Make the Most of Technicians' E-time
A technician’s work day usually consists of identifying diagnostic trouble codes, ordering parts, and most of all, manual labor. As the saying goes, a technician’s work is never done—but it can be derailed.
E-time, or non-income producing time, refers to the nooks and crannies of a technician’s day that go unaccounted for. More often than not, E-time is caused by external forces such as shop maintenance, parts deliveries, equipment maintenance, or impending authorization. Regardless of the source, E-time proves to be a thorn in the side of many shops.
Brian Condon, manager of the all-new ADAS Calibration Center of Cincinnati, says his technicians utilize their E-time by completing tasks that safeguard the efficiency of future calibrations.
Robert and Andrew Gallegos, owners of Santa Fe-based Custom Craft Auto Collision, say their technicians hardly have any free time, let alone E-time, so upper management is often left to fill in the gaps. With a packed calendar and an expansion planned for the near future, the family-run shop depends on communication and maximization from each member of its team.
Technician E-time, though not always welcomed, is a reality for most shops, and that’s why FenderBender has compiled both organizational tips and time management tricks to help your shop make every moment count.
As told to Maraya King
Make a morning plan.
At Custom Craft, we start each day with a “morning relief meeting,” which we use to plan and track parts deliveries. Knowing when to expect parts helps our technicians organize their days and plan accordingly with the tools and equipment they’ll have available.
Similarly, at the ADAS Calibration Center we use a “morning huddle” to plan for the day ahead. The morning huddle helps to organize the different sections of the shop, keep track of delivery times, and it keeps the lines of communication flowing throughout the day for all of our staff.
E-time doesn’t have to mean wasted time.
E-time may be difficult for us to predict, but when it does come around it doesn’t need to be difficult to fill. There are a variety of tasks our technicians can accomplish that may seem small, but are as essential as a correct parts order.
For the ADAS Center, when our technicians find themselves with unforeseen E-time, we make sure it’s used to stay up to date on the latest I-CAR training, update computer software, and update scan tools.
Help out when you can, wherever you can.
Many shops struggle with filling E-time and ensuring their technicians are staying on task, but at Custom Craft, we hardly have any time to spare. Our shop manager, Anthony Martinez, spends time each day running parts to bays, making sure the technicians get them in a timely fashion.
The lifts are always occupied and the phones never stop ringing, which means even as the owners, we find ourselves tracking down parts from time to time. We need to hire another parts person, but for now, everyone is okay chipping in to help track down those hard-to-find parts whenever necessary.
Track where and what you can.
At the ADAS Calibration Center we track, or rather, plan for E-time using our shop’s production board. Our production board is located in a centralized area where it displays the month’s upcoming training sessions, any planned time off, things like that.
Tracking E-time, both when it comes up and how it is spent, is a crucial step in maximizing our shop’s efficiency. By planning ahead, our technicians have the tools they need to make the most of their work day, avoiding the pitfalls of wasted time.
Communication is always key.
At any shop, deliveries get delayed, wrong parts get ordered, software updates start at inopportune times—plans don’t always come together. E-time can either be a blessing or a curse for our busy technicians, but here at Custom Craft, we make it a point to keep the lines of communication open which allows us to plan, even when a plan falls through.