2015 Best in Class: Best Service Department

Seattle Boat Company

Photo Nov 15, 8 20 22 AMWhen it comes to getting the job done, there’s no doubt that Seattle Boat Company’s service department excels. It’s hard to argue with a technician efficiency rate of 111 percent.

At Seattle Boat Company, a good service department is more than efficient: It is equally important, or even more so, to be productive. The combination of the two creates proficiency, a measure the company holds above all others.

“Productivity measuring immediately reflects difficulties with yard management, employee health, equipment failures and attendance and compares to budget goals,” said Christina Prober, director of business development at Seattle Boat Company.

Seattle Boat Company expects each technician, fiberglass specialist or detailer to report a minimum of 95 percent productivity on a daily basis during the company’s peak season. For instance, if a technician clocks in for eight hours, 7.6 of those hours should be spent on actual customer repair order work.

As in all departments of the dealership, Seattle Boat Company tracks and reports these measures on a daily basis to all managers through the company’s Daily Health Reports.

“The Daily Efficiency Report reflects the focus and intensity of our technicians and immediately reports difficult jobs,” said Prober.

Keeping jobs organized helps Seattle Boat Company meet its high expectations. Technicians receive a job card for every repair order listing each “operation” or task that has been scheduled for repair. The job card lists the individual task and its flat-rated hours, which are fully integrated into the dealership’s Dockmaster System. All of the required parts are prepared in advance and set into the technician’s bin. The start time is entered into the Dockmaster Computer Station on the specific repair order invoice and the specific operation. Stop times are entered directly into the system with technician comments and the operation is coded Closed once completed.

“This allows anyone in the entire organization to answer customer questions about the status of their service boat,” said Prober. “Furthermore, efficiency reports become automated directly from Dockmaster and are reported daily, weekly and monthly.”

In order to achieve the proficiency the company seeks, Seattle Boat Company offers heavy incentives for its technicians. In addition to cash bonuses and tool bonuses for an efficiency rate of 80 percent or above, those who reach an efficiency rate of 120 percent or more for three consecutive months receive – among additional bonuses and flat rate pay – support from an assistant technician and the coveted title of “super technician.”

The use of the junior technician is at the super tech’s discretion, but the junior tech’s position is not to help the super tech maintain his or her efficiency – it is to propel the super tech into the 150 percent and beyond category. As a result, super tech status is not permanent; if the super tech cannot achieve this in a given two-month consecutive period, the tech returns to the standard level. The status is also revoked if more than two redos or comebacks are received within a 30-day period.

The Super Tech Program benefits not only the super techs of today, but also the super techs of tomorrow. The program provides support to seasoned employees to propel their skills even further while acting as a mentor program for the younger staff.

“This is the best method to train young, smart, energetic staff to become super techs of the future. Our service team is proof [super technicians] are our most efficient and most productive. They get it and they are paid well based on their performance,” said Prober.

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