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5 Shop Floor Goals and How to Exceed Them

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You’re running down the basketball court with your teammates. Your team has the ball and you dribble, dribble, until you need to make a pass to another teammate. There’s no hesitation. You pass the ball to another player. 

Bzzz. The horn blows signaling the end of the quarter.

On the basketball court, a team has little time to discuss a play. Seconds could be left on the clock. In the moment, players make a quick decision based off memorization and practice of a play.

The team at All Angles Collision Repair in Kansas, makes decisions based on practice too, notes Ken Hunnell, the shop’s general manager. Each body shop team needs to be able to follow where the car is in the repair process and move it from department to department, without wasting precious time discussing where the car needs to go. 

Platinum Collision Centers also flows cars through the shop department by department, and on average, performs 6,500 labor hours per month. The MSO repairs about 220 cars per month right now—partly due to its smooth scheduling process and partly due to management’s close eye on KPIs.

In fact, the California facility, dialed in a refined process and was able to become Tesla certified about a year and a half ago, says Mike DeWitt, director of operations for the MSO. The business also opened its sixth location in July.

It might seem fairly easy to keep vehicles flowing through a facility, but, when it comes to the shop floor, there can always be unexpected wait times, missing parts or customer issues that arise. 

Below, Hunnell and DeWitt detail how a collision repair shop with more than one location can set production goals and stick to them.

 

Goal #1: Set a number of cars for each day.

Hunnell says a shop operator should set a goal of how many cars to schedule for each day. At his shops, each team typically schedules five cars per day. Cars that will figure to take less than 30 hours to repair are scheduled for the first half of the week; cars that are expected to take longer than that are scheduled for Wednesday through Friday. 

Hunnell also has his managers send him a car count spreadsheet every day so that he can personally look it over and get a feel for how the scheduling is going. That way, Hunnell can discuss any challenges to scheduling. 

Platinum Collision Centers, meanwhile, schedules about six to eight repairs a day, DeWitt says.

If they scheduled even 10 cars per day, then the shop runs the risk of getting backed up with work.

DeWitt says each location has a goal to disassemble and write an estimate for the car within the first 24 hours it’s in the shop. If disassembly isn’t finished, or the estimate is only partially completed within those hours, then the whole week’s schedule could get backlogged.

How to stick to the goal: Have managers do a production walk of the back-end operations, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, to keep an eye on how fast cars are moving through your facility.

 

Goal #2: Refine the blueprinting step of the repair.

Hunnell recommends that shops minimize verbal communication and increase visual cues. For instance, every car at his facilities is pre-washed and then mapped out for damage analysis so that it can be noted where damage is. Every color has a purpose during that mapping process. Green markings mean go, pink, red or orange mean that it’s unrelated damage or don’t do it, and then damage analysis is labeled in yellow.

At Platinum Collision Center’s first location, there are four bays dedicated to the blueprinting and disassembly of vehicles. Two of the spaces have lifts for techs to see underneath  the car in case they need to mark damage on the suspension.

“We try to do four blueprints a day, per team, and there are two teams,” DeWitt says. “So teams have two stalls to work with and can blueprint two cars in the morning and two cars in the afternoon.” 

In each stall, the technician also has access to items to make blueprinting more efficient. The team can use mobile estimating stations to wheel around computers and write an estimate anywhere on the floor. And, the team also uses dedicated parts carts in which they each spend about 10–15 minutes mirror-matching parts on the cart.

How to stick to the goal: On a production whiteboard, indicate cars are ready by hanging the car’s keys under the department or area of the repair that the car is ready for. 

 

Goal #3: Mark off a quality-control checklist.

Hunnell has his managers do an audit of the damage analysis file before it’s uploaded into the shop’s CCC management software. If the manager puts a blue dot on the file, it is ready to go to the next department.

Each Platinum Collision Center location has a quality-control checklist that’s flowed between the body department, paint department and ends in the detail department.

The QC checklist is available to everyone in a laminated paper copy, DeWitt says. Once the technicians sign off a step in the repair process, the paper copy of the QC form is uploaded to the shop’s management system. 

One important item on the checklist is checking off that OEM repair procedures were referred to, he says. As a certified Tesla repair shop, the facilities need to make sure to always read updated repair procedures because the Tesla software can be updated often.

How to stick to the goal: Have a manager be a second pair of eyes and perform a final check of the quality-control sheet and a full-write up of it in the management system. 

 

Goal #4: Schedule time for staff meetings in person.

All Angles Collision managers meet in a Zoom video call every week.  Hunnell says he has every manager start the meeting by sharing his or her “golf shot”, or one positive event that occurred during the week. Sharing a positive event first fosters an upbeat conversation about shop KPIs.

DeWitt’s management team meets once per month to review the previous’ months sales and discuss areas that did not operate smoothly. During this meeting, DeWitt meets with the shop owner, Tom Gregg, and the other location managers, including the Eastvale production manager. 

How to stick to the goal: If possible, check on the workflow in person, because it will make it easier to see in person when challenges arise.  

 

Goal #5: Track KPIs on a regular schedule.

Hunnell has his managers report weekly on about seven key metrics. Those metrics include the following: current closed sales, customer service score, cycle time, gross profit, outstanding accounts receivables, RO count but not closed, cars on site and pending parts credits. 

At these meetings, after sharing numbers, Hunnell will ask each manager where they are at in meeting their month’s end goal.  For instance, each location aims to meet a cycle time of 7 days or less.

During Platinum Collision Center’s monthly meeting between management, the team discusses each shop location’s budget for that month and the sales forecast goal. These two KPIs are based on the anticipated sales, RO count and the hours worked by technicians.

In order to anticipate an increase in DRP business, the team looks over the shop’s previous three months of sales forecasts and whether the business met each goal. The shop gets about 80 percent of its work from DRPs, DeWitt says.

How to stick to the goal: If performance metrics aren’t on track, take a look back at the month’s parts ordered and number of supplements to see if the issue stemmed from a delay or supplement in the repair.

 

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