The new facility at CARSTAR Fort Collins was designed with organization and performance in mind. The location, which had been used as a granite storage facility, provided ample room for owner Doug Kaltenberger to install the repair process system he had dreamed about.
First, Kaltenberger and his team designed the production area with technicians in mind, pulling from his 30 years of working as a collision repair technician. Each bay was set up with air hoses, power wash, in-ground lifts and focused lighting to make it more efficient for technicians to work on vehicles. Building during the pandemic provided a unique challenge, but the team was able to open the facility on time and ready to serve customers as they got back on the road.
Then, with general manager Tylor Balistreri at the helm, they implemented a labeling system (initially developed by Kaltenberger in his previous location) that tracks vehicles and their repair status throughout the facility. Each vehicle receives a colored flag denoting the insurer for the vehicle, which gives technicians a quick reference for the repair standards for that vehicle. This was followed by a traffic system (that soon will include stop lights in each repair bay) that shows green for completed, yellow for on-track and red for problems. This serves as a visual cue for which vehicles need attention to stay on track for cycle time and customer satisfaction.
“Everything at CARSTAR Fort Collins is designed with the technician in mind to ensure they have the resources they need to repair vehicles with the highest quality and on time,” said Balistreri, who began his career at Enterprise, then joined the CARSTAR team as a customer service representative. “Doug is a mastermind when it comes to organization, and he learned something from every facility he has visited and incorporated it into the layout here. It is truly a state-of-the-art facility.”
Another critical element of the process-focused repair system at CARSTAR Fort Collins is the CARSTAR proprietary dashboard powered by CCC Intelligent Solutions. The dashboard tracks all of the key performance indicators in real-time on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. It includes a virtual map of the facility, and each car being repaired is reflected on screen. Technicians are trained on the system and responsible for updating their vehicle status on screen — from disassembly to body repair to paint prep to the paint booth to final detailing.
“We have immersed our technicians and our customer service team in the technology and hold the technicians accountable for keeping their vehicles on track in production,” said Balistreri. “We can confirm that parts have been ordered, ensure the technician is ready to install them and that they are set to move the vehicle on to the next step. At first, it was a bit of a new mindset for the technicians, but now we have complete buy-in. They can see the direct impact of their work on our overall productivity, and this is very motivating for everyone.”
With this system in place, Balistreri said the facility now focuses on CARSTAR’s “Five S System” which outlines steps of straightening, shining, systemizing, sustaining and supporting. This has led CARSTAR Fort Collins to deliver cycle times two days better than the Colorado state average.
“I never imagined myself being the general manager of a multi-million-dollar facility, but with Doug’s leadership and the CARSTAR system, I’ve been able to grow in this job and constantly learn new skills,” Balistreri said. “I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”