Friday, 31 July 2009 17:00

HEY TOBY 15 - I-CAR’s New Cycle Time Class (CYC 01) Gets the Toby Touch

Written by Toby Chess

In a recent article I discussed the lean process and how we can eliminate waste. I recently taught I-CAR’s Cycle time class in Downey and San Jose. Greg Gunter, owner of Greg’s Autobody in Whittier, CA, asked me for help in starting the lean process in his shop. I spent about 4 hours with his staff prior to the 4th of July holiday discussing the lean process and what we were going to accomplish, but before we got started, we did a walk-through of the shop as a group and identified all of the items of waste.

We filled up 2 complete pages of corrections that needed to be made. In one week, Greg and his staff finished page one and as they were starting on page 2, I stopped by the shop on July the 12th to check on progress. What a difference a couple of weeks can make!
     I want to share the transformation of the shop, but I will wait until they are finished (That will be in the September Hey Toby! Column). For now, let’s talk about the two shops in Santa Cruz (Carmat Collision Center) and Santa Clara (Anchor Autobody).

    Both shop owners held the CYC 01 classes at their shops the week of July 6 and everyone from each facility was in attendance. Anchor Autobody is an extremely clean facility and void of most clutter.
     Carmat Collision Center has been remodeling the facility with new spray booths, new Car-O-Liners frame and measuring equipment plus new STR Welders. Matt, who co-owns Carmat with his wife Shawn, asked me to come back the next day and work with their staff on how to tear down a vehicle using the lean process. Remember, we want to eliminate waste and the biggest waste producer in a body shop is a poorly written estimate---which means multiple supplements.

Let’s look at this Honda Accord that arrived at the shop the day before the class.

The damage to outside of the vehicle was as follows: Hood (replacement), Front bumper and License plate-bracket (replacement), left fender (replacement), driver’s side air-bag (replacement), grille (replacement), frame set-up and pull, and all refinish operations. This was written prior to tear down.
     The shop would previously have ordered the visual parts and performed a tear down in the tech’s stall when the car was assigned to production. Matt stated that the shop would have a least 2 supplements with this method. The lean method calls for moving the car to the designated tear down stall (Carmat now has a portable lift in the tear down stall).

Here is the order that we set up as an SOP (standard operating procedure). The passenger’s side of the windshield was marked as follows: Repair order number, Customer’s name, Insurance Company, Date In, Target Date, Estimator’s name, Technicians Name, and all Sublet items (in this case, Alignment and Air-bag Replacement). A seat saver and floor mat were also installed to protect the interior.

    All photos were taken and the windshield was noted with a written letter “P” in a circle. I explained to everyone that a SOP for a photo was needed. It is far easier to take every possible photo and use the ones specified for the different direct repair programs than trying to memorize what each insurance carrier wants. By taking all the pictures now, you save a lot of time down the line when an inside adjuster needs a special picture.
     For example, they may need a picture of the engine for valuation purposes. It is a lot easier to retrieve it from the file than getting up and taking another picture. Remember, we want to eliminate waste as part of going lean.

While the technicians were getting their tools ready, I had the estimators look at the air-bag deployment. The estimator stated that they would only order the air bag and check with the air bag replacement service on any additional items needed (another supplement). I demonstrated how to check the seat belts after deployment. Everyone noted that the seat belt tensioner on the driver’s side (the seat belt would not lock in place) had deployed, but the passenger’s side was still functioning properly.
     I showed everyone where they could find what parts were mandatory replacements when a frontal air bag deployed. In this instance, Honda wants the controller replaced along with the seat belt and air bag. We now included both items to our estimate (and no supplement).

An empty parts cart was marked with the customer’s name and repair order number.
     A couple of things you need to note:
     First, look at the racks in the upper portion of the picture. The day before, I asked Matt what was in the red storage boxes. His reply was: “I don’t know.”
     It turns out that there were parts from vehicles where the repairs have already been completed and delivered. I told him: “In the future, the only things that should be stored on those shelves should be covered seats. Everything else will go on the parts carts.”
     Second, the clear area behind the car had been filled with clutter. It was all removed and set up as staging area for the parts carts.

The first area that we decided to work on was the front bumper assembly.

With the bumper removed, all parts were inspected, tagged with an RO number (we used a price labeling gun to mark the RO #).
All clips and screws were placed into plastic bags and marked with an item description. We noted on the estimate that four bumper retainer clips and 2 lower clips were missing and/or broken. All clips were noted on the estimate. The front bumper was taken completely apart for inspection. We noted that the front bumper absorber was also cracked and needed to be replaced.

The next items that need to be removed were both headlamps. What we found was very interesting. Both headlamps, on first look, showed no damage, but when we inspected the left headlamp, we found a large crack along both retainers. Matt added a line to our SOPs to check the headlamps (turn them on) prior to removal to note inoperative bulbs. (You don’t want supplement for bulbs.)

We also noted that the front bumper reinforcement was damaged and need to be replaced. The group decided not remove it at this time because it would be used for pulling the mash condition---more on this later.

