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From the moment a car enters a collision repair shop, organization is essential to ensuring that a vehicle’s repair is completed in a timely manner. Without a well-organized shop floor, it can be difficult to determine what stage a vehicle is in during the repair process.

In order to stay on top of the workflow, as well as provide those on the floor with an easy, efficient guide, AkzoNobel introduced a new way to manage productivity and organization in a body shop: Carbeat™.

Carbeat, an electronic workflow system, gives those working on the shop floor the ability to visualize all current operations and statuses to stay organized. The cloud-based system comes with a 70-inch touch-screen monitor that can be personalized to portray the repair process on the shop floor.

The product was developed with the inspiration to improve the vehicle repair process, as it allows users to easily identify and monitor the different stages of a vehicle in the repair process. When shops mark how far their department is on a job, typical indications can range from placing a hat on a vehicle if it’s finished, or even marking a window with grease pencil marks.

“We asked ourselves this question: If shops are so great at tracking production, then why do all of these other manual objects still exist?” Mike Sillay, Global Services Manager of AkzoNobel Vehicle Refinishes says.

The system was created as an electronic, universal tool that can track the repair process throughout the shop visit. Sillay of AkzoNobel describes how shops can utilize the touch-screen monitor and discover real-time results by using the product.


Be Mindful from the Start

In order to set the right precedent for a customer, Carbeat encourages users to be selective and personalize the profile during the repair process. To begin using the board during the workflow process, technicians are to create a repair order on the touch-screen board manually.

“It only takes about a minute to set up a car and the shops that are using this don’t mind spending a minute to save five hours of waste,” Sillay says.

Once a customer is added to the system, the customer’s information can later be found through a search when he or she visits the shop again. In addition, the program allows users other search filters such as the model of a vehicle.


Personalize the Process

Shops are organized when departments are able to accurately determine where a car is in the process without any confusion. To make the board easy for your shop, choose a color scheme that will define each stage in the process.

“It’s a visual tool and people need to be able to look at the dashboard and understand what’s going on,” Sillay says. “That’s another reason we deploy this on a large format touch-screen because you can stand 50 feet away from the board and actually see where there’s a bottleneck in the process, or the colors could mean different insurance companies, or whether the vehicle needs certain repair procedures.”

“If one department has a specific way to organize that is different than other departments, it can ultimately create a halt in the process”, Sillay says.

“We started studying the way body shops used manual organization and the drawback is that manual objects don’t collect data- nobody else can see the information [besides those on the shop floor],” Sillay says.


Access to Information

During the repair process, it’s important to make sure that each department has knowledge of what’s going on in a repair before it’s passed off to them. Carbeat provides the whole shop floor with a visible workflow of how far along the process is, as well as where the car is at in the repair process.

When one department is finished with a repair, he or she can walk to the board, put their finger on the screen and drag the repair over to the next category.

“The importance of the drag and drop is the speed and the simplicity,” Sillay says. “The worker doesn’t have to wash their hands and can put his or her finger on it, and it takes less than a second — that’s the real key to the accuracy of the data.”

Along with electronically moving one repair to the next department, staff members can visit the monitor and view the status of other vehicles in the shop. The monitor provides clarity and answers when used correctly during the repair process.


Discover Repair Results

More often than not, it can be impossible to time each department’s contribution to a repair. By utilizing the Carbeat board, all staff members can discover the length of the repair process for each department by the touch of a finger.

“When the repair is moved, it date and time stamps the activity and we mine the reports off of the data that gets collected,” Sillay says. “We can set up filters for virtually anything that has data.”

Understanding the length of a repair can help shops determine which measures need to be made in order to provide efficient service for the customer.

To learn more about Carbeat, visit

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