Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul area, MN
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 350
In Business Since: 1976
Number of Locations: Nine
DRP Programs: 12+
Established in 1976, LaMettry’s has continued to grow by adhering to the company’s vision statement of “leading the automotive repair industry with commitment to the finest workmanship and treating all people and vehicles with the utmost respect.” LaMettry’s Collision fixes an average of 1,200 to 1,500 vehicles every month. CEO Joanne LaMettry and her sons, J.R. and Randy, run the company. J.R. and Randy grew up in the business and learned the industry by performing literally every job that could be performed in a body shop.
Every LaMettry’s location adheres to industry best practices, including the performance of pre- and post-vehicle scans on every car repaired— a company policy since November 2015. LaMettry’s also works hard to maintain a wide range of OEM certifications and is the only shop in Minnesota authorized to repair Teslas.
To provide some of the finest automotive diagnostics services in the industry today, LaMettry’s proudly uses scanning systems made by Autel, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional diagnostic tools, equipment and accessories in the automotive aftermarket since 2004.
With a crew of 20 mechanics, Zeise has worked at LaMettry’s since 2008 and managed the mechanical side for the company since 2015, so he has witnessed the evolution of vehicle diagnostics and how it has affected the collision repair industry firsthand. To handle his company’s huge workload, which includes PDR, glass, 24-hour towing and Clear- Guard services, Zeise needs scanners that are reliable, up-to-date and relatively easy to use.
Left: With a crew of 20 mechanics, LaMettry’s has been offering mechanical repair services since 2015. Right: Master electronics and safety systems technician Paul Bostel uses the Autel scan tool to perform a pre-scan/blueprint scan on a vehicle at LaMettry’s Collision.
Seventy percent of all the mechanical repairs that Zeise’s crew performs are collision-related and done in-house or on the road by two mobile techs that do most of the more complex diagnostics. The company currently has nine MaxiSYS MS906BTs, one MaxiSYS MS906TS and a MaxiSYS Elite to perform J2534 module programming, in addition to one of the newest release tools, the Autel MaxiSYS Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) Calibration tool package, to ensure all modern vehicles equipped with radar and camera safety systems are calibrated perfectly before leaving the shop.
LaMettry’s Autel diagnostic tools make Zeise’s department look good, he said.
“We’re busy all the time, and we use our Autel devices for most of our diagnostics, including all of the electronics, airbags, restraint systems, steering, suspension, some air conditioning work and all of the ADAS calibrations these newer cars require,” Zeise said. “We always say that our role is to get these cars running right and to make them safe while the collision side makes them pretty.”
Zeise was introduced to Autel randomly after some thieves broke into his van five years ago, giving him an opportunity to do an impromptu product comparison.
“All my scan tools were stolen, so I ended up getting an Autel scanner and a competing device at the same time to do a comparison,” he said. “Quickly, I discovered that the Autel scan tool was more up-to-date with an intuitive interface and a ton of capabilities that the other scanner didn’t have. It allows me to create PDFs to attach to our repair files for when they go over to the collision side.”
Autel has all of the scan tool capabilities that Zeise expects such tools to have and more, he said.
“We have to generate a lot of reports, so we need a scanning system that will do that fast and seamlessly,” he said. “We also need scanners that are highly intuitive so my crew doesn’t have to do a lot of homework to use them. Their capabilities, such as bi-directional control, initializations and calibrations, mean that we don’t have to sublet our diagnostics to a dealership 90 percent of time. And finally, the vehicle coverage that Autel gives us is superior across the board.”
Autel stands out for its comprehensive OEM information—whether it’s for a Ford, Fiat or Ferrari—especially to an MSO like LaMettry’s, which will often repair up to 20 brands every day.
“We used to have to take many of our European vehicles to the dealerships, but now we’re doing them all in-house,” Zeise said. “Our Autel scanning tools tell us when an update is available for each vehicle make, so we can download the information in less than an hour by simply clicking on it.”
Zeise and his crew are enthused about using their Autel MaxiSys advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibration tool many times daily. They will be buying a second one later this year.
“When you acquire a good piece of equipment, it’s not an expense— it’s an investment. Our Autel diagnostic scanning tools have definitely paid for themselves several times over,” he said. “Diagnostics are going to become a bigger and bigger part of everything we do, so our mutually beneficial relationship with Autel is important.”
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To read more auto body shop profiles from the June 2019 Shop & Product Showcase, click here.