As the originators of the integrated workshop concept, we know that to create the perfect workshops there are a number of common pitfalls that companies can encounter. From not integrating enough storage to choosing the wrong worktop, every workshop, repair centre or service facility can benefit from doing the simple things better and planning for the future.
The number one problem we see time-and-again is workshops that don’t operate anywhere near as productively as they potentially could. It sounds simple but customers typically resort to tackling symptoms of this problem, like lack of technician time or shortages of space, before they actually think to address the root causes that will unlock much bigger sustainable long-term gains.
With this in mind we’ve taken a look at 7 key areas that are well worth considering when fitting out your workshop. Of cause our team of design experts will help you solve these issues but they’re worth considering yourself before any design or building work takes place.
1. Good customer experience follows attention to detail
You don’t need big budgets to be meticulous about attention to detail. It’s something all the best workshops have in common. Having properly established storage systems, where tools and equipment are returned to their proper place for example, will present a far more professional impression to your customers. It also creates a more attractive working environment for technicians; perseverance pays - you’ll probably be surprised how quickly good working habits that take time to adopt initially but soon become second-nature.
2. Space is your most valuable asset...
Whilst everyone rushes to consider ‘how much’ when evaluating workshop equipment purchases, few factor in ‘how big’ and even less ‘where’. Dura’s integrated workshop systems will free up valuable extra floor space. If your workshop’s busy, then 20% more floor space equals 20% more capacity. Best of all, the added revenue brings no new cost overheads – you’re just squeezing more productivity out of your current assets.
Creating an extra service bay, getting higher throughput or freeing space for revenue-generating equipment are all ways to quickly generate returns on modest investment in organising your working environment better. Don’t be tempted to put it off to later date.
3... closely followed by technician time
Good technicians are at the core of most service, maintenance and production businesses. Nobody wants to work in messy, outdated or cluttered working environments, yet this is exactly how many end up! When evaluating investment in tools storage systems, look for savings you can make on technician time; paying skilled labour rates to find and retrieve tools isn’t ideal. Time saved quickly converts back into chargeable hours that feed extra revenue straight through to the bottom line.
Businesses often find they can unlock 10 or 15% time-savings from their technical staff. At the revenue-generating end of a business this can be the difference between healthy net profits or stressful break-even over the course of any year.
4. Keep things secure, safe and stored
It sounds obvious, but so often valuable tools and workshop equipment will be left on floors or scattered to all corners. The obvious unwelcome outcomes include accidental damage and reduced working life. Often, simply introducing a comprehensive tool storage system can do more than any other single thing to make the workshop a safer place to work.
5. Create ‘hubs’ for your most frequent activities
Keep the things you need most often together and close-by. In vehicle workshops for example, this might involve using a reel distribution system, shared between two service bays, for oil, air, power and water. You also need waste disposal and tool storage. It’s no coincidence that these are the elements Dura will typically design into any integrated workshop, or include in ServicePodTM. Avoid people criss-crossing workshops, or getting in each other’s way - it makes it feel busier or more cramped than it really is.
6. Pride comes before a profit
The right workshop environment fosters job satisfaction. Retention of skilled staff becomes much easier when they are working somewhere they feel reflects good standards and their expertise. Finding and keeping a team of skilled staff can make or break businesses, don’t underestimate the influence the workplace has on achieving good outcomes.
7. Workshop design should be revisited regularly
Last but not least, revisit and rethink workshop design, layout and storage frequently. Technology constantly changes, new tools, equipment and processes arrive whilst old ones wear out or fade away.
All too often, even a workshop designed with absolute precision when it was built will fail to evolve, and cease being optimised for purpose. Successful workshop design isn’t just about creating something that looks great. It’s about analysing activity to maximise efficiency and generate financial returns. It gets all too comfortable to fall into ‘doing it the way we’ve always done it’