“Sometimes I think pushing a repair through a collision center is like putting a bag into the security scanner at the airport,” said John Shoemaker, business development manager for BASF Automotive Refinish Coatings North America. “You put the bag on the belt and hope it comes out the other end without any complications.”
Shoemaker spoke to a group of body shop owners and managers during NACE Automechanika in Atlanta, GA, this past summer about practical production processes and how critical it is to incorporate them into your business.
When Shoemaker walks into a body shop, he often notices half-repaired vehicles waiting for a missed part or sublet vendor to arrive. During his presentation, he stressed the importance of ensuring that everything needed to repair the car is organized in advance.
“Just because you have an estimate and a technician doesn’t mean that the car is ready to be repaired,” he said. “There are little things you are going to need as you work on that vehicle, and if you don’t have those things, your technicians are just staying busy working on cars but not being productive---completing repairs and getting them out the door.”
His advice: “Don’t put a vehicle in production until you are 100 percent sure that it’s ready to be repaired and will go through the shop without any stoppage.”
Shoemaker said that careful production planning can reduce the “chaos” of collision repair. Experience has shown that it can also help with productivity and reduce cycle time, improve touch time and ultimately improve overall customer service and a shop’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
Shoemaker shared five key steps to repair production planning:
1) Systematic damage appraisal inspection – itemizing all operations necessary to repair the vehicle
The first step is to review the vehicle using a damage appraisal as a guide and disassemble the car to ensure all of the damage is identified. As you disassemble the vehicle, systematically list the parts that will be needed for any identified repairs.
“A certified tech and damage appraiser should identify every single step that’s involved in repairing that vehicle on day one,” said Shoemaker.