
Agree. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with that number.
Tom Dorsey (01:03:51):
So what are we looking at from a KPI perspective? How do we know we’re on track? How do we know what’s working? And then do you use those KPIs to bonus that production manager? Are they now competing against the service advisor? How did you work out that nuance from a bonus and incentive and compensation perspective?
John Long (01:04:15):
My team is a little bit different from everybody. Our techs are all hourly with profit sharing bonuses based on production. My staff up front, they all have a nice comfortable wage and then they get paid off of gross profit dollars on it. So even the production person, it’s gross profit dollars is what we look at. There are several other KPIs that I look at, but as far as pay, it’s all based off of gross profit dollars.
Tom Dorsey (01:04:44):
Bill Connor (01:04:44):
Vote for John. Just saying vote for John.
Tom Dorsey (01:04:48):
You pull the dollars.
John Long (01:04:49):
Yeah, that’s it. I mean, one of the KPIs that I look at, whether this is working or not is I look at our ARO. What is our ARO? Does the service advisor have time to spend with those customers to get that ARO up? I’d say it is. Was it a couple of cycles ago? We’ve been running about six 50 ARO on our non inspection tickets. I think that’s pretty well pretty good. I’m not going to complain for sure.
Tom Dorsey (01:05:19):
I don’t think anybody would.
Adam Bendzick (01:05:22):
Yeah, absolutely. That
Tom Dorsey (01:05:23):
Similar to what you’re doing.
Adam Bendzick (01:05:25):
Yeah. So interesting call I had last week was from a customer that we initially priced out a ensor and another couple jobs and then Ensor turned into, Hey, let’s check out a coolant leak as well in there. Turned out to be a radiator. And I talked to the ex-husband as it turned out and he was talking to me and he actually told me, he’s like, when I went into this whole deal, I thought you were just another service advisor that working off a commission and that’s why you trying to sell me this job. So why I brought that up is our team up front, the production manager and the service advisor, they do not currently have a compensation plan. I think both of ’em would feel like they’re paid very well for the position even, well, not maybe, probably above industry standard is what I would say for what they’re doing.
Our techs in the back, they are paid off a flat rate. I would actually like to go to a system like John has where, and our techs in the back are actually a hundred percent on board with making a switch to a team structure where we pull their hours and probably their labor dollars produced because they can’t necessarily control the parts, but they can control the labor. We go off of labor dollars produced and make an incentive plan based off of that. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of some form of a 35% of labor, whatever’s higher, either your base pay or that percentage and then that be split amongst the team and then breaking it down by level of responsibility. Obviously if you have a tech that’s doing the hardest jobs and this and that, they may get a higher percentage of that, but allocating some form of an incentive for them. Obviously who produces the work for us, the upfront staff is vital to everything without a doubt. But right now I’ve elected to go with more of a higher guarantee with an expectation rather than having individual gains from individual jobs and then the customer potentially feeling that within a sales presentation.
Bill Connor (01:07:34):
So when you’re looking at the business control panel and we’ve got these production managers, what other type of data should we be measuring for that individual production manager? We’ve got ARO and that’s great, but that’s a team number. What things should we be measuring individually for that production manager?
John Long (01:07:52):
You can look at customer motorist research time. I think that directly impacts it. How well are they editing that inspection that they get from the technicians? And then that goes along with the service advisors as well looking at that, how well are those service advisors going over that inspection with our clients and spending that time with them because if they spend that time with them, they’re going to go over it again with them while they’re on the phone with them and they can, the client can pull it up on their computer or another device and that’s just going to increase that motorist research time.
Tom Dorsey (01:08:25):
Yeah, probably estimate to recommendation rate would be another good
John Long (01:08:27):
One. That is another good one, yes. How much of the recommendations that your tech are actually doing make it around the estimate? It should be a hundred percent.
Adam Bendzick (01:08:37):
Yeah. Yeah. A huge one for us that I look at is selling what they didn’t come in for, but they do need. And that’s all the inspection items. And if somebody comes in for a diagnostic and it leads to a crank shaft position sensor and this and that, I feel like that she sold 99.9% of the time, and the only reason that it isn’t is because the vehicle just isn’t worth it. And we might’ve sold ourself out of that job by the thorough inspection that we’ve done and the vehicle just not being worth it. Where they may have spent the money on the crank shaft position sensor, but basically selling what they didn’t come in for the dirty air filter, pulling the cabin air filter out and seeing what looks to be a mouse that lives in there or a brake job that’s down to two millimeters and those types of things like that percentage I think is huge to track. It’s not a 50 50 thing, it’s not above 50. It’s a 30 to 35% of the additional inspection items that they didn’t come in for selling today. That’s kind of what our shop has had success with and hitting that number.
