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Fast track repairs lead to better cycle time

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 07:00
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Whether you call them fast track repairs, express or a branded name, these small repairs could be the key to improving cycle time. Fast track repairs generally cost less than $1,500, which for most shops is commonly 45 percent to 50 percent of their business.  

If you add the repairs between $1,500 and $3,000, which account for another 30 percent on average, you will quickly see that up to 80 percent of a shop’s repairs might qualify for fast track. If you speed that work up by moving it through the shop more efficiently, you will notice a reduction in your overall cycle time. This sounds simple, but how does it work?

The first step is a thorough estimate; we are dealing with small repairs, so even the smallest supplement will slow the process. This might require some minor tear down but remember we are focusing on smaller repairs so there will not be significant damage. You might just need to loosen a bumper or remove a headlamp.

If you find any structural damage during your inspection the repair is not recommended for fast track. Also during the estimating process, you will need to talk with the paint team to validate refinishing needs. Your goal through the estimating process is to identify all the steps to eliminate anything that might go wrong.

Once you have completed the estimate the next step is to schedule the repair at a time when you will have all the parts required as well as an available technician. I discussed this in my May article, Scheduling Repairs For Anticipated Vacancies Is Sustainable.  Maximizing your schedule to have a vehicle ready to be repaired linked up with a technician ready to repair it will ensure the touch time is high and cycle time is low.

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I used this process in a customer’s shop recently and we cut their cycle time in half. Mind you it was a little high to start with, so your results might be different. The improved cycle time also did not happen overnight. We worked for three months changing habits and moving the Monday drop-offs into Tuesday and Wednesday. As we went through the process we found that the paint shop was holding up the fast track repairs so we had to make some changes there as well.

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