Boating Industry

February 2016

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February 2016 | Boating Industry | 17 [ Service Success ] ment that flows from day-to-day. What's not ac- complished on that daily tech route sheet simply gets transferred over to tomorrow's sheet, so you never lose your place. You're loading every day as you go forward." The third component to the system is a whiteboard that keeps a three-week rolling schedule, allowing a long-term look at the sched- ule, as well as promised customer delivery dates. "The whiteboard is where you've now com- mitted to the customer when the job is going to be done," Russo said. "It keeps everyone focused on the long-term jobs that need to be scheduled. Once you commit to a date, with proper manage- ment, make sure that you start that job well in ad- vance to get it done on time and get it done right." One of the most important parts of the sys- tem is that the service manager maintains strict control of all aspects of the schedule to avoid confusion and miscommunication. "If you allow multiple people to make entries, that's where you tend to get off track," Russo said. "So to the best of our ability, it's managed by one person. In that person's absence, it's his job to assign to it one other person. When he comes back, he only has to speak to one person. They all know what's going on, but only one person gets to manage the system." Russo has twice made the move to a comput- erized system, but both times has come back to the paper-based one. The company uses Dockmaster and years ago tried its scheduling system and, more recently, a former service manager created a Google spreadsheet to manage the schedule. "Conceptually it was terrific. It's on your phone, it's portable, you can be anywhere at any time and you can reference it," Russo said. "It just got so unmanageable because it was an electronic document that was in complete flux. It was never stable. The service manager would make changes and people didn't know that changes were made." In the end, the visibility of the current system makes it easier for everyone. This spring, though, Russo will be replacing its whiteboard with a 50- inch flatscreen TV, creating an Excel spreadsheet that mirrors the three-week rolling schedule. Digital solutions As we noted earlier, there's no one answer for how to build a successful system and improve efficiency. Even as Russo was unhappy with a com- puterized system, Hagadone Marine Group has found a Google-based system to work for the Idaho dealer. "Our Google Docs system was created right here," said service manager James Barnhart. "It's simple, just created out of the Google plat- form, but it really works. It does everything we need it to do, and as we launched it in 2013 and refined the process in 2014, it's made a tremendous difference in efficiency and the customer experience." When Barnhart started at Hagadone more than a decade ago, everything was still handwrit- ten and the scheduling system was basically non- existent. Hagadone was billing $400,000 in labor; in 2015 it was closer to $1.5 million. "Everything is on an electronic schedule that's shared online by using Google documents A simple appointment pad and large whiteboard are the key components to Russo Marine's scheduling system. A computerized system has been the best solution for Hagadone Marine Group.

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