Implementing an Effective Nonverbal Communication System

Aug. 1, 2017
Using a vehicle mapping system can streamline the repair process and eliminate errors that arise from miscommunication.

SHOP STATS: Premium Collision Center   Location: West Hollywood, Calif.  Innovators: Jack Balyan and staff Average Monthly Car Count: 100-120 Staff Size: 22  Shop Size: production area is 15,000 square feet, 20,000 square feet external off site Annual Revenue: $3.9 million (estimated) 

What It Is

Known as vehicle mapping, it’s a marker system that tracks different aspects of the vehicle repair process, including parts needed and estimate processing.

Through different marker colors and shorthand notes/descriptions, staff members communicate nonverbally with technicians about the vehicles in the shop, work in progress and more.

The Inspiration

Jack Balyan, co-owner and partner of Premium Collision Center, took over his father-in-law’s business seven years ago.

Since then, Balyan has found ways to improve workflow and keep the shop competitive as MSOs like Caliber and Service King start popping up in Los Angeles. One of Balyan’s focuses was to improve communication; he wanted to implement a system that would work for the whole team. His main thought behind this was to make interpersonal communication between his staff unnecessary; service writers, estimators and technicians would solely communicate through vehicle mapping as the vehicle moved through the production line.

He also wanted to refresh the shop’s repair process because he wanted to eliminate errors that arise from misdiagnosing vehicles.

What It Does

It helps service advisors and estimators communicate with technicians on what type of work the vehicle needs and what parts may be needed. They communicate almost entirely with this system.

Service advisors write on one of the vehicle’s windows using a dry erase marker. Notes written in green signify what parts will need to be removed and what repairs need to be done. Notes written in the yellow marker mean there is a question or concern that the estimator needs to address. Hidden damages are also marked yellow until approved. And, notes in red indicate what parts of the vehicle won’t be touched. Replaced parts are marked with a red X.

How It’s Made

The system has been in place for three years. Balyan and his staff use three different colors of dry erase markers: red, green and yellow.

The Cost

The markers cost about $5-$10 to replace.

When vehicle mapping was first integrated, Balyan and staff took about 5-10 minutes to get to know the process. Any issues that came up would then be addressed during their daily team meetings.


Balyan estimates that the shop has cut its time spent on remedying mistakes by 50 percent. He also notes that touch time has improved from 1.2 to 2.8 and technician efficiency rose by 25 percent.

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