Touch Time is defined as the total time worked on a car with value being added to that job. This is typically only a small proportion of the total time the car is in the shop; most of the time is taken up by waiting, moving and queuing. In a Lean environment if we are not adding value it's called 'waste'.

To survive in today's competitive environment, you must look internally to achieve improvements in profitability, as work providers are reluctant to pay more for the same job. In the repair cycle you are only paid for adding value. The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 'Touch Time', or another common term, Average Hours Worked Per Job Per Day, is a good gauge of how much waste you have in your processes.

You may have heard of an industry target of four hours per job per day, very few repairers, if any, would achieve this goal. The average being between 1½ and 2½ hours per job per day. It is worth mentioning that these hours are real hours and not quoted hours at insurance labour rates. Most people we talk to would be shocked to think that they are only working on average 1½ to 2½ hours per job per day. Based on an average Touch Time of three hours, if a job has 15 real labour hours - panel and paint included - this would take six to ten days to repair.

A common myth around Touch Time is that the technician’s efficiency plays a big part in it and if you improve their efficiency you will work more hours on each job each day. The truth is that management plays the biggest part in this KPI. Planning, scheduling and processes affect this KPI the most. The more idle time (WASTE) there is in the process the lower your Touch Time will be. Reducing your idle time (WASTE) is the best way to improve your Touch Time.

In Lean we have an acronym for the main causes of waste, D.O.W.N.T.I.M.E. Let's look at some typical bodyshop processes that have waste and affect Touch Time outcomes:

Over Processing
Not Utilising people’s ability
Transportation of materials
Motion of people
Excess Production

Booking Jobs in for Repair
You can only repair a certain number of jobs each day based on the number of employees and available hours you have. Shops that bring in too much work on a Monday results in jobs sitting around until Tuesday or Wednesday before you start them, this will reduce your Touch Time. If a job has eight real labour hours and it comes in on Monday and you don't start it until Wednesday and get it out on Thursday, your Touch Time is only two hours (eight labour hours divided by 4 days equals two hours per day!) As you can see from this example you could have the most efficient technicians, but because you did not start the repair until Wednesday it impacts your Touch Time.

Parts Not Ordered Prior to Arrival of the Job
If you are not ordering parts until the job arrives your Touch Time will be affected if the job is held up waiting for parts (WAITING/WASTE).

Repair Needs Not Evaluated Prior to Starting the Job
Jobs that have been started and have to stop because a supplementary has been identified and needs approval before continuing (DEFECT/WASTE).

Poor Scheduling
If your technicians are waiting for jobs, and don't know what their next job is or are waiting for instruction, this means jobs are sitting idle, affecting Touch Time.

Batch Priming
If you are batch priming late in the afternoon this means potentially you have completed repair jobs sitting around idle, sometimes from early morning. This creates bottlenecks (OVER PROCESSING/WASTE) the next day as your painters start the day at the same stage the demand for the spray booth is heightened increasing waiting times (WAITING/DEFECT/WASTE).

Old School Scheduling
It is common to scheduling one job to one technician or multiple jobs to one technician and wait until they are ready to start them. In a Lean environment, the focus is on keeping the vehicle moving, so scheduling is aimed at the vehicle and not the technician. Resources are pooled so the process continues, which commonly involves a 'TEAM' approach.

How Do I Calculate My Touch Time?
Most Body Shop Management systems will provide the data if the system is being utilised correctly. Some systems may have a different term for Touch Time. To do a manual calculation at the end of the month the equation is;
Hours Sold ÷ Jobs Completed ÷ Cycle Time Days (Date In to Date Out).

To give you an example, if a shop sells 1,250 sold hours (real hours not quoted) and completes 100 jobs and has an average cycle time of five days, their Touch Time would be 2½ hrs ....... 1,250 / 100 = 12½ hrs per job, 12½ hours / 5 (cycle time) = 2½ hours.

How Will Improving My Touch Time Improve My Profitability?
Improving your Touch Time will enable you to repair more jobs in the same amount of time with less required shop floor area. You will also reduce the amount of 'Work In Progress' you have, freeing up valuable space in your workshop.

Where Can I Go for Help?
Axalta Services holds Lean Education Courses focused at reducing/eliminating waste in your processes:
• Pre Lean
• Lean Foundations
• Lean - 5S & Work Area Optimisation
• Production Management
• Parts Management
• Repair Planning
• Optimising Paint and Material Systems
• General Manager – Financial
• General Manager – Recruiting, Hiring and Training Personnel
• Optimising Paint and Material Systems

Full details on Axalta Services and the latest courses available can be found at the Axalta services website.

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