Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Final Drive: Make It Progresso or Make It Yourself

There was a TV commercial from the 70's for Progresso soups that had the tag line, "Make it Progresso or make it yourself". This means that Progresso had such high standards that to make anything better, you had to make it yourself. Considering that Progresso was a purveyor of Italian foods for that market, it was a pretty tall claim. I found out recently, this extends to more than just soup.

Recently, I had brought my motorcycle in for a warranty repair of the front ABS cable. If you recall, this problem surfaced on my trip to Crescent City. Normally I do all the maintenance and repairs on my vehicles, but I finally had time to take the bike into the shop to get it fixed and since it was a warranty repair, why not? Josiah of Dirtball Customs in Scottsdale suggested I take it to GOAZ in North Scottsdale for the warranty repair. GOAZ is a multiline dealership that sells and services not only BMWs, but KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Triumph, Ducati and Kawasaki. The owner of GOAZ also owns the Harley Davidson dealer next door.  This said owner is none other than Bob Parsons, owner and founder of GO Daddy. To that end, the dealership is new, modern, clean and seems to be very customer service oriented. I was impressed with them, particularly compared to Victory BMW, which seemed more mom and pop and a little looser, if you know what I mean. If I have anymore warranty issues, I'll give them a shot.

Anyway, in order to replace the ABS cable, a lot of the Tupperware has to come off the bike as does the gas tank. The job took two hours and upon return of my bike, I saw that they washed it as well. Happy as a clam I rode off to go home. When I got home, I noticed some plumbing showing between the gas tank and steering neck I don't normally see. Upon further inspection, it looks like the fuel lines from the gas tank. They should not be visible, but routed along the tank.

I disassembled the Tupperware from the left side of the bike to get a better look at the problem. from what I could tell, the fuel lines were routed in front of the power cable to the Powerlet outlet in the left fairing and the clip securing the power cable was not fastened closed. I disconnected the fuel lines and rerouted them behind the power cable and fastened the power cable to the clip as below:

So now with the Tupperware assembled back in its proper place, we no longer see the jumble of hoses and everything is in its proper place:

 So, to use the terms of the Progresso commercial, I tried Progresso, but I ended up making it myself...or at least finishing it correctly myself. If I had paid for this, I would have taken it back, but had I had to pay for it, I would have done it myself to begin with. Obviously, this is a minor oversight, but one, in my opinion, is more to do with the business model of many dealerships and not with the expertise of the technician. Most car and motorcycle dealerships operate on the incentive plan. This means that if a job has a book time of 5 hours and the technician does it in less time, he or she is making time, which leads to higher pay through commissions or more paid hours. It's not uncommon for technicians to make up to two times their hours, meaning they can do 80 hours of work in a forty hour work week. The basics are, if the dealer charges 12 hours for a clutch job on a K1200LT and the technician does it in 6 hours, the dealer kicks some money to the technician because the technician is onto to another billable job while his time is still being billed on the original job. The downside of this is that in the rush to make time, mistakes get made. Personally, I'd rather get it done right every time than do it too fast to make a little more money, but hey, that's me. 

So, will you make it Progresso, or will you make it yourself?

Thank you for reading this blog. 


Trobairitz said...

What is that term my hubby uses a lot? "If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself."

I find more and more over the years we are not happy with the quality of different workmanship and things need to be correctly. Last year at the triumph dealer they overtightened a crush washer on hubby's Tiger during an oil change and it resulted in a cracked oil pan. Not cool.

Jim L said...

Those words can be very true. In business, time equals money and money is the highest value, not quality. Because of that, the work of the amateur can often exceed the quality of a professional. The difference is, one does it for the love of it, the other does it for the money.

That said, I've often thought that may be I should go into business for myself, but if I do, will I fall into the money trap? :)