Snap Shop: Steve’s Auto Body

Sept. 23, 2021

The owner always assumed that, with the odd layout of the facility (long and narrow), going lean would be difficult. Instead, a transformative lean journey shines throughout the shop.

Shop: Steve's Auto Body Owner: Michael, Cindy and Jordan Beshears Location: O'Fallon and Belleville, Ill. Staff Size: 16 Shop Size: 12,500 square feet Average Daily Car Count: 4 Annual Revenue: $3.5 million

The new logo makes an impact at Steve's Auto Body.

1. Logo Update

Since its founding in the late ‘70s, the Steve’s Auto Body logo always featured Old English lettering, until Jordan decided to update it with a more modern look in 2020 after the Belleville location was acquired. He worked with his website developer to design the new logo, telling the designer he wanted something with soft lines and lowercase letters but the same colors.

As part of the shop's lean journey, the paint shop is a closed loop.

2. Lean Journey

Jordan always assumed that, with the odd layout of the facility (long and narrow), going lean would be difficult—until he visited an old John Harris facility that went lean with the exact same layout. That began Steve’s Auto Body’s lean journey, which has transformed the business. Each door and bay has its own purpose: preassembly, disassembly, three structural stalls, three body repair stalls, mechanical repair. After that, the paint shop, which consists of one painter and one prepper, is a closed loop, meaning the vehicle can’t get out until it’s painted.

Yellow tape on the floor marks off a center aisle on the shop floor that must remain clutter-free.

3. Tape on Floor

As part of the shop’s lean journey, marking off certain areas with tape has now become a staple (one led by the techs). Yellow tape on the floor marks off a center aisle on the shop floor that must remain clutter-free. Red tape marks off where equipment is stored, as well as parts carts. In the paint shop, large squares are taped to indicate where the vehicle moves. Overhead signs mimic and reinforce the significance of each bay and taped area. 

4. Parts Carts

The shop uses parts carts found on Amazon that not only offer more shelving and flexibility options, but are also far more affordable than traditional parts carts. To ensure the vehicle goes through to reassembly without stopping, vehicles aren’t put into the system until all essential parts have arrived, and parts aren’t ordered until disassembly. To visually communicate with technicians, the parts coordinator utilizes different colored dots on the parts carts (red for no, yellow for essential parts arrived, green for all parts on site) to indicate if a vehicle is ready to enter the repair process.

A lobby refresh in 2016 was ahead of its time.

5. Lobby Refresh

In 2016, Cindy undertook the project of remodeling the front office. She wanted a more comfortable feel for customers, which she accomplished through the refresh, but also wanted to incorporate the colors of the logo throughout the lobby.

The location manager and Michael’s offices are also right off the lobby, offering easy access to customers. The model airplanes in Michael’s office, in particular, have become a conversation starter with the numerous customers from the nearby Air Force base (the shop works on nearly 500 cars for Air Force members in the area). 

6. Parking Lot

Even the parking lot—which is quite large, thanks to the property’s three acres—takes a 5S approach. The team came up with a number system and utilizes a mirrored keyboard associated with the vehicle’s parking spot. As the shop has focused more and more on lean, however, the number of vehicles kept on site continues to decline.

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