Top Heavy

I often get asked if I think an organization is “top heavy” – meaning “do I have too many employees in the front end”. Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’, but often times my answer is “it all depends”. What does it depend on? In my opinion, it depends on whether those individuals in positions other than technician are supporting technician production. An organization gets top heavy when they have too many people who are being paid salaries that are not connected to production. If someone is being paid to do a job as part of an automotive repair shop, they had better be supporting the product that makes money for the shop. Auto repair shops sell time. They don’t make parts, donuts, or widgets. They sell time. The more time you can sell, the more money will be made. Of course there is only so much time available in a day. As such it is important that as much repair, maintenance, and diagnostic work get done in a day. If I’m a technician and I need to look up my own parts, order the parts, fetch the parts, sweep the floor, take out the trash, etc. all during my eight-hour work day then I won’t be able to give you as much time to sell. Anything you can do to help me stay working in my bay will make you more money. What kind of positions make a company “top heavy”? Parts runners, parts managers, maintenance people, various gophers, and other personnel not directly related to working on a vehicle. How do you determine if you are top heavy? Look at what everyone within that organization does. How does what they do support production? If a parts manager also stages parts, runs parts out the technicians, looks up parts, orders parts etc. then they are most likely increasing production since a technician doesn’t have to do all of that. Another consideration is how many RO’s per day do your service advisors handle? They should be touching 10 – 12 per day. In the dealer environment they are being asked to handle up to 18! If you’re counter folks are dealing with 5 or 6 RO’s each day, and you have a parts manager – you are top heavy! If they are maxed out – you need a parts manager! The short answer of “it depends” is easy to say…but very true. You’ll need to look at the big picture of your organization to really determine if you have too much non-production head count. If you have any questions about whether your organization is “top heavy” feel free to call or email me!

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