Repair Planning Can Improve Shop Efficiency, With or Without Other Lean Processes - BodyShop Business

Repair Planning Can Improve Shop Efficiency, With or Without Other Lean Processes

Repair planning – tearing a vehicle down to create an accurate damage assessment before the actual repair begins – is a simple way for even non-lean shops to improve cycle time, estimate accuracy and customer and insurer satisfaction. Lean expert Steve Feltovich, manager of business consulting services for Sherwin-Williams, emphasized this during the Sherwin-Williams EcoLean Level 2 workshop held in Detroit, Mich., earlier this week.

During the two-day workshop, Feltovich, along with several other experts, shared practical tips for building a lean culture in a body shop.

Feltovich emphasized that in the near future, insurance companies will demand that body shops implement clearly defined, efficient repair processes and will avoid working with shops that operate in a traditional model.

“They’ll tell you, ‘We’re tired of subsidizing your inefficiencies with our paychecks,’” Feltovich told the group of 25 shop owners and managers from the U.S. and Canada who are members of Sherwin-Williams’ A-Plus network.

The goal of repair planning, Feltovich said, is to eliminate the amount of time vehicles are sitting idle in the shop area, waiting for someone to work on them, to zero. In other words, if a vehicle’s in the shop, someone should be working on it and moving the job toward completion. Techs should focus on one task and one vehicle at a time and avoid time-wasters like waiting for parts or jumping between several jobs.

Although waiting for parts might seem like an inevitable element of collision repair, repair planning reduces this problem by ensuring that the correct parts are ordered and delivered before the repair begins.

“If a part that’s crucial to the repair isn’t in yet, then you shouldn’t even think of bringing that vehicle onto the shop floor for a repair,” Feltovich advised.

He recommended creating a repair planning team composed of an A-level tech, parts person, estimator and salesperson to create repair plans and sell jobs. Every last element of the repair, including paint formulas, should be mapped out before the repair begins. As time goes on, Feltovich said, shops will be better able to predict delivery times and avoid supplements, which will improve relationships with customers and insurers alike.

Feltovich offered several other time-saving tips to improve efficiency in the body shop:

• Manage LKQ parts during repair planning – don’t put car in the workshop and then find out a part won’t fit.

• Label all parts during disassembly to speed up the rebuilding process.

• Tag wiring connectors during tear-down, including connectors that aren’t used for anything, to reduce confusion during reassembly.

• Instead of repeating the task of writing on every car that enters the shop with markers, create a library of reusable magnets or stickers to label vehicle damage – for example, stickers that say “prior damage” and other commonly used phrases.

• Make sure commonly overlooked parts, like radiator and bumper brackets, are included on estimates.

• “Tap the creativity of your employees” by seeking their input during your transition to lean. Ask them how they think they could work more easily and efficiently.

“If you experience problems with your processes, it’s usually not a people problem but a problem with the process itself,” Feltovich said.

The EcoLean workshop also included a tour of Collex Collision’s Clinton Township facility, where shop owner John Gagliano and his staff have been implementing lean processes for years. Collex, founded in 1975, now has 11 shops in Michigan and three in Florida and implements the same lean processes in each shop.

The group also toured Ford’s Rouge factory, where F-150s are built, and learned about paying employees in a lean environment, building an environmental management system and marketing eco-friendly practices. Shop owners and managers also shared advice with one another during lean round table discussions. The two-day workshop was part of Sherwin-Williams’ A-Plus University course offerings.

More information:

Sherwin-Williams A-Plus University course offerings
Steve Feltovich

You May Also Like

Body Bangin’: The Employer-Student Disconnect

Micki Woods interviews Raven Hartkopf, lead collision instructor at Collin College in Texas, on what students want from a shop employer.

Micki Woods, master marketer for collision repair shops and owner of Micki Woods Marketing, has released the latest episode of "Body Bangin'," the video podcast that is taking the industry by storm!

In this episode, Woods interviews Raven Hartkopf, lead collision instructor at Collin College in Texas, on students' desire for shops to work around their school schedule and let them work part-time ... yet most shops don't offer a part-time position. If a shop does do this and is flexible with the student, once they're done with school, they typically stay with that shop and go full-time. Are shops missing an opportunity here?

Body Bangin’: Why Follow OEM Repair Procedures?

Micki Woods interviews Logan Payne of Payne & Sons Paint & Body Shop on the importance of following OEM repair procedures.

Body Bangin’: Getting Paid for Calibrations

Micki Woods interviews Andy Hipwell and James Rodis of OEM Calibration on how to get started doing ADAS calibrations.

Body Bangin’: What Are The Consolidators Up To With Laura Gay

Micki Woods interviews Laura Gay of Consolidation Coach on the current state of auto body shop consolidation.

Body Bangin’: The Magic of a Massive MSO with Patrick Crozat

Micki Woods interviews Patrick Crozat, the COO of G&C Auto Body, which is the largest privately-owned, family-owned auto body shop group.

Other Posts

Body Bangin’: Changing Your Mindset with Mike Jones

Micki Woods interviews Mike Jones of Discover Leadership Training on changing your mindset to change your life.

Body Bangin’: Rivian Collision Program and Insurance

Micki Woods interviews Frank Phillips, collision repair program manager of Rivian, on how Rivian’s collision program works.

Body Bangin’: Favorite Takeaways from the Southeast Conference

Live from the Southeast Collision Conference, Micki Woods does a post-show wrap-up on the Southeast Collision Conference with the SCC committee.

Body Bangin’: Overcoming Objections

Live from the Southeast Collision Conference, Micki Woods interviews Ron Reichen and Barry Dorn on overcoming objections, the talent shortage and the SCRS blend study.