How standard repair times benefit fleets and service providers.
In 2019, to help improve shop productivity and profitability, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) asked fleet and service provider members to help establish baseline repair times based on its Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS). The result of TMC’s Fleet & Service Provider Average Standard Repair Times Survey was a list of average standard repair times (SRTs) for 75 commonly performed labor tasks.
More recently, during its 2021 Spring Meeting, TMC announced a partnership with Decisiv, the provider of a service management platform used at nearly 5,000 service locations across North America. As a TMC member benefit, the council and Decisiv will provide a maintenance labor and parts benchmarking report organized by VMRS System Level Coding based on fleet and service provider data.
There are a number of ways that fleets can use SRTs to their advantage, noted Chuck Scahill, director – solutions engineer at Decisiv.
“Estimated repair times in labor guides from companies like Mitchell 1 and MOTOR reflect the time a repair typically takes with reasonable accuracy because they are specification and VIN specific,” he said. “That lets fleets know a reasonable expected labor cost when using an outside service provider, or the time it will take a technician in a company shop to make a particular repair. They can also rely on that information to analyze variances between internal operations and service providers.
“In-house, the use of estimated repair times leads to more efficient and productive operations,” Scahill added. “Knowing how long a repair will take can enhance technician and bay assignment practices, which improves shop throughput and workflow through better scheduling. As a management tool as well, it shows where technicians can be assigned most effectively or need additional training.”
There are many uses for SRTs by fleets, noted Mark Hirn, senior product manager, service at MOTOR Information Systems.
“Those include using them to properly pay technicians and manage shop scheduling and staffing needs,” he said. “SRTs can help forecast future costs and drive decisions on when to retire a vehicle as well. Fleets who outsource some or all of their service work can also utilize SRTs to audit the repair facility and ensure they are being charged correctly.”
Kristy LaPage, business manager, Commercial Vehicle Group at Mitchell 1, pointed out that knowing ahead of time how long a job is likely to take allows for more effective scheduling of technicians and provides an expectation of the amount of time the truck will be unavailable.
“If you’re sending the work out, SRTs let you have a better understanding of how long the shop will likely have the truck,” she stated. “They also help verify estimates and work accomplished, which are key to controlling costs.
“SRTs, by providing a baseline of how long a job will take, let you more easily identify a struggling technician or a very proficient one,” LaPage continued. “And by comparing SRTs to VMRS problem and correction codes, fleets can also determine if individual shops are using similar processes to resolve vehicle pattern issues. That kind of information can expose service processes that are not truly resolving a problem.”
SRTs provide the ability to define the time to perform common repairs and identify the need to have customized labor times for random or more involved repairs that differ between one vehicle make or model, related MOTOR’s Mark Hirn.
“From a fleet’s perspective, it’s all about cost containment and increasing uptime,” he said. “Data analytics comparing actual repair times against SRTs can be very valuable for measuring shop efficiency and technician performance. Analyzing SRT data can also help identify repair trends, especially if your SRTs are VMRS coded.”
The new Decisiv TMC North American Service Event Benchmark reports track parts and labor expenditures and trends throughout North America, sorted by geographic location and VMRS-coded vehicle systems. The reports are based on data being collected by Decisiv on over 13,000 daily service and repair events for the more than 7 million commercial assets being managed on its Service Relationship Management (SRM) platform across the U.S. and Canada. The summaries are compiled from more than 275,000 monthly service maintenance and repair events conducted at nearly 5,000 service locations.
By Seth Skydel