Tom Kane faced a standard dilemma for a fixed ops director — efficiency vs. expense.
The parts and service director for Universal Nissan and Universal Hyundai in Orlando wanted to stay competitive with local aftermarket providers in the time his express lanes took to perform basic oil changes, tire rotations and multipoint inspections. So Kane assigned two-member crews of lube technicians to work on each quick-service vehicle.
That got the job done: The average time the dealerships needed to complete a quick-service visit was a prompt 21 to 24 minutes, Kane says. But the double-teaming had a cost: The two-technician crews didn't generate enough hours of labor under the express lanes' hybrid pay system — a flat-rate plan combined with an hourly wage supplement — to enable both techs to earn an acceptable weekly paycheck.
Last year, Kane developed a different solution: He paired a single quick-service tech with a device that extracts used oil automatically from a car or truck during an oil change. Kane estimates the shift is saving each of the dealerships at least $95,000 a year.
And because use of the oil extractor eliminates the need to remove a vehicle's drain plug, Kane expects to save thousands more each year on damage claims that previously arose from stripped or loose plugs and related mishaps.
The staffing change has not created any loss of efficiency; cycle times in Kane's express lanes are at least as good as they were under the two-tech crews. Nor has it cost any jobs, Kane says, because a 35 percent expansion of service operations at the dealerships has enabled him to promote some lube techs to their own bays.
"It was a win-win for everyone," Kane told Fixed Ops Journal. "It helped to reduce our unapplied labor, reduce our cycle times, reduce mistakes and help the techs make more money."