Wednesday, 28 October 2009 09:22

Hey Toby 18 -- Parts-Handling SOPs A Good Start on Implementing Lean

Written by Toby Chess

The first thing I would like to start this month’s column with is an update on the shops that have started to implement the lean process. 

Carmat Autobody in Santa Cruz has made significant improvements in the shop’s organization, but Matt is still working on his SOPs (standard operating principles).  Tom Trago of Anchor Autobody has created a tear down area with carts and he told me that he has seen a tremendous improvement on the number of supplements written (the number of supplements is down 60 percent). Tom is still working on his SOPs.  Mike from Watsonville Autobody and I conducted a tear down clinic with his crew.  Mike called me the other day to tell me that he had moved his boat (being stored inside the body shop) and set up a tear down area.  Jeffrey Gerber of Classic Collision Centers (Los Angeles) has also conducted a tear down clinic for shops, but wants to set up his SOPs prior to starting the lean process.  So with everyone waiting on me to help them with their SOPs, I decided to write out my versions.  Let’s look at Parts Handling first.

            The first item of discussion is what items are needed for parts handling.  Again, these are my ideas, which you can add, delete or use your own methods.  Item one would be a computer near the parts intake center. The parts cart also needs to be close to the parts intake center.  Reason is that as the parts arrive, they will be placed on the appropriate parts cart. The last major item that is necessary is some type of parts marking device.  I prefer using a price labeling gun with bright red tape.  The gun is relatively inexpensive (under $100), easy to use and highly visible.  With that in mind, let’s look how we are going to handle new parts.

New OEM Parts SOPs

•           Parts cart will be checked that the cart has a RO number before adding new parts to it.

•           Fax a complete parts order to a specified vendor.  The parts vendor needs to respond within a certain time period to the availability and back order of the parts.  It should also be noted when the parts will be delivered (need to know prior to placing a car into repairs).

•           Production manager, owners and estimators are notified of all back orders and arrival of all parts.

•           Part boxes will be opened to check for damage and correctness.  The parts can be matched to the damaged parts on the cart.  The boxes are resealed and a red RO sticker is placed on the part box.  Larger parts are labeled with an RO sticker and placed on the cart (they can also be moved to the paint department for jambing if that is the SOP for the shop).

•           Make sure that the cart is labeled with the RO Number.

Note that the bottom repair order has a note stating that the new bumper is on the top of the rack (red RO # sticker has been placed on both inside and outside of the part)

•           Part boxes shop should be recycled after verification.

•           When all parts have been checked in, the invoice should be noted (I use a red parts sticker on the invoice to denote that all parts on the invoice have arrived, checked and placed on the cart).

•           Parts need to be posted to RO and/or the management system.

Aftermarket Parts  (use above procedures plus the following additional Items)

•           Check the part for CAPA sticker if specified on the estimate.

•           Check the part (sheet metal) for paint transfer.  Sheet metal parts need to have an E-coat and this can be determined using a clean rag with a strong solvent (lacquer thinner) and rubbing the part. If the part has been E-coated, you will not find any paint on the part.  If the rag has black transfer, than the part probably has a lacquer base primer applied to it and it should be returned to the vendor.

•           Aftermarket parts boxes should be retained until the part is mounted on the vehicle.  If a part needs to be returned, most of the aftermarket vendors will not accept a part unless it is in its original packaging.

Used Parts  (use above procedures plus the following additional Items).

•           Check the part(s) for damage and/or corrosion.  I would strongly recommend this be done by a body technician.

•           Check the part for paint thickness (most paint manufacturers will not guarantee their paint if it is applied over 12 mills paint thickness).

•           Check to make sure all parts are delivered and accounted for (front clips for example may be delivered missing some key components and the wrecking yard will send out the other parts at a later date—this can be a real time waster).

•           Check mechanical parts for signs of wear (leaks and torn boots for example) and operation (door motor would be a good example).

•           Check for missing items on the part (let’s say that complete deck lid with hinges is ordered and the part missing arrives missing the hinges—another phone call and a delay in starting the repairs—another big waste of time).

•           Check the part to determine that it is correct part for the year specified.  For example the deck lid could fit a number of years, but the latch might fit only one.  To order and receive the proper latch takes time and this also be a time waster.

Sublet on Bumpers and Wheels

•           Have an area designed for pick up and storage of the sublet part(s) and preferably near the parts department.

•           Have vendor sign for the parts to be reconditioned.  You want to make sure when the part(s) have returned, they have an RO number assigned to it.

•           Get a delivery date for return and post that date to the RO.  I like to have a white board that tells when the part was picked up, by whom and when it is returned.

•           If the bumper is rejected off premise, make sure that the rejected core is returned to verify that the part is the same as core that the vendor supplied.  An example from Greg’s Autobody;  A front bumper for a Cadillac was sent out and they were notified that the bumper was not repairable, but they had another core that could be used.  The reconditioned bumper was returned and painted.  When the tech went to assemble the bumper, he realized that the bumper did not have holes for the fog lamps.  Greg had to order a new cover and refinish it again.  What a big waste of time and money.  Question who is going to get stuck with bill to refinish the second bumper?

•           Wheels should not be welded for reconditioning.  Welded wheels should not be accepted.

Body and Paint materials will also have SOP’s, but I deferred the procedures to the next issue.


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