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8 top trends for collision center facility layout and design

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 06:00
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As a collision shop owner, you may want to consider many operational factors when building or renovating a facility for maximum layout effectiveness. Facility layout and design is such an important component of your business's overall operations, both in terms of maximizing the production process effectiveness and meeting the needs of your employees. The basic objective of the layout is to ensure a smooth flow of work, material, and information through the system. A facility is the space in which a business's activities take place. The layout and design of that space greatly impacts how the work is done—the flow of work, materials, and information through the system.

The interior and exterior of your shop are a reflection of the entire business, so ensure that they are attractive, updated, clean and further enhance your business reputation.

A key to good facility layout and design is the integration of the needs of people (customers and technicians), materials (GOM, AP and in process vehicles), and equipment  (frame racks, lifts, spray booth, prep units, capital equipment) in such a way that they create a single, well-functioning system.

Here are some criteria to consider:

Ease of future expansion or change
Your collision facility should be designed so that it can be easily expanded or adjusted to meet changing production needs. Although redesigning a facility is a major, expensive undertaking, there is always room for continuous improvement as the industry changes, a redesign or allocation of space may be necessary so remember any design should allow for flexibility. The goal is to minimize production times for various levels of repairs while still achieving close to assembly line (single-product) production.

Flow of movement
The facility design should reflect the importance of smooth process flow. Ideally, the plan will allow for vehicles entering your facility at one end and the completed vehicle emerging at the other. Your flow may not be a straight line but limit the amount of movement whenever it is an option.  Avoid backtracking whenever possible as this adds redundant steps (waste) to your process. When parts and materials move against or across the overall flow, personnel and paperwork become confused, parts become lost, and the repair process becomes complicated.

Having the correct amount of space and lighting in specific work areas can impact employee morale and job satisfaction.

Materials and parts handling
Collision shop owners should make certain that the facility layout makes it possible to handle inventory of GOM, AP & Parts, in an orderly, efficient—and preferably simple—manner.  Just-in-time ordering can be a cost-effective method for both parts and inventory.  Requiring full blueprinting of a vehicle ensures the correct parts are ordered and the reduction of supplements.  This process will also ensure vehicles that have complete parts available are being worked on inside of your facility.

Space utilization
Utilizing your available space to maximize production will have a huge impact on your productivity. This aspect of facility design includes everything from making sure that traffic lanes are wide enough for turning radius, work bays large enough to accommodate specific repair task as well as making certain that areas utilize as much vertical space as possible to free up the floor for actual production.

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