The Case for a Dealership Triage Process: Part 2

By: Mark Martincic

August, 31st 2015

Let’s look at how the triage process is implemented in dealerships that are finding triage a positive addition to their day-to-day management.  The Service Writers manage the triage bay or bays.  They perform the initial evaluation, assign each job to the Triage Technician in the order that is applicable and they check and verify applicable bulletins. They also ‘validate warranty coverage’, etc. on all vehicles prior to assignment.


The Triage Technician will use any performance diagnostic forms or information provided by the OEM to support their diagnosis.  The goal of the triage process is to provide information regarding the repair to the Service Management Team for proactive communication with the customer regarding estimated cost, time estimates and needed parts availability.  This provides  the information concerning the exact skills needed to assign the specific technician needed to complete the repairs. (In many cases, the skill needed is less than the skill required for the diagnosis.) The Service Writer then checks for parts availability, builds the estimate – including the labor operations needed – and contacts the customer for authorizations for the repairs. These steps are completed before sending the Repair Order to dispatch.


The Service Writers responsibilities include:

Determining parts availability, if applicable, using the dealership’s estimating system for operation codes and communication with parts back counter.

Reviewing the findings from a courtesy vehicle inspection.

Building estimate of findings for the customer concerns and from free maintenance inspection.

Contacting the customer and selling features and benefits, using total job pricing.



If Sold

Assigns to dispatch.

Contacts customer before established promised time.

Documents contact in dealership’s DMS and/or estimating system.

Opens lines or revises in dealership’s DMS.

Repairs completed by Triage Process Technician must be less than two hours total time, including diagnosis.

There must not be any additional vehicles waiting for diagnosis if repairs are performed in a triage bay.

Close case file if opened; Foreman’s responsibility.

Repairs completed in the main shop include repairs with a total time of more than two hours and repairs waiting for parts.

Provide pro-active updates to your customer on parts/repair status, time.


If you can increase technician efficiencies, you produce more with the same number of technicians.  You shorten the customer’s down time and you make more profit in your department.  The decision is up to you.

See our Part 1 of this article to get started!


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