Northside Lexus was the first dealer shop in Houston to begin spraying with PPG’s Envirobase High Performance waterborne paint system.
Many shops can boast about their excellent repairs, but Northside Lexus in Houston, TX, has the awards to back up their claims.
Type: Dealership Collision Center
In 2016, the shop was designated as the Lexus Certified Shop of the Year for the third time in a row and the fourth time altogether. Shop Manager Rob Ochoa commented, “It feels great to receive four national awards – no other Lexus dealer has more than one! Our processes and the commitment to quality that our team shares are what separate us from the competition. It all comes down to our people, and I am extremely proud of the ladies and gentlemen who serve our clients. Take care of your employees because they are your second family, and if you sincerely treat them that way, you’ll get the results you’re looking for!”
Northside Lexus added its collision center in 2004--eight years after the dealership opened--due to a high demand for repairs, and the shop repairs over 200 vehicles monthly. As a Certified Lexus Collision Center, Northside Lexus requires all 26 employees to pass tests pertaining to the manufacturer’s models, past and present, and many of their technicians possess multiple ASE Certifications related to their job descriptions.
Additionally, 60% of the shop’s technicians are Master Certified. “To be a Master, you must be with the company for at least three years, and you must attend specific training during the course of the year related to proper repair methods for Lexus vehicles," Ochoa explained. "All body techs must have current welding certifications, while painters must have taken color matching classes and advanced color matching.”
Northside Lexus has received four Lexus Certified Collision Center of the Year Awards.
Color matching is a key component to customer satisfaction, so it’s imperative that Northside Lexus relies on the best refinishes available. “In 2009, we were the first Lexus dealer in Houston to start spraying PPG Envirobase® High Performance waterborne paint, thus helping the environment with less pollution," Ochoa stated. "We knew it would be mandated one day, so we wanted to get ahead of the curve. From a color match perspective, it has made the largest difference; when we sprayed with solvent, we would redo bumpers for color match problems more than 50% of the time, but now, it’s extremely rare to hear that we have to redo a bumper for color issues. It definitely helps profitability when you get paid to paint a bumper once and don’t have to paint it again. PPG made the process that much better!”
Northside Lexus is no stranger to process improvements. According to Ochoa, “We don’t operate our business as most shops do. We have distinct processes to help output and ensure that once we start on a vehicle, we don’t stop until the car is complete. We simply put paperwork before production. Before starting on a car or ordering parts, we obtain a solid estimate that has been approved by our estimator and technicians so we don’t have to repeatedly restart the repair because we don’t have what we need to properly fix the car. Why start on a car that doesn’t have what you need to fix it? This process has made all the difference in the world.”
Of course, change is never easy. “We all know most technicians don’t like change – you simply have to make them understand the benefits, and after they see the potential, you’ve got them," Ochoa pointed out. "Now, our technicians love the Envirobase High Performance waterborne paint, and would never go back to the old system.”
Excellent customer service also helped make the transition easier. “Customer service with our PPG Platinum Distributor, Tasco Auto Color, is outstanding," Ochoa said. If I experience a problem, all I have to do is make a phone call, and it’s handled – it’s that simple. They take care of our needs as we do for our customers, and that’s all we can ask for.”
PPG waterborne has helped Northside Lexus increase productivity and profitability, thanks to its excellent color matching capabilities.
Northside Lexus also recognizes the value of caring for their community. The shop is involved with over 300 charitable organizations including the Ronald McDonald House, the American Diabetes Association, Helping Hands, Autism Speaks and many others.
Unfortunately, every industry also faces its set of challenges, and the collision repair industry nationwide has been experiencing a shortage of incoming qualified technicians. “There is a need for repair technicians and not many are available since there aren’t many young people getting into the collision industry,” Ochoa lamented. “This will continue to be a problem as more units get sold and more people are on the road. We’ve taken a proactive stance to hire people that we feel are trainable; however, this does take time and dedication. That said, once they’ve been trained, they only know your way. Typically, that employee tends to have a stronger commitment to us for training them and giving them a chance. After all, our people make us… or break us.”