Lee Rush explains the “managed collision repair” process to the Sherwin-Williams A-Plus Network Vision Group.
Lee Rush is not a theory guy and is happy to admit that. After nearly 20 years of managing body shops, including Sterling Autobody Centers and ABRA Auto Body & Glass, Rush learned that technicians don’t respond much to theory either. So he prefers a more real world, shop floor, “boots to the ground” approach when it comes to improving the operational process of a collision repair facility and coming up with a strategy to execute.
That’s the approach he communicated to the Sherwin-Williams A-Plus Network Vision Group Feb. 24 in Phoenix, Ariz., with the overall goal of reducing cycle time.
Rush, who is currently the strategic account manager, multiple shop operators (MSO)/auto auctions, for Sherwin-Williams, said his main job while managing those big MSOs was to “duplicate process if we decided something was a best practice.” And it was all about managing the “score,” not the sale the score being comprised of daily productive units, labor hours per day and days per repair.
The key to processing repairs through a collision repair facility in the most time effective manner, Rush said, is to identify the “absolutes:”
Categorize and schedule repairs.
Perform express repair on “CAT 1” repairs (explained further down).
Conduct a thorough damage analysis on every vehicle.
Check all parts for correctness.
Pre-assemble as many components as possible pre-refinish.
Perform spray-out test panel.
All reassembles are priority.
Pre-detail all qualifying vehicles (which Rush says has been a “huge discovery” in MSO shops).
Perform quality assurance inspections (frame, body, refinish, final).
Final quality control and test drive every vehicle.
Conduct release meetings daily.
Stage all vehicles for delivery.
Rush said that all of these absolutes address the primary killers of cycle time: parts (missing, wrong, etc.), supplements, damage severity, quality, reassembly and communication.
According to Rush, repairs should be categorized as follows:
CAT 1: Single panel replacement (bolt on) or 5-hour or smaller metal repair.
CAT 2: Same as CAT 1, only a combination of single panel replacements and/or 5-hour or smaller metal repairs.
CAT 3: Single panel replacement (weld in) of 5-hour or larger metal repairs or mechanical.
CAT 4: Multi-panel replacement (weld in).
And Rush highly endorsed a “speed lane” for CAT 1 repairs.
“A speed lane gets CAT 1 repairs off the floor and opens up production,” he said. “It increases the efficiency of guys doing CAT 3 and 4 repairs.”
The point of all this? The MSOs are continually working on process efficiency to better their Key Performance Indicators, and single-store owners will have to do the same if they want to survive. Today, it’s all about the numbers.