By employing effective scheduling methods, a collision center is likely to improve their cycle time, customer satisfaction levels, and profitability. The traditional ‘in on Monday – out on Friday’ approach to scheduling causes a myriad of problems for the collision center. Among these problems are:
- Cycle times lengthened due to vehicles sitting around for several days before entering production because too many vehicles were dropped off at once;
- Reduced productivity caused by vehicles, and their associated parts, cluttering the facility while not being worked on;
- Reduced quality as vehicles are ‘rushed’ to delivery towards the end of the week;
- Customer satisfaction levels dropping due to reduced quality and missed delivery dates resulting from vehicles sitting for days without being worked on;
- Rental car costs increased as shops pay for vehicles when delivery dates are missed;
- Increased stress on employees, both production and non-production, early and late in the week;
Many of these problems can be minimized through effective scheduling. And while many articles have been written and classes have been taught on how to improve the scheduling of work through a collision repair facility, implementation has been virtually impossible.
Effective scheduling must be handled using a computer program primarily for consistency. Without consistency, any scheduling effort will completely fail.
By implementing CR Auto Scheduler®, a collision repair center can ensure that each estimator has access to the same schedule and is scheduling work ‘following the rules’. Paper systems are consistently thwarted by estimators squeezing 1 or 2 or 6 additional jobs into the schedule for Monday. As a result, each week starts having already been set up for failure.
Also, CR Auto Scheduler® can consistently, and nearly instantaneously, perform the ‘thinking’ required to schedule effectively. It can consider the amount of work already scheduled for a particular date or week when providing scheduling options. It can consider whether a mix of work is being brought in as well as a reasonable number of hours. It can adjust the estimated hours by a supplemental factor to better approximate the true size of the job. It can estimate when the vehicle will be ready for delivery and consider the number of vehicles already slated for delivery that day. It can adjust for holidays, vacations, or other variations to the normal work week and capacity levels. It can even provide multiple scheduling options, each of which will maintain the integrity of the schedule, which can be offered for the customer’s convenience. CR Auto Scheduler® can do all of these things and more and do them quickly.
It is no wonder that paper systems fail when they require our estimators to consider these things and quickly provide a scheduling option to the customer. Most effective estimators are interested in closing the sale and moving on to close the next sale. When we ask them to invest more than a few moments in determining the best scheduling option, is it surprising that they quickly revert to primarily offering Mondays?
Implementation is required to obtain the benefits of effective scheduling such as improved cycle times, customer satisfaction levels, and profitability. CR Auto Scheduler® is necessary for the implementation to be consistent and effective.