Parts-cart Signs that Help Streamline Shop Processes
THE INSPIRATION: Roughly six years ago, Check Collision moved its production facility to a nearly 30,000-square-foot industrial building in Mattapoisett, Mass. To make things work in a structure that was more than three times the size of their previous space, employees eventually determined they’d have to get creative to maintain communication between the likes of management, technicians, appraisers and insurance adjusters.
WHAT THEY ARE: White dry-erase “license plate” signs for parts carts.
“We had to be more organized,” Check Collision owner Paul Zammito says.
Inspired by that initiative, former lead appraiser Luis Rebelo (who eventually left Check Collision in 2015) came up with the idea to attach plastic white dry-erase “license plate” signs to each parts cart, containing pertinent information about the job that cart belongs to.
WHAT THEY DO: “You can identify the basic information of the vehicle,” Zammito explains. “RO [repair order] number, insurance company, the appraiser that’s working on it, the cart number ... you can identify it from 50 feet away.”
The main purpose of the cart signs is to aid in overall shop organization and efficiency.
“In the past we’ve had carts that have sat in the corner and the job has been long gone, and you walk by and it’s like ‘What’s going on with that cart?’” Zammito notes. “And after doing a little bit of homework, we realized that it has parts that should have been removed from the cart, and that cart could come back into service.”
The utilization of the parts-cart signs, “saves time with basically everybody in the building, from the support staff at the front counter to the paint department,” Zammito says. Zammito feels it’s imperative that a shop’s employees always keep their eyes out for ways to be more efficient, such as with the signs.
“It’s extremely important,” he says, “so everybody has a good feel of what the flow is and what the goal is.”
HOW IT'S MADE: Check Collision simply buys the plastic signs at a local office supply store. The signs work well with dry-erase markers, and are similar to those used in many business conference rooms, except smaller, at roughly 9 inches by 11 inches. A couple zip ties are used to attach the signs to parts carts.
THE COST: “It’s only a few dollars per small whiteboard,” Zammito notes. “And minimal labor to drill holes. It’s only a few dollars per cart.”
THE RETURN: The white dry-erase cart signs were simply one part of Check Collision’s overhaul, but they were well received by the staff at a shop that has increased monthly revenue significantly— by around $500,000—in its newer workplace. Namely, the signs have been a key element of Check Collision’s push to be a bit leaner and more organized.
“Nobody likes any bit of change, but once we put the process in place and we stuck to it, now they have a hard time functioning without [the cart signs],” Zammito says. “They get annoyed if the plate is not updated on a regular basis, because it just makes their life so much easier if they have correct information in front of them.”