Boating Industry

February 2016

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Page 15 of 43 16 | Boating Industry | February 2016 w ith unlimited moving parts, people and boats, running a successful service department can be a bit like playing Tetris. Find that right fit or everything starts stacking up; one mistake builds on another and the next thing you know you've got a disaster on your hands. (For all you Millennials out there, Tetris is how we used to pretend to work before Facebook was invented.) For the best dealers, having organizational systems in place are what separates profit from failure. There's no one answer to what makes a good system, but from whiteboards to digital, having a plan and following it is the key to success. Don't overthink Sometimes a simple system can be best. That's the strategy that Danver, Mass., dealer Russo Marine has embraced. Russo has modified a system originally designed by auto industry consultant Reyn- olds & Reynolds for car dealers. With Russo Marine selling, servicing and storing more than 2,000 boats a year, scheduling and dispatching has to be a science, said president/CEO Larry Russo Sr. "It's a system that's very basic; it's easy, it's simple and everybody in the company can go look at [it] and see what every tech is doing today," Russo said. "We've been using it for 25 years and we haven't had to modify it too much." It starts with an appointment pad that displays the entire week. As requests for service come in, appointments are made and put onto that calendar. At a glance, the service manager (or anyone else for that matter) can quickly look forward to see what's coming. "You're visually able to see blocks of open opportunity and as the jobs arrive or as the jobs are assigned, they get crossed off, they get yellow highlighted, so you get that wonderful satisfaction of moving it off the page," Russo said. To accompany the appointment pad, Russo uses a daily tech schedule, with a block for each individual service technician. For example, the schedule contains seven blocks for the seven techs at Russo's main Danvers location. Under each tech's name, there are six lines for job assignments. Each line con- tains the customer job number, as well as an estimate of how much time is being as- signed to the task. "Everybody at a glance can look at that sheet and see what job has been assigned to whom and how many jobs that tech has for the day," Russo said. "It's a living docu- How the best dealers build an efficient scheduling system BY JONATHAN SWEET "They all know what's going on, but only one person gets to manage the system." — Larry Russo Sr., Russo Marine

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