2019 FenderBender Awards: Ryan Seever
Ryan Seever’s YouTube videos are largely critically acclaimed.
A “Ryan’s Toolbox” video, for example, has garnered 141 online reviews and up to 80,000 views. “GIVE THAT MAN A RAISE” wrote one commenter. “This guy is a keeper,” said another.
No, Seever isn’t a budding filmmaker. He’s simply a steel structural technician who’s
extremely passionate about the collision repair industry. He enjoys sharing insight on how body shops can work more efficiently.
“Here, we always share our improvements,” explains Seever, a technician at Warrensburg
(Mo.) Collision. “That’s the reason we do our videos and share them with other people. It’s kind of a way of bringing everybody up.
“I like to see things that other people do, too, because I get inspired and get ideas. You know,
things spread like wildfire.”
Seever’s blue-flame passion for collision repair has made him a leader on the shop floor.
“We’re all here for one common goal: to make money and do the best, and provide the best quality of repairs we possibly can for the customer. And the safest,” Seever says.
He rallies the troops by letting everyone on the shop floor take part in the decision-making process.
“We all come together—the estimator, the technician, the painter,” Seever explains, “and we
all make a decision together as to what’s going to be the best way for that vehicle to be repaired— what’s best for us as far as quality, and down the road for safety for the customer. Everybody gets on the same page.”
Seever’s positivity has helped spur Warrensburg Collision’s staff to embrace lean principles in recent years. Not only does the shop staff send home 120 hours per day, but the group has lowered the shop’s cycle time from 10 days to 6.5 over the last few years.
“The leadership is something you wouldn’t see in many technicians,” says Casey Lund, the Missouri shop’s owner, in reference to Seever, who is I-CAR Platinum Level 3 in multiple categories.
“Ryan has been instrumental in our change.”
Lean principles are featured prominently in Seever’s videos, which populate Warrensburg Collision’s YouTube page.
The shop, which currently repairs 110 vehicles per month, has utilized lean principles for nearly five years. And, in that time, Seever has become a believer in the philosophies.
“Every day, we take the first 45 minutes to do anything in our work space to improve our efficiency,” Seever says. “So, I’ve done a lot of improvements in my toolbox, eliminating things that I didn’t need, and making it where I was taking as few steps as possible to work on the car and make myself as efficient as possible.
“For years, I worked out of a large toolbox against the wall. … I then bought a smaller mobile tool cart and started bringing only the tools I used all the time to that cart. I organized those tools with kaizen foam so everything has its place. Once I got my mobile box dialed in, others were taking notice and I gave advice to them; they started doing the same thing with their boxes.”
Seever’s especially proud of Warrensburg Collision’s fine-tuned blueprinting process these days.
“It’s slowing down at the beginning to speed up at the end of the job,” Seever explains. “Our estimate is written. The car gets taken apart one time—you’re not doing supplements. All your parts are there. Everything’s right there for you to do.
“Traditionally in the industry, someone will take a car half apart, fix it, and then, the day it has to go home, they’re finding broken clips,” he adds. “And … you’re doing a supplement and delaying the job. So now, [at Warrensburg Collision], the car comes in and it gets 100 percent fully disassembled, right from the beginning. Everything’s figured out on the first day.”
The process is working, evidenced by the facility’s 95.8 percent CSI score.
As a result, shops from bordering states occasionally visit Warrensburg Collision’s shop floor and get tutorials from Seever. And, those YouTube videos continue to garner web clicks.
“The quality and the way you do things, everyone’s always watching,” Seever says. “You teach people tips and tricks, and they teach you tips and tricks, and it just brings everybody up.
“At the end of the day, we want to bring up the whole industry, not just ourselves.”