How do you cure a “Bubba”? Part 226 Nov, 2007 By: Jack Duncan imageSource
How do you cure a “Bubba”? Part 2
We talked in a previous article about “Bubbas”... and to refresh what that
is, a Bubba is the equivalent of time that is lost in a technician’s day. It is
not uncommon to see more than an hour per day in lost service technician time
that is above our expectations of 7.2 productive hours per day. Productive hours
are hours spent traveling to and repairing equipment. If you have one hour of
additional non-productive time and you have eight technicians, you have one
“Bubba,” or one full time technician who is doing nothing. This will undoubtedly
make it more difficult to maintain the percentage of Payroll to Service Revenue
because of the additional personnel on staff to cover these inefficiencies.
If they lose one hour per day, each technician will lose approximately 20
hours of productive time per month. This loss will, in turn, lower their
customer hours by that amount and increase their Burden rate approximately $10
Increasing burden rate will also increase Operating Cost per Copy and either
raise Service Rates or Lower Margins (or both).
To cure the “Bubba” is to recapture that lost time by increasing productive
hours. To do this, we can either adopt a “Police” philosophy of using GPS to
track vehicles, show up at technician’s calls, call customer accounts and ask to
talk to the technician (not their cell phone) etc, or we could get to the root
of the problem and fix it.
If we look at it from a technician’s point of view, what do they get for
their efforts when they complete a call? Then yet another call, and another
after that? There is no reward except for more calls. Everywhere they must go is
because some product is not working.
Why should people think that salespeople are the only ones who respond to
perks like bonuses, short trips, etc? I think not.
What we really should be doing is making sure that the technician feels
appreciated, and reward him/her accordingly for helping to operate your business
We should use incentives for them using parts wisely, for taking the extra
time on a call to ensure that they will not have to be back on a recall anytime
soon, etc. When it’s 3:45pm in the afternoon and they are deciding whether or
not to go home or catch that last call in the area, they should feel motivated
to run the call and capture the copies that increase a reward. That extra call
can increase their productive hours and lower their Burden Rate, increasing
their (your) profit!
Why not go a step further and use a trip to reward the top performers of the
year? Not necessarily two weeks in Bali all expense paid, but something that
would make a group of technicians happy. With your tech being proactive, I’ll
bet you will have already saved enough money to pay for that trip and then some
with the increase in profits garnered, while likely having raised the level of
customer satisfaction to boot!
It’s my opinion that, when used properly, bonus programs can reap large
rewards in Bottom Line Profits as well as increase employee satisfaction and
longevity. Lower employee turnover means lower training expenses, less
troubleshooting with parts, and more productivity.
So what could we base a bonus on? First, it must be measurable and not
subjective. We technicians want to know where the information actually came
from, not where we thought it came from.
First on the list of measurable information would be something such as First
Call Effectiveness, or Efficiency. In other words, total service calls performed
in a time period minus recalls and incomplete calls, or the number of times they
fixed the equipment right the first time without having to go back again.
Another good idea is to consider their Average Response Time. Did they make
your Goal of 4.0 hours or less?
As for Asset Management, we could look at their Inventory Turns. A good Goal
should be to achieve 6.0 – 8.0 turns on their car stock.
Copies produced in a month or quarter would be a big help as well. If you
were able to produce Revenue and Cost per Copy, you could calculate Gross Profit
on each technician and share a percentage with them as an incentive.
You could use things like “Go / No Go gates” for things such as Daily
Productive Hours, Gross Profit Percentage, and others. The list goes on. The
main thing is to use measurable goals that also help you achieve your business
goals, rewarding outstanding performance. Incentive programs should reward your
best performers while also benefiting your bottom line. When set up and managed
properly, these programs will not cost money, but instead produce Significant
So what will it be - Police State or Reward State? Either way – Bubba has
got to go!
Jack Duncan is the President of JDC-Jack Duncan Consulting, an organization
that specializes in helping dealers become more efficient and profitable in the
service and supply arena as well as educating service managers in the business
aspect of service. To learn more, visit
or contact him at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (469) 287-2605.