We discovered that the air cleaner baffle was broken and that was added to the estimate.

Note that the estimator placed a “Replace” tag on the part. All parts that were tagged with the “Replace” sticker were placed on a separate shelf on the parts cart. The core support had considerable damage where it was attached to the front rail and a consensus decision was made to replace it. This decision meant that the A/C system had to be evacuated prior to removal and this was done at the time of writing the estimate. A couple of notes, the system was down ½ lbs and that amount was added to the estimate along with 3 new “O” rings and capping off the A/C lines.

We noted that the vehicle had sustained some frame damage. The door gap on the driver’s side was narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. Furthermore, the front rail was pushed back. We added a line on the estimate to correct the mash condition (shortness of length) and a line for a sag condition (change in height). Since the car was going to be placed on a frame beach (this shop uses a Car-O-Liner), the rocker molding needed to removed and the pinch welds needed to have self-etch primer applied, along with painting. Furthermore, the vehicle will need to have a 4-wheel alignment performed and these additional line items were added to the estimate.

The next step was to de-trim the driver’s side door. It was decided by consensus that we would R&I the door molding and we added a line for cleaning and re-taping the molding. We also wrapped the door trim panel and outside mirror in plastic for protection.

After the lower molding was removed, it was decided that the molding could not be re-taped and we would change the estimate to reflect that decision. We added a line to remove the adhesive from the door that we were going to blend.

The hood lock was removed and we found more hidden damage. The lock was bent and needed to be replaced.

We removed and labeled the horns, fender liners, washer bottle (make sure you add a line for fluid), and lower engine shroud. All these items plus others were added to the estimate at this time. The wire loom was removed from the core support and time for the operation (another non-included item) was added to the estimate.

The hood insulator was removed along with the rubber seals. It should be noted that 4 of the hood insulators push clips broke during the removal process and they were also added to the estimate. Also every clip broke on the 3 front rubber seals. Again, these parts were added to the estimate.

During the removal process, everyone (team effort) discussed the repairs and any additional steps needed for the repairs were also indicated, and they (repair items) would also be added to the estimate now instead of later.

One of the technicians said that the car had a sway condition (a change in width) and I asked how he knew that. He stated that he could tell from experience and I replied that was not good enough. We brought over a tram gauge (it took us 10 minutes to find) and, sure enough, there was a sway condition. We now had the justification to add another line to the estimate for the correction of the sway condition.

When I was finished with the tram gauge, I had one of the techs attach it to the staircase so that everyone knew where it belonged and it would at a very accessible location for future use in the tear down area.

Note that the parts cart has been filled and everything categorized. Also note that we did not remove the fender due to the fact that the rocker moldings would have to be removed because the lift would not allow us access to the screws on the bottom of the moldings.

      I taught the Cycle time reduction class again in Phoenix, AZ, at Carstar Good Wrench Autobody. Keith Brening, the Collision Center Manager, asked me if I could facilitate a complete tear down demonstration with everyone from his staff in attendance (26 people in all) and I was more than happy to accommodate him.
     The next day we went through the same orderly process of a complete tear down and I explained the reasons for each step. My first question to the group was what is the color of the vehicle and everyone, except the painter (I had asked him to verify the color), said it was “black.” It turns out that the color was a black pearl, which meant that additional paint steps would be needed and added to the estimate.
     I selected two techs and had them place in separate plastic bags, the screws and clips for the grille (4 screws), the bumper, the headlamps and the upper core support cover. Both techs thought that it was a waste of time and materials to bag and label all the screws and clips. I asked them how they handle all the small parts and their reply was to put them all together in one plastic bag. Keith purchased 50 plastic bags at a cost of @$2.50 or 5 cents per bag. We used 20 bags at a cost of one dollar. I proceeded to ask them how long it would take them to sort out clips and 15 minutes for that particular operation was a consensus time allotted by the group. I asked everyone what was a better idea: spend one dollar on the bags or waste 15 minutes of production time sorting out the screws, clips and bolts. Everyone agreed that $1.00 for the bags was a better solution. Moreover, when the vehicle was to be assembled, it would not be difficult to figure out what went where (everything was marked).
     One final note, while we were wrapping the door trim panel in plastic, a young man from the group picked up some bubble wrap and wrapped the door mirror. I asked him why he did that and he replied that it was the right thing to do. The young man was the detailer in the shop and attended the class the night before. He really understood the meaning of teamwork. Everyone that has taken I-CAR’s Cycle Time Class with me has asked how to get started with the concept.
     Here is what is needed in equipment:
* Floor Jack and Jack stands (a tire hoist is the best solution)
* A service cart with all the necessary tools for R&I
* Floor mats and seat savers
* Tram Gauge
* Parts cart
* Plastic bags and covers
* Masking Tape
* Marking pen
* Computer terminal and desk
* Access to A/C recovery unit
* Digital Camera

I will put together a number of SOP’s for my next article to help you lean production process. Try to attend I-CAR’s Cycle Time Class. It will open a whole new world for you.

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