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Culture & Tech: Efficiencies in the Margins

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The upcoming November feature in FenderBender speaks to four successful shop owners or managers about ways they found to increase the efficiency of their operations, focusing on a single factor for each shop. But you know what? These successful and efficient shops didn’t get that way by just doing one thing, meaning other helpful tips and advice ended up never leaving the proverbial reporter’s notebook—at least until now. Here are some extras from the interviews that didn’t make the story but could help make your operation a little tighter.

Family affair

At Emerald Coast Collision Repair in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., owner Eric Polson has an efficient shop founded on communication and processes. One way he maintains the morale to support continued buy-in is through bolstering his shop’s culture.
“We do a lot of stuff together as a shop,” he says, calling out fantasy football, in-shop breakfasts, and burger cook-outs. “All that is to keep those communication lines open.”
Polson admits there are arguments, at times, but nothing beyond. “All the extracurriculars we do is to maintain the culture we have here. And we have an excellent culture in our shop.”
The one-time owner of another shop in Louisiana, Polson said he often found himself there babysitting employees. Not anymore. Between the culture he’s worked to build, and his practice of hiring good people with Gold and Platinum statuses, his collision shop no longer requires childcare.

Keep ‘em close

In terms of finding ways to set examples, Tara Brock, collision center manager for Florida’s Arrigo Collision Group, says she reached into her past. A year or two after landing at Arrigo (Aug. 1 of this year marked Brock’s fifth anniversary with the group), she brought in two employees, known quantities, from her previous job.
“They helped set the tone at previous [places],” she says. Brock brought those employees to Arrigo, knowing they were already bought into how she operates, and would help lead by example.

Going paperless

It’s unclear whether Hayley Maxwell, production manager at Tom’s Body & Paint in Visalia, Calif., still pays any bills using paper, though she’s definitely gone paperless at the shop. Tom’s has embraced CCC One as its platform, going from hard copies to digital.
“We used to do everything twice,” she says, noting the time saved by losing a step. The switch also led Maxwell to a better, more comprehensive understanding of the workings of the shop. “We had all the information to pull from in one area—it’s easier to see … it became a whole file.” Maxwell, who says her shop’s efficiency is all rooted in how she builds her schedule, says having that “whole file” was a big help. She, along with Brock and Polson, will be featured in the November issue of FenderBender.

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