There are many solutions out there for managing maintenance and tracking technician time, but are they easy to use? Do they consider real-world working environments faced by technicians and shop managers? Here is a quick checklist for technician time tracking and work order management capabilities you should look for.
If technicians must rely on paper processes or repeatedly logging in and out of work orders just to track their time, productivity slows down. A user-friendly interface that is intuitive and easy to learn will greatly improve technician productivity and job satisfaction. Technicians should have access to a personal dashboard that helps them be as productive as possible. Things to look for include:
- A technician photo: A photo on the dashboard prevents any confusion about who is logged on and whose tasks and work orders are in the displayed queue.
- A “swap user” capability: In a shared workstation environment, it is frustrating to have to log out of a personal dashboard every time a new technician wants to log time on their tasks or work orders. Swapping technicians quickly enables technicians to access their work orders quickly and easily. And, it shouldn’t stop the time tracking clock when technicians swap between dashboards.
- Ability to track both direct and indirect time: Technicians juggle priorities all day long, and not all of them are billable. Things like cleaning, training, and breaks should be captured as indirect time for accurate reporting.
- Ability to review a work order without tracking time against it.
- User-friendly interfaces: Widgets such as moving dials on running clocks that display time, colorful buttons, and clear labels all make for an easy-to-use system.
- Ability to track time spent in different locations – sometimes technicians work at different shops and locations. Make sure tracking these different locations is a capability of your system.
- Ability to start time on new task immediately after another one is finished for accuracy in reporting.
- Ability to mark the work order status as open, working, waiting for review, or closed.
For Shop Managers
To successfully manage costs, shop managers need access to data to analyze maintenance activities, monitor technician time, and continually make improvements. Gone are the days of paper stacks of work orders. They need easy-to-run reports that track items such as maintenance costs, tasks, schedules, work order billing, parts, and other key maintenance metrics enable them to evaluate productivity of technicians and overall shop operations. Efficient online tracking of the technician productivity is an integral part of most efficient shops. Tracking direct and indirect labor, and accounting for things like breaks and meetings, is essential to a good maintenance program. Look for these capabilities:
- A flexible dashboard designed specifically for shop managers with the ability to see, sort, and prioritize all tasks and work orders, and to account for technician time.
- Ability to edit time entries relative to other tasks in case of technician error.
- Ability to bill by either book value, estimated, or actual hours spent on a job. All values should still be tracked and available for reporting.
- Flexibility to track time or turn off time tracking for providers that do not need that capability.
- Ability to review all work orders for accuracy to identify problems such as lost time for missing parts, or waiting for a higher-level technician before closing out a work order for billing.
- Ability to assign a primary technician to work orders for accountability and oversight.
- Ability to categorize work orders, such as standard, warranty, and “come back”.
- Ability to prioritize work orders such as customer waiting, high, medium, and low, or configure them to suit your shop’s terminology.
- Ability to run reports at the task and work order levels.
- Ability to capture metrics and run reports on technician time, including by work category, detail, or summary.
Of course, choosing a technology solution for a well-run maintenance shop requires much more than tracking work orders and technician time. Whether you are a veteran to fleet maintenance management, or new to fleet maintenance, feel free to reach out to the Agile Fleet team. Our team is made up of subject matter experts that have had a hand in automating fleets across the world, and we can offer advice and assistance for your maintenance shop. For more information about the FleetCommander Maintenance solution, give us a call at 408-213-9555, extension 1.