This week Jeff Blackton took some time to answer three popular questions. If you have a question you would like to submit, send it to We are always happy to help!

 What process seems to break down fastest when things get busy?

Triage. When service departments get busy, it can feel counterproductive to take a few minutes out of the day to triage newly dropped off equipment. The thing to remember is that the triage process is the action that feeds our service department with a steady stream of parts moving toward the dealership and lets us promptly communicate with our customers.  When asking a dealer who has ran our processes for many years, “What’s the quickest way to break a service department?”, they will tell you it is to stop triaging and I wholeheartedly agree.

What do you think of a 4-day work week?

In a retail environment you need to be available when your customers are available. Implementing a 4-day work week cuts out at least 2 full days that your customers are expecting you to be open. So, as a solution, many of our dealers implement reduced hours during slow season. When business slows down, consider staggering the time you open allowing you to cut hours and still be available for your customers.

What amount of work orders are typically left in the que at all times?

Our goal is to have a service department no more than 1 week booked ahead and recovering at 100%.  In order to factor how many open work orders is a good number to shoot for in your dealership, you will want to look at the average completion time of your technicians. If I have a technician whose average completion time is 1 hour, then having 40 open work orders is an appropriate number for that technician. If a tech has an average completion time of 4 hours, then having 10 open work orders at any given time would ensure that our shop is only 1 week booked ahead. Depending on what portion of the season you are in, the average completion time for each tech might vary, so it’s a good practice to get an update on that average completion time on a regular basis.