Tom Dorsey (01:09:41):
Yeah, no, that’s
John Long (01:09:42):
Great. Yeah, I agree. I think that the 50 50 model of you’re going to sell 50% and then the other 50% is going to be decline work. I think that’s long, long ago before digital inspections. Now with digital inspections, you should be recommending so much more than that. Your sales rate on those additional items are probably going to be 60 40 or even 70 30, 70% decline, 30% approved. And honestly, I’ll tell you guys a hundred percent, that’s exactly where my shop is. We have a decline rate of 70%, but we have an ARO of six 50. You figure that out. I mean, am I going to beat up my advisors for a 70% decline rate? Not really on a six 50 ARO.
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (01:10:24):
I agree. I’m right there with both you guys. It’s that 30 to 35% conversion rate. If they’re claiming a 50% conversion rate, they’re not estimating everything. You just make the pile smaller and install the same stuff. So I like how we’re all on the same page with that. That’s definitely where that goes.
Tom Dorsey (01:10:40):
That’s a numbers game.
Adam Bendzick (01:10:44):
And these principles apply to any shop size, whether you go with the old school system service, I don’t want to say old school, it’s not old school, but AutoVitals has changed things where there’s a lot more tasks than there was before. And those tasks are good, and that’s what we’ve had to evolve our process into doing something similar to what John is doing or almost the same damn thing is because of those additional tasks. But obviously we’ve found value in those tasks otherwise we wouldn’t be doing ’em. When it comes to all the tasks that are there is, I think John’s the same way is we find an appreciation for the task manager and having those additional things and keeping you on point, but even more so we haven’t fully gone in the task manager maybe as deep as we may because every column that we have has a dedicated responsibility for what the service advisor does at this phase and what the production manager does at this phase.
And there’s the handoff points in between there, but there might even be where a service advisor, I’m just looking up at my now is then estimates ready, inspections ready to send it out there, call for approval, and then you shift it over to order parts now and then that turns into the service or the production manager’s responsibility waiting for parts finish repairs. As you go through this progression with every progression, they kind of know even without the task manager what their responsibility is. The task manager is kind of like another tech alert that gives ’em a task to sign off for and a level of accountability that says, yes, I did this task
Tom Dorsey (01:12:22):
And it provides a passive communication. I don’t have to ping you. I just do this and you see it that it’s been managed and we’re ready for the next stage.
Bill Connor (01:12:32):
So you’re using a combination of the task manager and specific workflow steps to go ahead and organize the chaos that used to be your shop?
John Long (01:12:40):
I would say yeah. I would say actually we are doing a lot more of using the workflow than the task manager ourselves. Our shop rarely looks at the task manager and does anything with it. I hate to say that, Eva, I’m sorry. At the moment, are we going to get there and start using more of it? Yeah, we probably will eventually, but right now we’re using the workflow management and that’s how we’re staying on task is by that more so than anything.
Adam Bendzick (01:13:10):
I personally do use the task manager. It’s still relatively new, so it’s an adjustment without a doubt. But I mean it is a good tool to say, did I review that vehicle? And you may have already moved it to the next step when you’ve already done it, but I hate to have those red alerts staring me in the face. I feel like somebody’s waiting on me at that point, so I want to see that they’re completely cleared out of there. And for us, the pool assignment is why I like this setup is that even though there’s a collection of pool and reassignments and all those things that you can do, there still is designated. You have this pool of tasks, you have this pool of tasks. Maybe a whole shop has to do this, but I know that the other person’s going to be doing that task.
And if it’s been too long now I might be like, Hey, why are you not doing your job? I’m not going to just pull it from him. I’m going to say, God, is he slacking? Or do we need to reassign this task behind some poorly cells or whatever. It might be a different person that you regularly assign certain tasks to, and it might be a hiccup that’s in your shop that you change. But nonetheless, I don’t want to have a system where we have 20 different work orders and I don’t know who’s going to be the service advisor for ’em in this and that. I want to have come start my day with our technicians knowing I’m working on this vehicle, my service advisor knows I’m going to be talking to customers. Our production manager knows that they’re going to be bidding jobs and they have those responsibilities dedicated to them right from the start.
