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Car West Auto Body

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Photo by Jeff Firestone

SHOP: Car West Auto Body  LOCATION: Fremont, Calif. (seven locations throughout California)  OWNER: Craig Moe

SIZE: 52,000 square feet STAFF: 65 ANNUAL REVENUE: $10.2 million

1) The 35,000-square-foot shop floor at Car West Auto Body’s Fremont, Calif., location is all about maximizing the shop’s touch time, which averages four hours per day.

The lean process starts when the customer pulls up to the labeled estimate parking area. There are seven stalls where the estimator does vehicle walk throughs with customers and performs inspections.

Then, the customer is led to the lobby, located through double doors on the right, and the car is pulled into line to enter the repair planning area.

2One of three remove-and-install teams does a complete teardown of the vehicle in the repair planning department.

Then the car is mapped, all parts are tagged and bagged and stored on one of the shop’s 100 parts carts. The same repair planning team will also do the reassembly after the car is finished.

3Elevators to the side lead to the 3,000 square feet of storage space upstairs above the office where the parts carts are stored.

The parts department is responsible for bringing up and retrieving carts for the technicians. When a technician is done with the cart, it is wheeled over by the elevator.

4After the estimate is approved and parts arrive, the vehicle is dispatched to the structural repair area, where it is assigned to one of the A techs by the production manager. The structural repair area features seven frame capabilities for different makes.

5The shop also has a mechanical repair area staffed with a full-time “journeyman” mechanic. The shop does almost all mechanical work in house, including wheel alignments, suspension and tire mounts and balance.

6Because the shop is a Mercedes-Benz–certified facility, it is also equipped with an aluminum clean room. Manager Brian Hobaugh says that while they don’t see a huge number of aluminum repairs, it is becoming increasingly prevalent for the shop.

7The shop has three paint booths. One of those is used as a “quick lane” for fast jobs and the other two, which can fit two cars each, are used for bigger jobs.

“We can knock out four or five cars in the quick lane in the time that one car is going to get through prep,” Hobaugh says.

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