Boating Industry

February 2014

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{ SERVICE } tion and, ultimately, even how many sales [will be generated]. We've got it broken down to where we know what the economic return is per boat slip." For service departments of all size, Bohling recommends managers include three items in their daily reporting: clocked-in hours, productive hours — how many of those hours are spent on a work order — and efficiency per job. Knowing if jobs were done on time will motivate technicians and give management something to follow to make incremental improvements within the department. He also recommends focusing on the emotional side of service, remembering that return business is the key to future profitability. "You've got to think: 'Am I doing it fast enough?' because everybody wants their boat in today and out tomorrow," Bohling said. "Well, we've got to achieve that somehow, because if we're going to be around tomorrow, we first have to figure out what does the customer need?" P40x44-BI14FEB-MFService-dv.indd 43 MARKET FOCUS SECTION After reporting is in place, he recommends attending a Spader Business Management five-day management seminars, which helped the company implement incentivebased pay and turn around its service department 15 years ago. Lastly, the key to making sure the service department is profitable, is setting the correct hourly rate. The calculation, he said, should begin with the ideal profit margin. For Seattle Boat Company, that meant increasing its rate from $79 to $119 to achieve a 10-percent profit margin. "You'll never make it if you're not charging enough per hour on your retail labor rate," he said. "You'll just keep on going backwards." "I've seen the exact same plan fail miserably or work miraculously, so it's really knowing your team." ADVICE FROM A PRO Grounded in reality through her experience in the field, Valerie Ziebron is an industry trainer with a well-earned reputation through her independent work and also as a consultant for Yamaha Marine University. Like Seattle's Bohling, Ziebron urges business owners and managers to monitor key service metrics that provide a foundation for creating improvements that are customized to your staff and business. Such metrics include service efficiency, hours per work order and — Valerie Ziebron February 2014 | Boating Industry | 43 1/8/14 12:59 PM

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