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Cherokee Collision Centers

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Cherokee Collision Centers

Courtesy Cherokee Collision Centers

Owners Gene and Dana Sweeney decided to start a shop near their original Marietta, Ga., location in Canton that uses lean processes and utilizes space in the most efficient way possible. “We wanted to figure out the smallest shop we could build to produce the most work,” says R.J. Sweeney, Cherokee Collision’s vice president and Dana and Gene’s son.

After two years of scouting for the perfect location, the Sweeneys found a 10-bay mechanical repair shop that had the close proximity to dealerships that they were looking for. The shop was purchased in March of 2015 and went through renovations, including the addition of ‘2,000 square feet in the front of the building to be used as the paint department. A track system was installed in the shop as a way to maximize the space. The shop officially opened its doors on Nov. 30.

1. The business already focused on lean operations, R.J. says, and once Cherokee moved into the shop, the team designed a horseshoe-shaped floor layout for maximum efficiency and created a track system to quickly push vehicles from one area to the next.

2. The track system is specifically for the paint process and begins after the body work has been completed. Vehicles are connected to the track system by being pushed onto dollies that then move it through to different areas.

3. On the track system, vehicles first move through two prep decks before being pushed into a side-loading paint booth. The cars are pushed through sideways because it saves space and increases the shop’s efficiency. Once vehicles are finished, the last step is the buff stall.

4. When the paint department was built during the renovation, Cherokee’s paint distributor, Single Source Inc., helped set up the paint shop, which was designed to be as efficient as possible.

5. At each segment of the repair, enlarged “process boards” detailing how the work is expected to be done are mounted on the wall. Throughout the shop, there are 17 different boards that are used for new hires and as a constant reminder for staff.

6. In the lobby, the TV plays informational safety videos and flashes customer reviews for those waiting. The setup came from the shop’s consumer marketing solution provider, eMarketing Sherpas.

7. Cookies and bottled water with the Cherokee Collision logo are provided to customers. R.J. says the shop decided to start handing out cookies, which are purchased from a local bakery, as a way to make the often stressful collision repair experience a little more pleasant.

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