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How to Measure Workshop Performance

Updated: Mar 26

The oldest and most well-known way to measure the performance of the workshop's workforce is by “clocking”. But because of the way information about service time, start/stop time and breaks are collected and inserted into the system, this subject always provokes controversy in dealerships.

The clocking method is difficult to execute and unfortunately, most of the time, useless.

Not because information is not valuable, but because little is done with it and most of the time it is not reliable either. As it is easily manipulated, it is not a safe basis for making decisions, while ironically,

companies invest in people and other resources based on these numbers.

In one of my many #Gemba walks during a visit to a dealership, I noticed a line of five technicians waiting at a counter, each with a service order (SO) in hand, just to make the clocking. I asked why they themselves did not clock, to avoid waiting. The manager explained to me that the brand they represented was quite demanding as to the clocking and asked for a productivity of at least 80% to not lose out on bonuses. So it was very important to have someone dedicated to "controlling" the time. When the queue finished, I went to the “controller” and asked how he "controlled productivity", to which he replied: "I clock and keep a track. When the worker spends 80% of the time, I quit the job even if he hasn't finished the job yet!"

Customer Waiting
Customer waiting for service and technicians waiting for work!

With the difficulty of "managing productivity", it is not uncommon to find clocking information only to “deliver result". In many cases, you find people paid to manage just the clocking, that is, "justifying" even their own salary, which is of course wrong way to view this!

Later, in this same operation, I found that only eight of the sixteen available technicians were reported to the automaker, this "guaranteed" good KPIs of productivity, clocking and utilisation.

Who are we trying to fool?

In general, 50% of labour time is lost, since unsold labor simply cannot be traded anymore, it goes straight to waste! The problem is the clocking and KPI's linked to it.

At the same time that a client needs to wait days for a appointment availability, there is idleness in the workshop. This gives a good idea of what has not evolved over time, as mentioned earlier in the previous article "The cost of wasting time".

Labor is perishable, it must be sold before expiring.


I remember the large boards on the walls, having magnetic parts with the same respective numbers and colors as the cones placed on the roofs of the cars in the workshop. Even today you will find these or similar systems in most dealerships. Different formats, but without making any contribution to improve the flow of the process.

There are also digital models that are part of the operating system (DMS). Some with good potential as a scheduling tool. As for example an incredible system that I saw created by the dealer himself in a beautiful workshop of premium vehicles in Rio de Janeiro  – but, as most of the time, just used as the old boards:

Used to sort the queues and manage the chaos! 

No boards, magnetic or digital, nor programs, clocking will solve the productivity problem. They can at most report the size of this chaos and alleviate some symptoms. Comparing your company's productivity indicators with those of other workshops does not guarantee better results. I have participated in numerous meetings, formal and informal, in which managers and directors blamed teams for lack of productivity. They compared them with the competition, with data from the dealer association and with the indicators required by the automaker. Management put pressure on the managers, who in their turn put pressure on the supervisors, who then passed the pressure on to the production: "We need to work harder, people"... See how this works?

To really understand the reason for the low productivity, it is necessary to measure the #FLOW.

Starting from the beginning of the process, the initial contact with the client and then every step of the process. Doing this allows you to identify where the bottlenecks are? What difficulties does the productive have to perform their tasks? What and how is time spent? And, finally, have a clocking model that is worth using. Otherwise, clocking is just another waste.

Process Flow
Measure the flow and identify waiting times


Knowing your process and analyzing it, makes it possible to understand where the waste is and study ways to eliminate it.

Adopt Lean thinking in your Retail Network and Dealership and witness a radical transformation of your company.

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