Preface & Terminology

 The pursuit of perfection is long and arduous impossible journey as it is a human fallacy, a delusion and an illusion.

For purposes of this discussion, we will simply focus our attention on EXCELLENCE!!!!

Labels and terminology utilized in any industry often suggest the point of perception of personnel entrenched in the tradition within that industry. These labels and terminology also set the tone and attitude that becomes expressed in very specific behaviours often negative towards the situation or the circumstance with attributes of blame and shame.

Again for purposes of this discussion a CUSTOMER is a one-time purchaser of a product, a service, a part or an accessory.

CLIENTS on the other hand are loyal long term valuable purchasers of multiple offerings on an ongoing basis which is always the ultimate goal of any business

To change our focus of attention from a closed finite operational and transactional approach to an open infinite and relational point of perception we will refer to all fixed operations personnel going forward as service consultants, service team leaders, parts consultants and parts team leaders.

The Escalated Client Concern Review & Resolution Process will be covered in detail in a separate discussion provided in another Tim’s Top Tips posting. This is called Second Visit Same Concern (SVSC) versus the proverbial “comeback” which has such negative connotations.

The Goodwill Determination & Administration Process will be covered in detail in a separate discussion provided in another Tim’s Top Tips document.

Benefits of Excellent Work Order Administration &  Authorization

  • Improved client satisfaction
  • Minimization of Second Visit Same Concern repairs (SVSC)
  • Reduction of warranty waste and warranty debits
  • Increased service & parts department operating effectiveness & efficiency
  • Leveraging of fundamental best business principles and practices for business success
  • Provide excellent internal control processes

The following are a complete list of the steps in this process followed by detailed discussion of each step.

Step One to Five       Service Consultation Team

Step One:       Work Order Header Information

Step Two:      Client Concern Signs & Symptoms Assessment

Step Three:    Payment Allocation

Step Four:      Client Authorization

Step Five:      Work Order Routing & Responsibility

 Step Six to Ten      Technical Service & Parts Team

 Step Six:       Technician Time Punching and Concern, Cause & Correction Requirements

Step Seven:    Straight Time & Other Labour Hour Requirements

Step Eight:     Added Operation Requirements

Step Nine:      Parts Department Role, Responsibility & Parts Retention

Step Ten:       Information Transfer

Step Eleven to Fifteen      All teams

Step Eleven:    Sublet Charges

Step Twelve:   Labour Operations & Labour Times

Step Thirteen: Work Order Closing Procedures

Step Fourteen: Authorization Coding

Step Fifteen:   Work Order Record Retention & Storage

Step Sixteen: Goodwill & Deductible Administration

Step One

All work order header information must include the vehicle identification number (VIN), Client name, license plate number, in-service date and odometer reading taken directly from the vehicle at the time of the initial work order write-up by the service consultant in the drive thru. This also should be confirmed at the time of the appointment by the appointment coordinator and again by the service technician.

All of this will determine if the vehicle is within normal bumper to bumper warranty parameters, power train warranty parameters, if there is an extended warranty contract and whether a deductible applies. The name of the client AND the actual driver at the time of service must be included in the work order for personal or corporate leased vehicles and when the driver is not the registered vehicle owner.

Step Two

A clear concise Work Order is required with a brief description of each of the client’s concerns on separate lines. Client concern assessment is the process of translating the client’s concerns into signs & symptoms and is the responsibility of the entire service consultation team.

The service consultant is responsible to review the vehicle service history including reviewing the vehicle warranty history in the available online resources to find any required field actions such as Recalls, Special Policies and Technical Service Advisories. (TSA)

Repeated Intermittent Escalated Client Concerns which cannot be duplicated at the time of the Work Order creation are the responsibility of the Service Team Leader and/or Shop Supervisor to diagnose prior to assigning the vehicle to a Technician.

Vaguely written Work Order’s such as “engine stalls” or “oil leaks” without further specific signs and symptoms, circumstances, environmental conditions and parameters are not an acceptable form of documentation.

