Ready for Your Check-Up? - BodyShop Business

Ready for Your Check-Up?

this repair was graded a damage to an audi gets diagnosed in montrose collision center's A decision has already been made on this door.
When cars enter the Montrose Collision Center at Montrose Ford in Fairlawn, Ohio, they’re treated more like people with broken bones than vehicles with crumpled hoods or bent frames. BodyShop Business Managing Editor Hannah Schiffman witnessed this firsthand during a visit June 30 and talked with Director of Shop Operations and Ford/ASE Master Collision Repair & Refinish Technician of the Year Jim Pease about what makes the shop – and the two other Montrose Collision Center locations he manages – so special.

Pease says he prefers to run the shops like hospitals, starting with a check-up in what he calls the “triage department” to fully assess vehicle damage before any parts are ordered or repairs performed. The results are speedy, organized repairs, satisfied customers and a more profitable shop.

“Most people will write an estimate and it’s just the estimate,” Pease said, standing outside an open garage door while a technician used a pink marker to circle and label chipped paint on a car’s front bumper. “In our world, it’s like going to the hospital and going to the emergency room – we’re going to give you that triage before we actually assign you to a doctor so we know what doctor to give you to.”

A technician and a parts person conduct a thorough examination of each vehicle to ensure estimates are accurate and that the best technician is assigned to each repair.

“We completely disassemble the vehicle to identify all the damage to include the nuts, bolts, clips and fasteners, and we’ve also added a parts person to that process so that we’re accurately identifying all the parts we need,” Pease said.

Pease got the idea for the complete disassembly about four years ago when he noticed technicians often were stuck in a rut he called “start-stop mode.”

“We’d go in to work on a vehicle, then have to stop the repair because we didn’t have an accurate estimate,” he said. Now, the triage process allows most repairs – at least 99 percent, according to Pease – to go from the estimate to final detailing with no errors and no interruptions.

Other unique touches around the Fairlawn shop reflect Pease’s management style – which is centered around “lean” principles – for all three Montrose Collision locations and help keep the repair process error-proof. Each repair is graded A, B, C or D according to level of difficulty, and technicians are assigned to one based on their skill level – a rookie tech is never left alone with a complicated repair. Pease also makes sure that each part needed for a repair is at the technician’s station so work isn’t interrupted for parts searching. Used parts are also hassle-free for Montrose techs in that they’re dropped off and rehabbed in the parts department – an area separate from the shop – and then delivered to the technician ready to install. Car keys are hung on a colored map of the parking lot, and numbers on key tags match parking spot numbers. Each parking space on the key map is color-coded to correspond with the vehicle’s repair status. For example, keys in a green space are for a vehicle that’s ready to pick up. Pease said these details are “no-brainers” that save the shop valuable time and simplify the repair process for everyone.

“We’ve come to find we’re much more profitable, and our cycle time … immediately changed to about four hours a day, and we’re currently running at about seven to seven-and-a-half hours a day touch time, which is close to perfect in an eight-hour day,” Pease said. “We’re very, very close to perfection.”

The triage system’s resulting efficiency has led Montrose Collision Centers to amicable relationships with insurance companies that allow the shop, not the insurer, to dictate repairs.
 
“Because I only do things once, I take control of the repair right up front,” Pease said. “If I identify the damage up front and negotiate the repairs right up front, I don’t have to go back and supplement the estimate … Most people write an estimate, then they disassemble the car in the shop and have to go back to the bargaining table. I don’t have to do that.”

And less time writing supplements means more time to work in the shop and a faster vehicle turnover.

“We’re constantly working on new business while other people are going back two, three or four times to supplement their estimates,” Pease said. “We’re able to fix cars faster than everybody because of that, and other people are losing money because they can’t get cars fixed fast enough."

For more on Montrose Collision Centers, visit www.montrosecollisioncenter.com.

At a Glance

  • Locations: Fairlawn, Alliance and Kent, Ohio
  • Gross Revenue: $9-$10 million
  • Square Footage (Fairlawn): 15,000
  • Number of employees (all locations): 40
  • DRPs: 12

 

You May Also Like

3M Introduces 3M OEM Match Family of Seam Sealers

This new product includes the 3M OEM Match Epoxy Seam Sealer as well as four tip types producing beads matching those of OEM factory seams.

3M has introduced the 3M OEM Match Family – Seam Sealer Solutions for Collision Repair Technicians. This comprehensive product line is specifically designed to meet the needs of auto body technicians as well as distributors serving this customer group.

The 3M OEM Match Family includes the 3M OEM Match Epoxy Seam Sealer, available in four colors — gray, beige, black and white — as well as a set of four tip types that can produce seam sealer beads matching those of robotically-applied OEM factory seams.

Polyvance Announces New Plastic Repair & Estimating Advancement Program

The program combines the company’s estimating and introduction to nitrogen plastic welding courses into a one-day training program.

AASP/MA to Offer Motor Vehicle Damage Appraiser Licensing Course

The AASP/MA announced that they will begin offering the course throughout the Commonwealth this fall.

Survey Finds More Body Shops Researching OEM Repair Procedures

The latest “Who Pays for What?” survey indicates that 61% of shops say they’re researching OE procedures on “all” or “most” vehicles.

Classic Collision Expands into Florida Keys

Classic Collision has announced the acquisition of Cooper’s Paint & Body Shop in Key West, Fla.

Other Posts
People on the Move

Recent personnel news that has appeared on bodyshopbusiness.com.

Consolidator Report

Consolidation news from the week of July 1.

CIECA to Hold Webinar on V2X Technology

The webinar, “Why the Collision Industry Should Be Interested in V2X,” will be held on July 25 at 2 p.m. EST.

Top 5 Stories of the Week

A recap of the top five stories on bodyshopbusiness.com during the week of July 1.