If you were to spend one day, taking notice of how much time is wasted, you’d never bide time again.
We speak to shop owners who are just biding time waiting for the proverbial end of their career. Many of which have been talking about 5 more years, for at least 10 years now. The most common theme found among many of these shops, they never focused any time on adding value to their business or their customers. So they've entered a stale state where they don't know what to do, partly paralyzed from years of inaction. This doesn't have to happen, change is easier than ever in 2018 and all it requires is a little willpower. If you truly want to move onto the next step in life, build value where you are today. It's often not difficult and it does as much for morale at shop as it does for you personally.
Building value starts with looking within, look for areas where you can improve. It’s not an easy exercise to do, critiquing oneself. Yet, we all do it and categorically wrong in most instances. We judge ourselves based on the reflection of who we think we want to be like or should be. Which essentially has us biding time, because we don’t see the flaw in our logic. Stop worrying about what you can’t change and start worrying about what you can.
Tomorrow morning when you go back into work, I suggest you do 3 simple steps, but only if you're serious about committing to being better at what you do. Or if you're really serious about it, don't wait till tomorrow... start now.
3 Steps To Start Adding Value
- Take note of things you’ve been waiting to address and haven’t. Start with this, when you walk into your auto repair facility… walk around for 10 minutes and jot down all the things you’ve always wanted to do or need to be immediately done and aren’t done. Just ten minutes, set a timer on your phone and then spend 5 minutes jotting them down. You can use your shops Gmail account for this.
- Take note of how much time certain sequences take to accomplish. As silly as this is seems, take note of how slow your computer might be. Time to turn on? Time to load websites? Frequent crashes?
- Stop for 30 minutes at the end of the day and review the two items above. You may think to yourself, why do I want to waste my time learning how much of my time is wasted? But then you just realized how that makes sense.
Organize These Thoughts:
We recently wrote about how you can take a Google Gmail address and turn it into a team foundation to give your team the tools they need to get things done. Here’s yet another element you can use that method, with Tasks, it will help you keep yourself and team members accountable to distribute the workload around maintaining your facility.
My Computer Is Fine! So What If It's A Little Slow?:
So you think that it's ok that your computer is a little older and slower, but I bet you didn't realize that investing as little as $600 can get you 1 hour of lost time back, per day! Let's see if you qualify for the hour of productivity lost per day. Let's time how long your computer takes to turn on.
Turn on your computer. If it’s already on, shut it down and turn it back on. Time this sequence. Does it take 30 seconds, 3 minutes or 8 minutes? Hear a lot of noise when this happens? Don’t want to turn off your PC because of fear it won’t turn back on. If your PC takes longer than 30 seconds to get to the login screen, you would benefit greatly from newer hardware. If you can’t get to the internet within 2 minutes of turning your PC on, you need to change things. It’s not 1989, it’s almost 2019.
Ok, So I Did The Three Steps, Now What?:
We’re going to work with an assumed set of tasks, to help you understand the exercise. Below is a made up list of things we found that needed attention.
- So your 10 minute walk around yielded 15 things that you need to do around the shop or want to do. This is the easiest to resolve, use Tasks in your Team's Gmail account and assign these responsibilities to yourself and your team.
- Your PC takes 6 minutes before you can get to the internet. This may require a little more effort to resolve, we will cover "how to choose an effective PC for my shop" in a separate article.
- Your coffee maker takes 4.5 minutes to brew a cup of coffee. This is absurd right. Who times a cup of coffee!! Well, upgrade your coffee machine and get your coffee in 2 minutes. Giving you back 2.5 minutes a day and 50 minutes a month.
- Your average time for parts research (buying or researching) on the phone is 15 minutes. This is a complex task to tackle and we will discuss how you need a combination of hardware and software to really become effective at this.
- You spend more time squinting at your monitor than you do reading or writing on it. Between Costco and Amazon, there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade for reasonable rates, consider it. It's going to make your life easier.
Here’s what I’d like you do. Evaluate that list. Top to bottom and let’s figure out how to eliminate it. We can break any of the timed sequences into these questions:
- How long to resolve the problem? For instance, if you need to take the heaping pile of scrap to the yard, time how long to fill the truck, clean the area, go to the scrap yard and dump it, reorganize the scrap pile so it’s better contained next time. Let’s assume this is a 4 hour endeavor.
- How much is it going to cost? Well if you have a shop truck, it’ll cost you 4 hours of time in one block, or 30 minutes of time in 8 blocks. The choice is ultimately yours, how you want to break that down and delegate it among your team. Maybe you must rent a truck, or maybe… it’s as easy as calling a scrap collector to come and haul most of it for free.
- What is the benefit? Well a clean shop always presents well to customers and potential customers.
- Do I get time back? Well, no this one costs you time but brings you organization.
- Is it worth the time? To look clean, I think we’re going to go with a ‘Yes’ here.
As with all the advice on our site, this is not the end all. We are merely giving you ideas that helped us move out of ruts and turn things around in our own business. All of our writing, suggestions, and solutions come from running an auto repair facility in Linden NJ. But we know that solutions aren't a one size fits all. However, we have learned that most of our solutions came from reading about different things... and trying them! So we encourage you to do the same and share your stories about your experiences.
Follow through with this article by reading about our other experiences in the auto industry, where we pass on lessons about running a business in 2018. This is focused on the auto repair industry, but there is plenty here that can be applied forward to help other businesses get off the ground and noticed locally. Even though the businesses may differ significantly, the challenges of getting noticed and operating efficiently are similar.