A friend of mine has a 1962 Chevy Impala that is slowly becoming one with the earth outside his house. Even when the car last moved under it’s own power about a decade ago, it was pretty beat up, with a hole in the front driver’s side fender from a thrown fan blade, spotty rust, cracked and faded paint and missing trim.
But under the hood was a stout small block mated to a six-speed transmission, which made it pretty fun on the street. On the back window was a sticker that said “going fast is looking good,” which was my friend’s excuse for focusing on the drivetrain while ignoring the badly needed bodywork.
I thought about that sticker while going over Bryce Evans’ story, “A Tour in Productivity.” We have written about the importance of appearance—ways to make your shop more visually appealing—a number of times in FenderBender. This story touches on the subject again, but more importantly, it looks at shops that have concentrated on improving efficiency and productivity. Through those efforts, appearance has followed.
The phrase “going fast is looking good” doesn’t apply to this idea directly, but you could say that being efficient is looking good. Simply put, an efficient shop is likely to be clean, well-organized and professional in appearance, as opposed to cluttered and unkempt.
When it comes to making a shop visually appealing to customers, an owner’s first priority should be to get organized and make sure the repair process is humming as efficiently as possible. As Judy Lynch, manager of Collision Repair Design Services for Sherwin-Williams, says in Evans’ story, “The shop needs to be operating as efficiently as possible before you want to spend money on improvements to the building.”
It’s a good lesson for shop owners, one that can save a big expense for those looking into a facility face lift or expansion. Lynch and the three featured shop owners offer a lot more insight on this subject in the story.
A few other highlights of this issue include advice for using your warranty as a marketing tool, tips for implementing an employee benefits package, and ways to avoid seven common missteps that kill cycle time. I hope that last story addresses one some frequently asked reader questions. Many shops want to know what additional things they can do to reduce cycle time, but achieving a cycle time reduction often means eliminating some common problems.
Let me know what you think, and if you’ve got your own business-building strategies to share, drop me a line.