The Mitchell 2017 Road Show Heads to California
On Feb. 21, The Mitchell Road Show made its way through California and made a stop at Greg Solesbee’s Solesbee Auto Crafts in Yorba Linda. The business has been family-owned and operated since 1969.
Solesbee says that his parents’ dedication early on and devotion to customer care allowed the business to grow. Solesbee’s parents, both 80, are still involved in running the shop, and the family has seen the shop grow from a spray booth made out of a chicken coop in the backyard to a 22,000-square-foot shop that employs 40 people and sees 55–60 vehicles per week.
The Solesbee family’s dedication spills over into all areas of the business. That’s why the Solesbees asked to be involved in reviewing and giving feedback to Mitchell on its products.
“We have quite a bit of insight when it comes to sizing up issues and wanting to make things better,” Solesbee says. “I talked to my Mitchell rep, Luke Burger, about it. I wanted to have influence in how things are designed and developed.”
Mitchell is dedicated to making its products user friendly and values its customers’ insights, and shortly after the conversation, Solebee Auto Crafts became a beta test facility for Mitchell Parts powered by uParts, Mitchell’s parts procurement solution.
“Creating a system that allows us to order all of our parts from one spot is great,” Solesbee says. “The direction that Mitchell is headed shows us that they care about body shops.”
One of the latest offerings from Mitchell, Mitchell Parts allows users to transfer parts information to and from UltraMate without the need for rekeying. Solesbee says it has streamlined the parts procurement process and his staff agrees.
“Mitchell Parts is the best organized and most efficient way to order and track parts,” says Chad Faulkner, repair planner at Solesbee Auto Crafts. “You only have to go to one program for all of your parts needs. It makes communication with vendors simple. It makes you aware of any problems or delays by sending out emails right away so they can be handled quickly. Never again will you find out at the end of a repair that you have parts problems.”
Another reason Solesbee enjoys working with Mitchell is the support he receives. Solesbee says that Burger, his Mitchell rep, is always there for him to make sure he has a positive customer experience.
“Mitchell has done a good job making sure that their users know that they care about the experience that they have,” Solesbee says. “They want their user to be included in the growth of their company and they want to solve real world problems. I think they do that better than anybody.”
A few days later, the Mitchell Road Show headed to El Segundo to visit another early adopter of Mitchell Parts, Jim and Jack’s Collision Center. The shop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, takes up five city blocks, works on 450–500 cars per month, and employs 100 people. When Richie Kizinin took over the shop in 1998, he knew he wanted to take the shop to the next level, but it’s easier said than done with a shop as massive as his.
“You have to keep up with all of the new technology,” Kizinin says. “I’m always juggling to be one step ahead of the industry. I want to be an innovator.”
Kizinin says his goal as a business operator is to create a shop environment in which people are passionate about their work—and that other businesses would aspire to replicate. Part of that is to be constantly evolving and finding ways to improve business operations. In an effort to be on the cutting edge, Kizinin’s shop was one of the first to use Mitchell Parts. The aspect that he likes most about the system is the transparency.
“It allows you to see exactly what’s going on with your parts,” Kizinin says. “You can see exactly when a vendor opens your package.”
Kizinin says Mitchell Parts has increased his shop’s profitability because it’s allowed him to see margins that he’s hitting with specific vendors.
“It makes the parts ordering and business aspect more transparent,” Kizinin says of Mitchell Parts. “The tools available are endless. You can see how much money you’re making, how long it’s taking with specific vendors. If you dissect the product, you’ll be blown away by what information is out there and what’s readily available for you. You can see which lines are helping or hurting your business.”