The Spare Tire Solution
WHAT IT IS: A tire rack used to collect a shop’s slightly damaged tires and wheels that can still be used to help roll cars through the shop during the repair process. The system saves shop workers the time of having to search through customers’ trunks for spare tires.
THE INSPIRATION: Pride Auto Body’s massive, two-floor facility in Van Nuys, Calif., sees a seemingly endless stream of European makes flow through it. What the staff at Pride Auto Body usually doesn’t see are spare tires in the trunks of those European vehicles (not to mention in the occasional domestic).
Roughly one year ago, manager Valerie De La Rosa and her crew took matters into their own hands to solve the inconvenience associated with vehicles that don’t come equipped with useable spare tires, yet require one to be moved around the shop during the repair process. The staff decided to start saving slightly damaged wheels and tires that can still hold air, and placing them on a newly purchased rack.
The idea, notes director of operations Steve Morris, “came about because of the hassle of there being no spare supplied by the manufacturer—no spare tires were coming from the BMWs, the Mercedes, the Minis, and the Audis.”
WHAT IT DOES: Pride Auto Body’s “roller rack,” as the staff calls it, and the slightly damaged tire and wheel combinations that accompany it, aid the efficiency of the California shop. The process also eliminates any possibility of a staff member forgetting to return a spare tire to a client’s trunk.
“We can keep the job moving forward, instead of having a disabled vehicle,” Morris says.
HOW IT'S MADE: The crew in Van Nuys purchased a rack that holds eight tires on the top level and eight below. The rack is movable with wheels and a handle.
Pride Auto Body’s staff—which likes the rack so much that it has requested a second one from Morris—also uses spray paint to color code each of the slightly damaged tires or wheels, incorporating eight total colors. Each separate color is associated with a particular car manufacturer. That way, if a technician is working on, say, a Mercedes, he can quickly scan the roller rack and find a tire that will work for that vehicle.
THE COST: The rack costs approximately $150. The only other element needed to bring the roller rack to fruition involves simply utilizing cans of spray paint laying around the shop.
THE ROI: Above all else, the roller rack saves Pride Auto Body the precious commodity of time. Morris estimates that it might take one of his staffers 20 total minutes to access a spare tire in a customer’s trunk, affix it to the car, and then reverse the whole process later. Conversely, the process of affixing and later removing a tire from the roller rack takes roughly three minutes, Morris says.
“Waste of time gets minimized,” Morris explains. “It’s easy to teach, because it’s so visual. When we get a new technician, they figure it out in two minutes.”