Clients cannot be charged for diagnosis time related to warranty repairs for most manufacturers without Quality Monitor Reports. (QMR) and specific authorization.

Step Three

There must be a clear understanding of the responsibility for charges at the time of the Work Order write-up and while the client is present.

Only the Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor can authorize changes in responsibility for charges prior to the work being performed. The reason for the changes, date and time as well as the signature of the Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor giving the authorization must be recorded on the shop copy of the Work Order and on the electronic system with appropriate system controls in place only allowing authorized personnel to make such changes.

If additional charges will be made to the client, the client must be called, advised of the changes and authorization requested prior to performing the work. The date, time, name and telephone number of the person providing the authorization along with the signature of the service consultant who contacted the customer must be recorded adjacent to the operation. Use of the written estimate function in the retailer management system as well as the use of email and text is encouraged to confirm the client’s authorization and create an audit trail.

Step Four

A client signature must be obtained on the work order to legally authorize the client pay and warranty repairs.  

If the vehicle is dropped off after hours the client’s key envelope complete with notes must be attached to the Work Order as authorization for the repairs.

If the client drops off the vehicle and provides authorization by telephone, the name and telephone number of the person giving the authorization as well as the date and time of authorization and the signature of the service consultant must be recorded with the client’s specific instructions.

Work orders for new or used vehicles in retail inventory may be initiated by another manager and submitted to the service department; however, all warranty or goodwill repairs must be authorized and signed by the Service Team Leader prior to the work being performed. This includes warranty repairs done to new vehicles during the Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). System controls must be in effect to allow only authorized service management to authorize the repair. The reason given, the identification of the person authorizing the repair as well as the date and time must be electronically recorded.

Step Five

Following authorization (signature) by the client, the shop or hard copy must be separated from the other Work Order copies. The shop copy is to be given to the technician as the working copy. System controls must be in place to allow only authorized service team leadership to add operations to the Work Order as outlined in Step #8.  The original copy bearing the client signature must be retained.

Step Six

The technician is to clock on and off the shop copy for each assigned operation, noting what was found as the root cause of the client’s concern and what was done to correct the concern in terminology congruent with the manufacturer’s language. The time punches and descriptions of cause and correction must be properly cross-referenced to the client’s concern being worked on. The control tower operator/dispatcher must maintain a separate technician payroll record which clocks the technician on and off each Work Order and accounts for all the technician’s time, regardless of the type of repairs being performed. The hours paid to the technician must be clearly shown on the time ticket which is affixed to the shop copy.

The technician must clock on and off each operation electronically and record the cause and correction for the repair.

The technician payroll records must be maintained by someone other than the technician.

Alterations to time clocking on time tickets, missing time clocking or handwritten clocking requires the Service Team Leaders review and authorization.

Step Seven

If unusual circumstances are encountered which would require straight time, the technician is to contact the Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor for authorization prior to the work being performed. The Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor must authorize the technician to proceed on a straight time basis but with  very specific time restrictions. The Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor must initial the “on” time punch, noting the reason for the straight time. Separate on/off time punches are required for all straight time. The Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor must justify the accuracy and necessity of the straight time request and provide an explanation on the shop copy along with the authorization signature. The “on” clock must be electronically authorized by the Shop Supervisor with an electronic notation of the reason for the “on” authorization prior to work being performed.

Technician skill level, inefficiency or lack of training is not sufficient justification for straight time. OEM Labour Time Guides include time for Strategy Based Step Down Logic Diagnosis. Requests for straight time should be rare exceptions in unusual circumstances.

Step Eight

If during the course of completing an assigned repair the technician discovers an additional required safety related repair that clearly would not have been apparent to the client, the Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor must be contacted for authorization prior to the work being performed. The Service Team Leader or Shop Supervisor must verify the need for the additional repair, the responsibilities for the charges and must add the operation in ink on the front of the shop copy stating the reason the operation is necessary and, authorize by signature or initials, adjacent to the operation. In cases where the additional work will result in additional charges to the client, the client must be contacted for authorization as outlined in Step #3.

