Marine Center of Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis, needed a better way to catalog service orders and share information across the dealership — so they took a page from the airline industry’s playbook and successfully implemented a modern, employee-friendly process to track boats and streamline team efficiency.
“We all travel,” Fred Book, customer relations director at Marine Center, said. “When you’re in an airport and need to check when a flight is available or see if it’s delayed, you look at a monitor. Right?”
Fred and the department managers at Marine Center of Indiana thought customers, technicians, salespeople and everyone else inside the dealership should also be able to look at a monitor and be able to easily determine the status of a boat scheduled for service.
The system is simple: create a centralized Excel spreadsheet, route it to monitors throughout the dealership and insist on consistent updates. Each job listed is a working repair order containing a customer’s name, location and the technician assigned to the ticket. Data fields are color-coded and correlate with a numerical identifier guiding anyone interested to a boat’s current location.
“We felt if we were all looking at the same data that there wouldn’t be as much confusion,” Fred said. “As service comes in, the service coordinator puts it on that service schedule, and from day to day our technicians can see exactly what they’re required to do — whose boat they’re working on and what timeframe has been allotted to do that.”
Marine Center of Indiana services approximately 1,500 boats each year, and Fred estimates the system increased shop efficiency by at least 15 percent annually.
Up and running for several years now, Marine Center of Indiana has seen a marked improvement in both interdepartmental collaboration and the number of service tickets the dealership completes.
“I think it’s made our shop more efficient, and we don’t find ourselves searching for boats,” he said. “From an incorporation standpoint, there’s not much to it. I think it’s a cheap way to get everyone on the same page.”
Customers have often taken notice as well, which Fred thinks is the No. 1 dividend.
“I think it’s an impressive thing for your customer to see because they can look around and say, ‘wow, it looks like you guys really know what you’re doing,” Fred laughed. “Which we hope they already know.”