Electronics repair, as any field vet would relate, is a cumbersome business. Taxing not only in the physical sense – but also mental. It is the domain of the hallowed few. Guilded pros who shun society in the service of their device salvaging passions. People who, in the narrow PC repair sense, are not afraid to leverage either laptop repair shop software or their intellect to make ends meet.
Now, the most common issue faced by the bulk of repair industry techs has to do with workflow lags. Irritating impediments that arise either from deployed software frameworks or human complacency. The end result of these pauses, however, is pretty much the same.
Falling productivity – deteriorating profits.
And not to mention a world of loss (not only material) to contend with.
On Lapses that Occur Repeatedly
Over the years, in the field, I’ve come across a seemingly infinite number of these encumbrances. The majority of these hiccups were new and unprecedented. A few, however, occurred in predictable patterns following particular lapses.
Since I’m all about giving back to the community (and aspiring field techs), I’ve identified three common breaches below. Further, I’ve also described a practicable solution that worked well towards resolving them.
Just a short disclaimer before you jump headlong in, though – a reminder of the obvious:
None of the prescriptions given beneath each lag are set in stone. For best results, they may require modifications to suit your particular scenario.
And now that that’s settled, it’s time to get to the nitties of the case!
Workflow Lag No. 1
The employee/tech learning curve failing.
No worries if you don’t find this header self-explanatory.
The lag I’m referring to here, simply put, has to do with repair workers’ inability to get with the business program.
This could be the case due to several reasons.
Employees may find, for instance, that they’re unable to understand the repair shop’s workflow. This, in turn, could be caused by their lack of knowledge about the products and services being offered.
I’ve seen this happen on a number of occasions with workers hailing from unrelated verticals. Say, a general business manager who previously worked in a grocery retail setting.
Repair, by its very nature, is a specialized vocation. In a default sense, it requires a certain temperament to get used to. Not all people, on account of their varied subjectivities, are suited to its mandatory hustle.
Sometimes, the software interface used in the proceedings may prove too technical for some. Even the best laptop repair shop software apps, for example, are notorious for taking a didactic toll on learning non-affiliates. They innately require techs to surmount a high learning threshold – which not all are comfortable with.
Now, the unthinking solution here is to focus on making good hires. Recruiting workers who not only belong to the same, technical niche – but who also boast some computing prowess. This approach is the only guarantor of low business overheads in the long run. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to make do with less-than resources who remain ‘essentially immune’ to any training runs.
Workflow Lag No.2
Or, more specifically, the times when it falls short of demand.
Even with recourse to a solid, professional repair shop software, low stock levels are a reality that most ‘fix’ businesses have to deal with. In most instances, a lack of device parts or components is enough to trigger a ‘forward lash’. A situation where the entire workflow, down to gadget checkouts, is compromised.
Now, while no one can lay claim to controlling trade externalities, there is something that can be done to cushion the fall.
I’m talking hoarding – in the positive sense! And to the extent where additional storage costs don’t set in; beckoning loss.
In practice, this could work by topping all inventory orders with an additional part or two. This ‘rainy day’ stock comes in handy when vendors prove unresponsive to refueling requests. Additionally, these reserves make for neat extras all primed for the up-sell.
Trust me, you don’t want to face off against irate customers charged with explicit work ETAs. No degree of reasoning is ever enough to placate them when they’ve been led to believe something different. There’s no concept of an easy win here – only a prior opportunity to be proactive.
Workflow Lag No. 3
Yes – it happens. And more often in repair settings than the uninitiated would think.
A lot of the silent angst in repair businesses arises from the nature of the beast. I’ve already provided a brief description of the typical working tech’s ghettoized inclinations. Let me extend the argument by revealing another truth:
Specialist techs don’t work any better in groups of the like-minded. Here, in fact, they stand a higher risk of getting into egotistical skirmishes with their peers. Arguments that can arise on the back of such personally harrowing concerns as:
- Differences in repair methodology
- Refusal of token homage (from juniors towards seniors)
- Personality idiosyncrasies (some techs are insufferably irritating!)
I’ve even been witness to impromptu scuffles erupting on differences in operating POS software!
In my experience, the best way to mitigate fallouts of this nature is to keep the workers comfy.
Now, any such attempt would naturally entail remuneration increments. The wise repair store manager, however, would be well advised to offer more working perks. Sweeten the pot; so that the incentive to rise above any individual differences becomes compelling.
At the end of the day, resolving workflow lags in repair shops is a ‘do as you go’ endeavor. You can’t anticipate outbreaks with any degree of communicable precision. But you can’t rest on your laurels, either. There has to be a concerted, middle-line approach; one that doesn’t solely rely on the mechanizations of laptop repair shop software (to take our example).
That’s all for my take on the subject.
As a repair tech or shop owner, how do you go about alleviating operational or strategic breaks in your working routine?
Let me know in the comments.