What They Are
A way of freeing up space on the shop floor by mounting bumper racks on the wall.
Tom Tylka, the owner of Tom & Ed’s Autobody Inc., a six-location MSO in Indiana, was an engineer before he embarked upon a career in the auto body industry. And, the need to create and innovate has never left him.
So, it was in that spirit that, four years ago, the shop operator decided to mount bumper racks on the wall at his Schererville location, in an effort to better utilize space.
“It’s funny, because when we go to trade shows, he is always set on us being able to manufacture those items on our own,” says Andy Tylka, who’s both Tom’s son and the CEO of the business. “We go to these trade shows and my father always has these ‘eureka’ moments, where he feels like it’s a simple design that he feels we can duplicate and put in our shops.”
What They Do
In short, the wall-mounted bumper racks clear the floor, so shop space isn’t wasted. Not to mention, they save Tom & Ed’s from having to pay $250 or so per commercial rack.
Now, “instead of bumper racks sitting on horses in the middle of the floor, we utilize wall space and take the bumper racks off the floor,” Andy Tylka explains. “It’s nice, too, because it doubles as a holder for the horses.”
In the past, technicians at Tom & Ed’s requested a more efficient place to store bumpers. Now, each technician has his own rack. The Schererville shop’s primary painter has two of the racks (for incoming and outgoing bumpers), and the parts department has one.
How They're Made
Tylka says the homemade bumper racks can be reproduced easily. They simply consist of two, 6 foot 2x4s, mounted to a wall, plus some PVC pipe. Multiple holes were drilled into the 2x4s at a 20 degree angle, and PVC piping was affixed to those holes. The 20 degree angle is all it takes to assure that bumpers don’t fall forward off the racks.
The tidy sum is roughly $20 per rack, considering the parts consist primarily of 2x4s and inexpensive pipes.
“Everybody has a price of their square footage that they use in their shop,” Tylka notes. “So, when you’re taking up a full bay storing bumpers on horses, you’re giving up a whole bay of space [in which you could] be working on a vehicle, and turning a vehicle. … That’s a lot of money lost.”
Considering that the 16,000-square-foot location in Schererville has a dollars per square foot figure of $93.75, and each rack takes up roughly 10 square feet, each rack has the potential to be worth close to $938 to that facility, Tylka says.
SHOP STATS: Tom & Ed's Autobody Location: SCHERERVILLE, IND. Innovator: TOM TYLKA Size: 16,000 SQUARE FEET Staff: 12 Average Monthly Car Count: 100 Annual Revenue: $9 MILLION