Productivity: Going Prepared

The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared.” Being a good ex-second class scout—I never could memorize Morse code—I always aim to be well prepared for every eventuality. Although there are many auto glass technicians who pride themselves on their ingenuity and feel there’s nothing a little “liquid clips” won’t fix, in-field resourcefulness does not translate into a good job. A good job is one that is completed as close to OE as possible with the proper adhesives, moldings, clips and retainers. Going to the job with all of the necessities makes the job easier and faster.

A new technician will trail blaze many a job before gaining the experience to know what’s coming. Many times the technician is given a work order with little knowledge of what will be encountered. It is best to research as much information as possible before embarking on the installation:

—Check articles and write-ups on the vehicle;

—See if there is an installation instruction sheet;

—Inspect the molding and/or clips that came with the glass; and

—Check online forums for help.

The time spent on research will greatly influence the ease and smoothness of the actual installation.

Those technicians that are experienced must also prepare. They know that the mobile unit is an extension of the shop and the supplies and tools necessary to do the job right. It must be inventoried daily and restocked when needed. They know that they should check that:

—Adhesives and primers are within their use-by dates and the quantities are adequate;

—They have the tools needed for the jobs that day;

—All blades are stocked and sharpened;

—Universal mouldings are inventoried;

—Clips and/or clip kits are obtained and present;

—Batteries and back-ups are charged and ready for work;

—All miscellaneous supplies are at sufficient quantities;

Good technicians also know that a well stocked unit means smooth sailing ahead.

Here are some other tips to making the installation as easy as possible, thus making it more productive:

1) Keep your mobile unit as clean and as well-organized as possible. If you have to spend a lot of time looking for a tool or supply, you are wasting the time you could use for other things, like getting home early to see your son’s baseball game.

2) Keep your tool box light. The more tools you have, the more tools you must look through to find what you need. Look for tools that are all-in-one or step-saving. One example might be the adjustable wrench instead of open-end wrenches. Take only the tools you need to do the job. I knew one technician that had a windshield tote and a door glass tote. He saved trips back and forth from the truck to the vehicle.

3) Try to reduce the steps taken to complete the job. Do as much from one side of the vehicle as you can before going to the other side. Keep in mind step two above and reduce the trips to the service vehicle. Use a tote to house all the tools and supplies you will need on a particular vehicle, such as a five-gallon bucket with a tool organizer around the rim.

The key to a productive installation day is not working faster, it is working smarter. A mobile unit affords you a lot of time to think. You are on the road between jobs and that is a perfect time to visualize each upcoming installation. Plan it out and reduce your effort by using you head.