Shop Profile - Collision Repair

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A people-business that fixes cars

Paint supplier AkzoNobel helps shop plug-in to providing Tesla repairs
Monday, June 19, 2017 - 06:00
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Keeping current with the latest in technological expertise is a key source of pride at Pride Auto Body’s seven California locations.

“We differentiate ourselves in the markets we serve because of our significant investment in training and certification,” says operations director Steve Morris. “We are heavily invested in training and equipment for aluminum- and carbon fiber-intensive vehicles; we routinely send technicians for advanced training at OEM training centers in Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia and here in California.”

At a Glance:
Pride Auto Body
Van Nuys, Calif.
Main location
Randy Stabler and Robert Turchan
Owners
6
No. of shops
35
Years in business
176
No. of employees
4
No. of DRPs
102,400
Total square footage of shops
164
Total no. of bays
300
Average vehicles per week combined
$575,000
Average weekly volume
$30 million
Annual gross revenue
AkzoNobel
Paint supplier
Celette, Car-O-Liner
Frame machines used
CCC One, Mitchell, ADP
Estimating systems used
www.prideautobody.com

With prior certifications from Audi, BMW, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo, the addition of Tesla to the lineup is putting a charge into the shop’s forward-looking prospects.

“In gridlocked Los Angeles Tesla is a very hot seller, and we see a lot of them on the road. There are usually four or five Teslas in the shop at any given time,” Steve reports. “We expect that number to grow.”

Paint supplier AkzoNobel has provided valuable assistance for plugging into Tesla’s repair requirements. “AkzoNobel thought it was important to serve their existing customers by going through the process of becoming a Tesla Approved Paint Line. Once that approval was obtained last year we were able to utilize our existing Sikkens paint system on Teslas,” he explains.

“AkzoNobel has a pretty solid team of people that are focused on working with shops that are seeking to improve their operations,” says Steve. “We’ve worked closely with this team over the years to develop and implement our current SOPs. The folks at Akzo understand lean principles and have created their own playbook of Process Centered Environment best practices partially based on the work they’ve done with us and other like minded-shops.

He elaborates that “their expertise includes not only refinish processes and technologies, but extends to day-to-day operations as well. One key differentiator is their ongoing support of business development strategies through consultation with a business development manager and through the Acoat Select program. Participation in the Acoat Select program facilitates a shop’s ability to interface with other progressive thinkers in our industry.”

“We focus on the paint, but we also offer other types of classes that are not aligned with certification,” explains Amjad Farah, AkzoNobel OEM key account manager.

“The impact of OE certifications like Tesla on a shop is very significant,” he points out. “While there might be a large investment to gain premium certifications, if a shop understands how to market and promote them it will help differentiate them from the competition. Certifications offer an avenue to gain OEM referral business as well as additional business. With certifications, the shop becomes viewed as a trusted repairer with the knowledge to care for a prized possession.”

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“Several of the large dealer groups around us refer their customers to us because they know that the customer will have an outstanding experience and a repair that is far superior to what is commonly found in our industry,” Steve confirms, further emphasizing the benefits of becoming a TABS – a Tesla Approved Body Shop.

Upon being nominated as a potential TABS by the automaker, “Tesla has an extensive list of required proprietary tools and equipment. All of this equipment is drop- shipped to the shop from Tesla. Then the training phase begins. In our case we are required to have two technicians trained and certified to repair and weld the Model S and the Model X,” he recounts.

“The time for training each tech was three weeks at the Tesla Training Center. We were also required to have two other technicians trained on mechanical, electrical and trim for both models. That training was for two weeks at the training center. Once the training is completed and the all tools acquired, Tesla adds you to the Approved Shop list and adds you to the locator on their website.”

Aptitude and attitude

“We operate in a lean, process-centered environment that segments the steps of the repair process across low-skilled to high-skilled technicians that are paid hourly, not flat rate. In doing so we are able to bring in entry level techs – with aptitude and a good attitude – and train them ourselves. We have countless employees who started with us at entry level positions and are now team leads, blueprinters and even location managers,” Steve says.

“We are obviously pretty proud of our technicians and their skill levels, but something that is unique to Pride is our blueprinting process,” he continues.

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