For body shop owners and managers who are still “winging it” when scheduling repair jobs, there is a better way to manage the process and proactively run a collision repair shop, according to Dave Luehr and Ron Kuehn.
Luehr, owner of Elite Body Shop Solutions, and Kuehn, owner of Collision Business Solutions, teamed up during an Elite Body Shop Academy webinar to teach body shops how to schedule optimum WIP (work in process), create a balanced workflow, optimize a shop’s work mix and create a simple scheduling form.
“In today’s collision repair world, old thinking and poor scheduling systems are a recipe for disaster,” said Luehr. “Modern shops can no longer afford to bring in a majority of their week’s work in on Mondays and expect to survive.”
When Luehr meets with shop owners and managers to help manage their businesses, his first operational priority is to look at their scheduling process and optimum WIP.
“You can’t implement anything successfully in an environment where you have too many cars sitting around,” he said. “The best blueprinting efforts typically fail because [owners] don’t understand scheduling and optimum WIP.”
Why Most Scheduling Systems Don’t Work
Many shops across the country schedule jobs based on labor hours, the number of cars or dollars. Although there is nothing wrong with scheduling this way, according to Kuehn, there is a tremendous opportunity to analyze the information available to a repair facility and fine-tune the scheduling process.
Luehr added that the labor hours used to schedule jobs aren’t always accurate due to incomplete estimates. This can create a tremendous amount of instability, not only with scheduling but also with the entire production system.
In a typical body shop, Luehr said, the culture has always been to “grab the keys” for as many jobs as possible. However, that approach often isn’t effective, especially in some markets across the country.
“It’s killing people,” said Luehr. “It seriously creates health problems from the amount of stress and chaos that goes on every day in a typical body shop.”