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Improving work flow in the fixed operations department — Chris Schaubert

Every auto technician knows that fixed operations departments must maintain a balanced work flow to keep customers happy and profits high. However, many managers, especially those with a career in sales, often fail to understand the needs of their service team members. Chris Schaubert is the President and CEO of Fixed Ops Solutions, a coaching platform for dealers and their teams. His consulting services have helped many businesses improve the customer service, efficiency and profitability of their repair and maintenance teams. On this episode of CBT Now, Schaubert sits down with host Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the disconnect between managers and fixed ops staff, and what they can do to improve the relationship.

Many general managers do not understand the fixed ops work flow. Often, they will push their technicians to offer additional services, forcing them to adopt a sales quota. However, since customers expect efficient care, mechanics who do not feel comfortable in a sales environment can fumble, increasing wait times and impeding business operations. Not only does this frustrate employees, making their work even more difficult, it also upsets clients, who may decide to find another company to take care of their vehicles. Running fixed ops department like a sales is simply impractical. This situation is entirely avoidable, however.

Managers and fixed ops professionals who maintain a deep understanding of each other’s work flows keep profit margins high, without sacrificing efficiency. Schaubert argues that storeowners should thoroughly educate themselves on the employee experience and the day to day activity of their service department, especially if they come from a sales background. This way, they can understand the fluctuations in their teams workload and ensure technicians are working at a comfortable but efficient pace. When fixed ops staff feel at ease, they can convince drivers to purchase additional services without delaying service. Not only does this improve profitability without frustrating the client, it also improves retention. Leaders should strive to develop more insight into a team’s strengths and weaknesses, beyond raw data such as customer scores, wait times or revenue.
Consultants are an excellent solution for managers looking to gain this insight and improve the work flow of their service department. Schaubert notes that some managers are unwilling to consider outside opinions, since they feel they understand their market better. However, advisors understand the best principles and methods to achieve dealership success, and have experience working in various business environments. Ultimately, fixed ops consultants serve as a bridge between managers and their technicians by balancing the needs of both parties and structuring improvement efforts in a way which keeps technicians and managers happy.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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