Bill Connor (01:14:45):
So to summarize that, what you’re saying is the workflow, if everybody follows the workflow and does what they’re supposed to, there’s never going to be any tasks there because they’re automatically clear. But when that red alert’s there, it is truly a red alert, something is slipped or needs to be done.
John Long (01:15:00):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:15:01):
So John, you don’t need to change. You use it exactly how it’s designed because the tasks go away by themselves. Correct. Through the workflow management, through the workflow.
John Long (01:15:13):
I wanted to say one thing real quick because I know Carlos Contreras was asking a lot of stuff in the chat, whether you go with a production manager or a production director or estimator, whatever you want to call that person or a parts person or just have your advisors doing all the work like Fred is, you can do either way, but I think the old school thinking was always one advisor to three techs type of that. I think that’s out the window by far. I think you need to have more office personnel nowadays than you ever did just because the time commitment that is needed with AutoVitals, which is a great product, but it does take time and the time commitment that you need to develop to your customers, I think it should be down to one advisor or one person office personnel to two techs or maybe even one and a half is I think is where you need to be at just so you can develop the time that you need to get done and stop working your people to death because that’s what you’re doing by having one to three or one to four in my opinion.
Adam Bendzick (01:16:12):
I really like that. I also thought as a way of testing is my staff size big enough is if you have that extra person, even though John doesn’t want to be bothered if he by the staff, which is what an owner should be doing, is if you potentially see that your staff is overworked, step into their shoes and take, even if you work as just an advisor for a month or a week or whatever it might be, say, all right, I’m taking this tech and I’m going to do all of their jobs today. And then look at your other sales on everything else. Did your ARO go up? Did your conversion rates go up because they had more time to talk to the customers? And then if so, how much is that 25 bucks a ticket? $2,500 a day, $10,000 a week. Okay. Now you start looking at I need to spend that 60, 70, 80 grand and getting that extra person because look at how much more it’s going to get me and then how much stress is going to be reduced in our shop. So that might be a way of just trial and error instead of committing to hire a person, use yourself as a business owner and put yourself in that position and then go off of that.
Bill Connor (01:17:24):
And when you think about what we’re actually working with, the complexity of vehicles and also how easy it is for customers to go and Google search, our service writers really need to go and spend the time to edit and so on. So that way we’re providing the customer everything they need to know and they’re not having to phone a friend. So we’re selling them more complex jobs than we’ve ever sold before in our entire lives on highly complex vehicles into a marketplace where the customer gets misinformation from Bubba down the street or whoever they happen to Google. So I want to control all the content they get and the time they get to it because I know that’s how I’m going to win.
Tom Dorsey (01:18:07):
Amen, brother.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:18:08):
That was the statement of the day. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (01:18:11):
Yeah. There was much to follow up. But speaking of that, Uwe, is there anything that you want to add? Is there a takeaway that didn’t get fleshed out before we end? Because I mean, it’s amazing. We’re like 18 minutes over and we still have the entire audience in here. It’s been that type of show. Gentlemen really appreciate the insights. And I know obviously you’re helping lots of folks, Carlos, I think primarily at this point, right? And we got to move the rest of it into Facebook. What’s the takeaways that we may or may not have fully developed?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:18:49):
No, if I could with the same wordss, repeat what Bill just said, our landscape has changed and motorist interaction is digital. And although coming traditionally from service advisors on the phone or at the counter has now turned into you become a picture editor, an educator in a digital way that might be perceived as more time spent. Just the value is incredible and there’s no way back. People are not going to throw away their smartphone and show up at the counter anytime soon. Especially during times like we are in right now. That’s Go ahead.
Bill Connor (01:19:33):
So one of the other things we want to go in and really consider is that as technicians age, we can take that great technician that is terrible with customer and we can move them into a position where we can still get a huge value from them. We can take people from the service industry that are dying for a good job and go ahead and put them in here as a service advisor with little to no training because their personality fits, the friendly, bubbly empathy and so on. And then we use the inspection results prepared by somebody else with no emotion involved for them to just send to a customer and then react to kind of see where you see the world evolving using the digital tools and the landscape of the people that we got to use and how to make best use of them in the marketplace as far as employees
Adam Bendzick (01:20:24):
Without a doubt. And that almost leads in another point of some shops might be using text to build estimate because they don’t have a highly trained enough service advisor to then build estimate as well, but there’s a certain level of trust that you’re putting within them to not fluff the time by a couple tens here or there. So now having it filter through that production manager, there’s two things, as John mentioned, there isn’t a service advisor with the emotion and empathy and this and that of discounting something, not putting on a certain two hours or 2.1 hours or whatever it might be, making that a 1.8. But then on the other end, if you have techs that are building their own estimates, they’re not making that 1.8 to 2.3. So there’s just that quality control and that accountability within that position kind of on both ends.
