You see, not long ago, I was reminded of the importance of production in the services business, when I was asked by a start-up entrepreneur of on-site auto maintenance. He asked point blank; “How many oil changes can be completed by a decent crew (I am assuming 2 people to a crew/truck) in an 8 hour day using your trucks and methods?”
Okay, here is my experience; with full production – Six Sigma style – vehicles in a row (fleets) the answer is 100s with a crew of three. Personal cars, all different, you need very competent auto mechanics with experience 5-6 per hour with 2 people maximum. Of course, there is more to the story, in fact his next question was even blunter and I must say right on target too; “Do the trucks you use work on one vehicle at a time or multiple at once?”
When doing fleets you use an assembly line methodology, so first, you start the motors on five vehicles, but you pop the hoods on 15 in the row. After 8-minutes, you turn off the first five, start the second five, drain the first five drain plugs, you get the idea. Or, you use evacuation systems. It’s a process, the money is in the “time” not the job or cost per unit. Travel time is job time by the way, including chasing parts, filters – especially when you are paying automotive technicians to fetch oil filters, fuel filters, and such.
Indeed, I’ve always instructed our crews on the need to honor the concept of JIT – just in time inventory, that is to say have the supplier, NAPA Auto Parts for instance, deliver the filters needed to the job site, why pay to stock the filters, inventory them, transport them, when these auto part companies deliver and will do anything to earn your business? If you are going to run an auto business whether you are dealing with private owners of SUVs or those in charge of large fleets of vehicles, then you need to run it with production in mind. Please consider all this and think on it.