Q&A: BASF’s Thomas Hoerner

Jan. 22, 2014
Thomas Hoerner is the Business Solutions Leader and responsible for development and deployment of BASF’s Advanced Process Solutions program.
Tom Hoerner is the Business Solutions Leader and responsible for development and deployment of BASF’s Advanced Process Solutions program. He has been in the automotive collision industry for more than 30 years, and specializes in process improvement and performance-based management.

ABRN: What are the principles of Advanced Process Solutions (APS)?

TH: The “what” of APS is simple: It is designed to eliminate anything that stops or interferes with a continuous work flow. Our goal is to eliminate supplements, parts issues and work interruptions — typical body shop chaos — to drastically improve cycle times and touch times.

But the “why” of APS is more important. APS delivers a competitive advantage, improves business control and market/insurance appeal, and “drives cars to the door.”

ABRN: What are the requirements to getting started with APS?

TH: First, the owner must understand that his or her current repair model must improve to be successful. A sense of urgency is key to making a lasting change. Then we look for a VisionPLUS Excellence Member demonstrating high repair and business standards. We also require use of a management system and connecting to our VisionPLUS Dashboard. Without this level of business control, we cannot measure, coach and motivate. The shop must also be able and willing to make program investments for equipment, and have a current BASF purchase commitment.

ABRN: How long does shop implementation take?

TH: The entire APS process takes about six to nine months. This includes time for preparing for the three-day planning session, completing the pre-deployment work (5S, equipment needs, site changes, etc.) and creating the right employee culture for onsite APS deployment. The implementation itself is actually the shortest part of the process — lasting just a week. But this is just the beginning; the real work is the sustainability and continual improvement going forward. APS never stops.

ABRN: How is the process customized to each individual shop?

TH: Customized is a strong word. “Tailor” is better suited. In APS, we have non-negotiables. For example: “We will disable the vehicle completely and write a thorough repair plan.” Who does the disassembly, who writes the repair plan and where the work is done can be tailored to meet the shop’s desires, expectations and capabilities.

ABRN: Please explain the two different implementation options.

TH: We have BASF-assisted, or what we call “full-deployment” and “self-deployment.” Both begin by attending a planning session where we present the best practices for APS. Every process that requires a decision is carefully thought out, planned and documented. When the session is over, the shop’s APS plan is completed.

From there, “full deployment” includes coaching throughout the process. An onsite deployment team puts the APS processes in place and follows up/audits to create sustainability. This is a sweeping change across the entire business, and the transformation is immediate.

For shops electing “self-deployment,” they will be self-paced and responsible for making the changes on their own.

ABRN: What technologies do shops need to implement the process?

TH: Along with following approved insurance and industry repair guidelines — and the technologies that support them — we require that the shop uses a management system and connect to our VisionPLUS Dashboard. Measuring and showing improvement, essentially celebrating the wins, is an important part to making a sustainable change.

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