So I guess the takeaway for me is try it, give it a chance was we were reflective of the same thing. We’re concerned about giving it a chance and so was John probably back when he did it, but it worked and it may not work. And then you go back to a system that says no individual service advisors pull task management like Fred’s doing. There’s no one easy way to do all this stuff, but you just got to figure out a way that is going to work for your shop and give it enough time to actually see it through.
John Long (01:21:47):
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think it goes back to what Adam and I have right above our heads make advising great again on it. The whole key is to do that. Whether you do it, what Adam and I are doing or doing what Fred is doing is make advising great. Again, hire that extra person that you don’t think you really need. But in all reality, you do need lessen the load on your current advisors because trust me, they are overworked and probably most cases underpaid or maybe even just right at where they should be on pay, but they’re overworked is the biggest thing. That’s why so many of ’em get burnt out. We’re doing a disservice to our advisors by making them do everything. Unless you have, like I said, hire another advisor that you don’t think you really need to get in there and just lessen the load on what they do day in and day out.
Adam Bendzick (01:22:37):
And a receptionist director of first impressions, John told me you need to get that. And it’s crazy, even just a phone call here or there, how much that helps the service advisor. So just commit to those little bits and pieces here and there. And you can put yourself in that position too as an owner. Say, Nope, I’m going to work as a receptionist day and grab as many phone calls as you can and shuffle phone calls to and from and this and that. Find the spot within your business that you could potentially see a log jam for and see if you can fill that role. And if you fill that role and everything’s more efficient, okay, now that clearly tells you you need to add somebody in that position, if not full-time. At least
John Long (01:23:18):
I know some of you guys are thinking probably the conversation that Adam and I had offline right before we got on is, so your advisor may have more time now because you hired another advisor or you hired a production manager. This is exactly what I said when I did my presentation at the AutoVitals conference. So what if your advisor has downtime? So what? They’re not stressing out, they have the time then to train to do other things ingrained in your culture. Poor Russ. He was next to me in the AutoVitals conference. I showed a music video that one of my advisors did in his downtime and he came out, man, I had a rock concert next to me, what was going on on it? But that’s helped our culture so much by him doing that music video for us. So I say, so what if your advisors have downtime? Who cares?
Adam Bendzick (01:24:11):
Yep. Chloe up front, our receptionist, she’s artsy craftsy and this and that. And now there’s little, the clear standup things with quotes and flowers and stuff like that on there. Quote of the day, quote of the week, this and that. I mean, yeah, there’s some stuff that they might put up there that you’re like, yeah, do I really want that specifically? But then there’s so much great stuff that they come up with and we can harness that level of enthusiasm from your staff to do these extra things. Gosh, I mean the customers see it. They talk about it every single day, like, oh, there’s follows up here, or there’s a quote up here, I really like that. And how much does that change my GP percentage or conversion rate and this and that. I can’t quantify it, but at the same time I can see we get another review that we might not have had before.
Bill Connor (01:25:04):
And see, the good thing here is everybody’s talking about delivering a better customer experience to their client, whether it’s Fred, Adam, or John. That’s what it’s all about. And we’re really going ahead and taking the position that we’re also going ahead and charging the customer what the perceived value is of those services we’re delivering. Nobody here is talking about participating in the race to the bottom that others are. It is all about that client experience.
Tom Dorsey (01:25:31):
Listen up. So real quick, Carlos Contreras. Main takeaway is, my takeaway is if you feel like something is not right, try something new until it feels right. Fantastic takeaway. Carlos and Fred Wicki. You got the last word, buddy. Take us to the outro. Really appreciate everybody’s time. You guys were awesome today. Thank you to everybody in the audience as well. Tune in next Wednesday and Fred is going to take us away. Fred, what do you got for us, buddy?
Fred Gestwicki Jr. (01:25:59):
Pick what you want to try, try it, give it some time. And like Adam and John said, hire somebody so your advisors aren’t so overworked. I love that. That was my biggest takeaway is what you guys both said. So on that note, let’s go.
Tom Dorsey (01:26:15):
Here it comes. Here comes the smoke, Joe.

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