Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips photoStacey Phillips is a freelance writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has 20 years of experience as an editor including writing in a number of businesses and fields.


She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com. 

Friday, 11 September 2020 23:17

Toby Chess Says SOPs, Industry Training & Networking are Key to Body Shops’ Future Success

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Several weeks ago, a local body shop owner asked Toby Chess to help set up a welder to repair an aluminum deck lid on a Mercedes-Benz.

When Chess arrived at the facility, he quickly realized the technician didn’t have an understanding of the process to repair the vehicle.


As a result, Chess created a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the shop, laying out the steps to get the job done. Since then, Chess has created more than 30 SOPs for the collision repair industry and has been sharing them with shops across the country.


“SOPs help walk you through each step of the repair process,” said Chess. “Body shops are going to need more of this in the future.”


I recently talked to Chess about his predictions for the industry as a result of COVID-19 and what shops will need to be successful in the future.


What changes have you seen at shops since COVID-19 and how do you think this will affect their businesses?


Although volume is down in many shops, the good news is that most shop owners I have talked to say their bottom line is better today than it was before. This is because they were forced to make adjustments in the current environment and look at incorporating “lean” practices at their companies.


Shops are rethinking how they operated previously and changing their business practices to become more efficient. Afterward, they often say they’ll never go back to doing things the way they did before.


The key is to set up a good foundation by creating SOPs throughout your shop, such as picture taking, blueprinting and parts handling. If you don’t have good processes to follow, it doesn’t do your business any good.

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