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Fix Auto Yorba Linda

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Photo by Steven Alfano

SHOP: Fix Auto Yorba Linda  LOCATION: Yorba Linda, Calif.  OWNER: David Caulfield

SIZE: 15,100 square feet  STAFF: 17  MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 144 ANNUAL REVENUE: $3.3 million

1) In an effort to reduce cycle time, owner David Caulfield started looking at his average repair order numbers. What he found was that his shop was doing two different types of work—heavy duty and light—under a model that was designed to handle only one type of repair, which was creating efficiency problems.

That’s when Caulfield decided to split his shop floor into two separate facilities—Level One (main image) and Level Two (inset)—each with two designated technicians. Caulfield’s research showed that 15 out of every 100 repairs qualified as a Level Two heavy collision repair with an average repair order of $7,700. Level One is dedicated to the remaining 85 repairs, which average $1,450 per repair.

As a result, Level One now sees 110–130 cars per month, while Level Two sees 18–25 cars per month.

2) While Level Two has frame machines, welding and mechanical equipment, Level One is sparse, with only a lift and frequently used body tools. “The first step is to clear the clutter,” Caulfield says. “All you really need is a car, a tool and a person. Everything else needs to be questioned.” In fact, Caulfield says the technicians use so few tools in Level One that they have eliminated toolboxes and only use a small cart with the necessary tools. Besides getting rid of the cumbersome toolboxes, the shop floor also has minimal on-the-floor storage, which Caulfield says has prevented clutter from accumulating.

3) Signs that are suspended from the ceiling serve as labels for each department. Caulfield says he is a big believer in visuals and explicitly labeling where everything should go. “Our whole model is a game of hot potato,” he says. “We have every process on a production board in both facility and in the office.”

Throughout the day, Caulfield is able to glance at the labeled stalls to double check that the work matches what’s on the production board. “We know in real time, all the time, what’s going on,” he says. “It also automatically shows a bottleneck.”

4) The estimators’ desks are located directly on the shop floor, rather than the front office. Caulfield says the switch has eliminated the division between production and the office, and he now considers the estimators as part of the technician team. Caulfield says that having the car directly in front of the estimator has increased efficiency and created better communication between the front office, the technicians and the customer.

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