Industry
3 min read

Maximizing Efficiency in Collision Repair: The Importance of Touch Time and Cycle Time

Written by
Kirk Carlisle
Published on
August 2, 2023

In the fast-paced collision repair industry, maximizing efficiency is crucial. Two key metrics, touch time and cycle time play a significant role in measuring and improving the productivity of collision repair shops. While cycle time often takes the spotlight, touch time is equally important and often overlooked. By understanding and optimizing these metrics, collision repair facilities can deliver faster and more accurate repairs, ultimately benefiting their business and customers.

Touch Time and Cycle Time: Understanding the Difference

Touch time refers to the duration technicians actively work on a vehicle during the repair process. It directly measures the efficiency and productivity of the technicians involved. On the other hand, cycle time encompasses the entire repair process, including waiting periods for parts, approvals, or other external factors that can impact the overall timeline. If the wrench is spinning, that’s touch time. If the tech walks to a supply cabinet, that just adds to cycle time.

The Impact of Improving Touch Time on Cycle Time

While cycle time is affected by external factors beyond the shop's control, touch time remains a valuable metric that can be improved in-house independently of other variables. Enhancing touch time directly contributes to reducing cycle time. The more time technicians spend working on a vehicle, the faster the vehicle moves to the next stage. In other words, if I have to wait on approval or part, I’d rather start waiting today than tomorrow. Improving touch time is an effective way to impact cycle time and overall shop efficiency positively.

What Can Improve Touch Time?

The nice thing about touch time is that it is a factor you control. There are several strategies that collision repair shops can implement to enhance touch time and, in turn, reduce cycle time:

1. Streamlining the repair process: Identifying and eliminating unnecessary steps in the repair workflow can significantly improve touch time. Are there steps in your process that require a technician to stop work?

2. Optimizing resource utilization: Ensuring technicians have access to the right tools and equipment when needed can boost touch time. This includes optimizing your space. If a job stops because a technician must wait on or search for a resource, cycle time increases. Investing in advanced tools and technology that enhance efficiency can further optimize resource utilization. 

3. Training employees: Providing comprehensive training to technicians on the most efficient repair techniques and tools can enhance touch time. Continuous skill development empowers employees to perform their jobs more effectively. 

4. Leveraging technology: Utilizing software and hardware solutions tailored for collision repair shops can improve touch time. We touched on this in our recent blog, ‘Essential Tech-Based Tools for the Modern Shop.’ Mobile measuring systems, ADAS scanning solutions, and apps like the Dents.co Damage Appraisal App all help ensure more accurate front-end estimating, allowing the technician to work with fewer supplement interruptions. 

These are just a few strategies collision repair facilities can use to improve touch time, reduce cycle time, and enhance overall efficiency.

In the collision repair industry, both touch time and cycle time play critical roles in measuring and improving efficiency. While external factors influence cycle time, touch time is a more accurate measure of a shop's productivity. By improving touch time through streamlining processes, optimizing resources, providing training, and leveraging technology, collision repair facilities can achieve faster, safer, and more accurate repairs. The Dents.co app can get you started on boosting touch time. Using the LiDAR technology built into current Apple devices, the Dents.co app scans and captures panel damage and allows the estimator to select the most commonly required additional operations to facilitate repairs. You can try the Dents.co app free for 10 days at https://dents.co

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