Shop Life

2019 FenderBender Awards: Adam Mette

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​From the moment he rises each day, Adam Mette is focused on efficiency. 

First, at 5 a.m., the National Guardsman puts himself through rigorous Crossfit workouts. Whether it’s through barbell sets, or running as much as 3 miles, Mette gets through all elements of his training swiftly. In total, he tours several elements of his workout facility in just 60 minutes. 

“I beat my body up every day,” Mette says of the workouts. “But it’s fun.” 

Truth be told, Mette has developed a love-hate relationship with running. Yet, he does it often, to spend time with his wife. 

He is, if nothing else, a team player, after all. 

Nowhere is that more apparent than at Mette’s workplace, Probst Auto Body Inc., in Dieterich, Ill. Mette began there with little collision repair experience four years ago, but got up to speed quickly. After starting in a teardown role, Mette quickly seized an opportunity when the shop needed a new production estimator. 

“Adam quickly volunteered to take that position,” recalls Mark Probst, the shop’s owner. “In a matter of two weeks, he caught on so quickly we turned him loose with little guidance. 

“He’s very gifted in getting the team to work together, which has lowered our cycle time from an 11-day average to an eight-day average. Adam has the personality to make things happen without upsetting anyone he’s working with.” 

Mette has played a pivotal role in Probst Auto Body’s scant, 3.8 percent supplement ratio for DRP-related work. The key, in that respect, has been the production manager/back-end estimator’s voracious reading of OEM repair procedures. The young shop floor leader prides himself on studying manufacturers’ websites, as well as information from I-CAR and ALLDATA. 

All that research has helped Probst Auto Body refine both its teardown and blueprinting processes. 

Mette meticulously performs vehicle walk-arounds. He documents R&I parts. He speaks with his parts coworker and front office employees ceaselessly. 

His attention to detail is especially apparent in the Illinois shop’s blueprinting process, during which he writes several notes on vehicles’ windows, regarding any issues with codes or alignments, for example. 

The key to that process, Mette says, is “being as thorough as I can. I want to get to the point where the guys don’t have to look at a work order; I have everything marked out on the car. I usually try to write notes all over the window—almost to the point where they don’t need a work order to be able to do their job. 

While Probst says Mette has played a key role in helping the shop reduce its cycle time, Mette deflects such praise, citing the shop floor’s teamwork. 

Probst Auto Body utilizes a team setup, requiring an admin staff, two body technicians, one paint tech, one teardown guy, and Mette to communicate smoothly.

“I just have a little role,” he says with regard to cycle time, “trying to make sure that all the parts are here, and everything’s mapped out. … Everyone’s always working on everything together. So, if someone can jump in [in another department] and help paint something—help a painter polish when he’s too busy—or do a quick little dent, it helps tremendously, so we just keep churning.”

Hard to believe: just five short years ago, the production manager had precious little 

collision repair experience. But, when Adam Mette sees an opportunity, he runs with it. 

“I got caught up,” he says, “real fast.”


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