System controls must be in effect to electronically restrict the addition and authorization of warranty operations to specific Service Team Leadership. The need for the added operations must be confirmed by the specific Service Team Leader and such confirmation electronically documented.

All added operations are to have complaint codes submitted on the warranty claim.

Step Nine

All parts used in repairs must be cross referenced (line coded) to the specific repair to which they apply. All warranty replaced parts must be returned to the Parts Department for retention and disposition as required by OEM warranty policies and procedures. All replaced parts with visible defects must have the defective area clearly marked. Acknowledgement of receipt of the used parts must be clearly indicated on the shop copy of the Work Order and electronically acknowledged on the Work Order. Replaced parts associated with client pay repairs must be made available to the customer along with an explanation of why the repair was necessary.

Step Ten

A brief description of the cause of failure and correction as stated by the technician on the shop copy must be transferred to all other copies of the Work Order or the invoice. However, when transferring the information to an invoice the phrase “added operation” must be included next to each operation which was added after the initial Work Order creation.

All items originally entered on the Work Order at the time of creation must be accounted for on the invoice.

Step Eleven

Sublet charges to the OEM cannot exceed established labour times or net cost to Dealer, whichever is lower. Sublet repairs must be properly cross-referenced so that the original sublet receipt can be easily located. A vehicle license plate number is acceptable on towing receipts in place of the VIN in most cases.

Step Twelve

The person flat rating the Work Order’s is to select the labour operation related to the key failed part from the OEM Warranty Labour Time Guide/Wizard which is closest in description to what the technician noted was done to correct the client’s concern. If the technician has not performed all the work described in the applicable service manual or the OEM Warranty Labour Time Guide/Wizard for the operation in question, the time payment is to be reduced from flat rate to clock time. Again, in most cases there must be no more than one hour labour operation per repair case unless otherwise authorized.

For paint repairs, each panel repair should be a separate case unless labour operations groups a number of vehicle areas. Multiple repair cases for one client concern will be considered to be added operations and will be subject to all of the requirements outlined in Step #8. Straight time as outlined in Step #7 is to be claimed as “other labour hours” with the failed labour operation.

Technicians are never allowed to apply labour times to the Job Card.

The Warranty Administrator or Tower Operator/Dispatcher must use the labour operation that is closest in description to the work performed. Various Product Service Bulletins, Recalls and Special Policies provide specific labour operation codes and times which must be used. There is usually only one labour operation per repair case.

Step Thirteen

Revisions to invoices must never be permitted. Any changes to final invoices must be made using established accounting procedures to properly allocate all adjustments.

Any Work Order’s that are generated as a result of previous inspection, or for parts on order must be clearly cross referenced to the previous Work Order and a copy of the inspection or parts order attached to the client signature Work Order copy.

Step Fourteen

Warranty self-authorization has given retailers the opportunity to process warranty claims that provide fair decisions to clients, retailers and the manufacturer. Examples of this are the ability to process increased Dollar Threshold Repairs and Owner Goodwill Adjustments beyond the warranty terms, conditions and limitations. All authorization codes must be approved and signed by the Service Team Leader or Asst. Service Team Leader acting on behalf of the Retailer prior to claim submission and preferably prior to completion of the accounting section of the work order invoice. The authorization code, date and signature (initials) must be recorded on the warranty claim copy.

Step Fifteen

All documents and records must be retained as required by the current OEM Policies and Procedures Manual. Vehicle history files must be maintained in a manner whereby complete information is retrievable quickly and easily for review by retail facility personnel with clients or manufacturer’s personnel at the time of discussion.

Step Sixteen

A Goodwill Determination Process Tracking Form must be completed to support all goodwill and deductible waiver decisions. This is necessary to ensure that all relevant information is gathered, and consistent decisions rendered. Retailers, district service consultants and client communications centre personnel will all follow this process. Completed Goodwill Forms must be retained in the vehicle history file in the retail facility where paper history files are maintained, in a separate file in repair order sequence and also retained electronically provided they are easily accessible.


Creating Excellent Work Orders CreatingExcellentWorkOrderVerificationForm2022