Speed vs. Quality

These days, it seems like there is a lot of focus on getting trucks in-and-out of the service bays as quickly as possible. That certainly is an admirable goal because we all know the name of the game in trucking is uptime. It’s maddening to have trucks sitting in the yard or on a service provider’s lot waiting for bay space availability or parts.

Those are the areas where speed should matter. Better service scheduling can help eliminate some of that pointless waiting time.

But I question whether speed should be the goal once the truck is in the service bay.

Yes, there are things that need to be done to eliminate unnecessary waits caused by the issues that have absolutely nothing to do with the technician actually making the repair.

Streamlining the communication and approval processes can go a long way to eliminate the unproductive time the technician could use to be actually working on the truck — but can’t — because he doesn’t have the authorization required to continue...or the part he needs isn’t available...or he has to leave the bay to access repair information. Those are all fixable problems with the use of proper technology.

But once the technician is actually working on fixing the problem, the focus needs to shift to the quality of the repair, but not to the exclusion of speed. There are standard repair times that can give you a good guideline for how long a repair should take. But those are guidelines that need to be tempered with real world experiences. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get a stubborn part removed, for example.

To ensure quality repairs, spend the time and money needed to get — and keep — your technicians properly trained. Make sure they understand that the goal of the shop is to fix it right the first time. Comebacks not only cost money they also lead to aggravated drivers. Few things make a driver madder than getting in a truck he or she thought was fixed, only to have it break down within days, or even hours, of the supposed repair.

To ensure quality in your shops, you might consider adding a quality control inspection as part of the repair process. Designate someone in the shop to look over repairs to make sure they have been completed properly. It may take a little more time during the repair process, but if it prevents a comeback, it is time well spent.

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