O'Rielly Collision Center is an ABRN 2012 Top Shop

Jan. 1, 2020
O'Rielly Collision Center sets an ABRN Top Shop record.

If ABRN Top Shops could have NFL counterparts, O'Rielly Collision Center could be the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1980s San Francisco 49ers or the 1990s Dallas Cowboys. Those teams put a stamp on their eras. Most years they were either playing for or winning championships.

Four ABRN Top Shops plaques decorate the walls at O'Rielly Collision Center, including recognition as the 2011 Top Shop winner. (IMAGES / O'RIELLY COLLISION CENTER)

O'Rielly's was last year's contest winner. This year they've set an ABRN Top Shops record by being the only shop in the country to be named a contest finalist four years in a row. They're not resting on those laurels. As with the past several years, the Tucson, Ariz., -based shop, which is part of the O'Rielly Chevrolet dealership, already is plotting another return.

What is O'Rielly's secret? They have none. This shop thoroughly covers all the contest judging areas, churns out good numbers, consistently trains its employees and is always looking for new ways to tweak or add business.

In 2012, that business churned out $5.4 million in revenue, topping 2011's mark. A reflection of the shop's 82 years in business, O'Rielly's sticks with what works – which means starting each day with a short informative meeting where manager Brian Guerrero and the rest of the shop staff discuss the work and plot out a course of action. Sharing this information helps build on a business culture in which estimators, techs, painters and other employees take ownership of all the shop's work, not simply the tasks each is assigned.

This informed worked pool can quickly handle customer inquiries on vehicle status and provide other benefits such as the numerous inspections each vehicle undergoes as it passes through O'Rielly's operation where employees examine each other's work as a vehicle is passed to them.

Tech Richey Valdez blueprints works on a bumper

Employees themselves undergo similar evaluations in the form of regular performance reviews where they and the shop look for ways to continuously improve performance. Small, sometimes incremental, changes are recognized for their ability to provide big payoffs.

To bolster the shop's offerings, O'Rielly's looks to complement its employees I-CAR Gold and Platinum training statuses with additional educational opportunities. This has included sending techs out of town to learn structural repair of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (which features a carbon fiber body and hydroformed aluminum frame) and a $13,000 investment in paintless dent repair training for a single tech.

Tech helper Thomas Bennet receives instruction from estimator Walter Gaskins.

More recently, the shop sent Guerrero to the Masters School of Autobody Management where he studied improvements in cycle time and cost analysis. He's already taken some of those lessons and put them to work at the business. He's instituted a "scorecard" that tracks business traffic, closing ratios and dollars closed. The shop studies data from the scorecard and shares it with its estimators to determine where it can improve closing business and potential revenue.

"It's helped create a lot of positive competition between our estimators," says Guerrero.

The school also has helped Guerrero better delegate responsibilities to estimators who benefit by exercising more control over their business. Guerrero says these changes are just the start of a number of improvements he plans to implement.

Those improvements probably will extend to the shop's new satellite location in nearby Green Valley. Guerrero explains the shop decided to open the office in February due to requests. A lot of car sales customers living in the area, which has 50,000 to 60,000 residents, were looking for a more convenient way to have the business service their vehicles.

The satellite office performs estimates, ships vehicles to the shop and then delivers them to customers. The office already is bringing in an additional 20 repairs a month. Guerrero says if this experiment proves successful, it opens the door to other offices and potentially an additional shop location.

O'Rielly's also is working to attract more customers through upgrades to its website. The site now handles online estimates and churns out regular new content via blogs and updates to its social media. Guerrero says so far the most successful upgrade has been a program that allows customers to download valuable coupons after they submit content information. Using that information, Guerrero follows up via email or a phone call to arrange work.

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Thanks to the addition of a massive 30-square-foot spray booth in 2012, the shop is set to handle the increased business. Guerrero says the shop added the booth to address one of the biggest bottlenecks most repairers face – wait time for painting. The new booth allows O'Rielly's to significantly cut cycle time since it allows the shop to complete work on an additional three vehicles a day.

Along with a satellite office, the shop grew with the addition of a 30-foot downdraft booth

For 2013, O'Rielly's is looking to "wow" customers who want to take advantage of the quicker service. Using a training program conducted by Disney through a partnership with Chevrolet, Guerrero and managers from other parts of the O'Rielly business have been taking turns traveling to Florida for training on how to make the service experience memorable – taught by folks with decades of experience creating memorable experiences at theme parks and a host of other businesses.

"We're tracking each step of a customer's experience and looking for ways to increase satisfaction at least 1 percent for each of those steps," says Guerrero.

Don't be surprised if this effort is part of the shop's 2013 Top Shops entry. Being part of the contest for four years has been an absolute boon for business says Guerrero.

"It's great marketing. It's a terrific way for our insurance partners to sell the shop to customers," says Guerrero."It means even more to our customers. They absolutely love it."