A Visual Process for Tracking Repairs
SHOP STATS: Connor Brothers Collision Center (1 of 4 locations) Location: Midlothian, Va. Owner: Kevin ConnerSize Size: 24,000 square feet Staff: 15 Average monthly car count: 100 Annual revenue: $2.5 million
WHAT IT IS: A system that uses flags to identify jobs and their respective current stages in the repair process
THE INSPIRATION: While visiting his friend’s shop, Lee’s Garage in New Jersey, Kevin Conner was inspired by the way they used visual cues to manage the shop floor. “We can make this work at our shop,” Conner remembers thinking.
WHAT IT DOES: Conner devised a system that uses color-coded flags, a management system with corresponding colors and boards for each stage of the repair process to visually alert staff of a car’s location.
When a car first comes into the shop, it goes through the check-in process. It is entered into Conner Brothers Collision Center’s CCC ONE management system and is assigned a yellow flag. Once the car is looked over and the repair bill is created, it moves to the next stage. A car that can be worked on right away, (meaning all of the necessary parts are in) is given a green flag and moved to the appropriate department in the shop. Any jobs that can be fast-tracked, such as a bumper repair, are put in the fast lane and given a checkered flag. A car requiring parts that need to be ordered, or that for some reason cannot be worked on that day, is assigned a red flag and staged on the property. The flags are changed when needed. When a car is ready for paint, a pink sock is placed over the flag. Whenever a flag is changed or the car moves to a different location in the shop, it is updated in the management system. Conner is able to color-code the vehicles in the management system, as well. While the cars are moving through the repair process, their keys are also moving. Conner has four different parking areas and key boards that each map different repair phases. Wherever the vehicle is in the repair process, the key is moved to the corresponding hook on the board. Total loss vehicles are staged on the property with a large “T” in duct tape.
HOW IT’S MADE: In order for the system to be streamlined, a management system that has the ability to color-code phases or categorize jobs is a must. The shop purchased 100 flags in the various colors that were needed. Conner uses the same type of flags that people use for sports teams on their cars. “They’re durable and stay on the car,” he says. To finish, a board that holds all of the keys must be made. Conner made his with PVC board.
THE COST: Conner estimates that he spent $250 at most for the supplies, and spent two hours putting everything together.
THE ROI: “It comes down to man hours. When you have to start searching for something, it’s costing you $40–50 to look for a key. My guess is that by using this system and being more organized, we’ve saved thousands of dollars. Time is money,” says Conner.
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