Running a Shop Operations Working With Vendors Lean in the Shop

Locking Down Inventory Efficiency

Order Reprints

WHAT IT IS: An automatic door lock on the body shop’s storeroom.

THE INSPIRATION: When Maaco Littleton, the highest-performing franchise in Maaco’s nationwide network, technicians needed to get more supplies and materials from the shop’s locked storeroom, they would grab the keys from one of the managers who likely had no time to come unlock the storeroom. Keys ended up getting misplaced and materials would run out without being reordered. Owner Brian Greenley wanted a way to manage materials and keep the storeroom more secure. “Not having to have keys is just easier,” he says.

WHAT IT DOES: The lock automatically activates when the door is shut. It can be opened with a keycode, which is known by the shop managers and employees in charge of inventory management. Since they can’t just hand off their keys, they must go and open the door. If they notice that supplies are running low, they know what to order right away.

“With 35 employees, you get a sander whose job is not to order material, only to use it. He grabs the last roll and the next guy in line doesn’t have a roll. Whose fault is that?” Greenley asks. “You’re bringing attention to the efficiencies and the cost controls that are necessary to make a profit in business.”

HOW IT'S MADE: Greenley bought an automatic key-code door lock from a local store to install on the door.

THE COST: The lock was $100 and it took 15 minutes to install.

THE ROI: “Everybody says, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,’ but this is the small stuff that makes a difference,” Greenley says. The automatic locking door heightened the body shop’s awareness of inventory and control over it.

“The accountability has risen to the next level,” he says. “Someone’s just not going to go in there and grab the last roll of sandpaper if they are not a person authorized to do so.”

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