Shop Life Innovations

Improving Communication Through Electronic Production Boards

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The Inspiration:

When Mungenast Collision Centers redesigned its St. Louis location to create a pull production system, shop manager Scott Hortiz knew he wanted to incorporate visual management into the new shop floor. 

“The inspiration was that we wanted to have real-time customer updates for everyone in the shop,” he says.

With such a large shop, he also wanted staff to have the ability to quickly provide updates should a customer call the shop.

“Part of it is that no matter who answers the phone, they can tell exactly what is happening to the car, when it’s scheduled out, what it’s waiting for,” Hortiz says. “I didn’t want to have to put people on hold.”

What It Does:

To improve the visual management on the shop floor, Hortiz decided to install three 70-inch electronic production boards on the wall. Two of the boards are located at either end of the shop and one is located in the middle. The boards are each equipped with a PC box and integrated with CCC ONE, which allows each technician to update the job when they’ve completed their part of the repair process.

“I put those around so the guys could move their own cars,” he says. “When a technician is done with his part of the process, they move their own car to keep it live.”

In addition, the shop has six smaller computers located at the alignment machine, paint department, parts, frame machine, detail and reassembly. Hortiz says he wanted as many access points as possible for technicians to move cars in the system.

The boards automatically refresh every couple minutes, which Hortiz says helps keep the information accurate in real time. It also allows the staff to quickly see if jobs are on time or if there is a delay.

“It’s very visual, so if something is not on time, the line turns red and stands out,” he says.

Besides utilizing the screens for CCC functions, Hortiz says they are also used to pull up pictures taken during the disassembly process.

“When we tear down the cars, we document routing and wiring harnesses with pictures,” he says. “Our disassembly is on one side of the shop and reassembly on the other, so reassembly will pull those pictures up on those boards to see how a wire harness ran or what clip was where.”

How It’s Made:

Hortiz purchased three 70-inch televisions and a PC box for each. He then had his IT personnel handle the cabling and hook the PC boxes up to the shop’s Internet network.

“Since everything is web-based that we use those for, we didn’t have to hook it into our server and have everything feed through it,” he says.

The Cost:

$3,000 per TV

The ROI:

Hortiz says that the electronic production boards have drastically helped organization in the shop.

“Everybody looks at those boards constantly,” he says. “People know where things are at or where to look for something.”

Overall, he says it’s also been a key to sustaining the pull production the shop has implemented.

“It definitely is a huge asset for that visual management,” Hortiz says. “You can tell when something is not on task very quickly that way.” 

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