Shop Management | Operations - Collision Repair

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Agility in the future collision repair shop

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 09:00
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The collision repair industry landscape has changed in recent years, due to increasing competitive challenges. OEMs have chosen to satisfy customer needs by increasing product variation and complexity. This complexity is felt in the “re-manufacturing” process we know as collision repair. Combined with new insurance company requirements and – most importantly – evolving consumer expectations, a new standard for how collision shops operate is quickly taking over the industry. For a number of highly performing larger shops, it’s already here.

Agile remanufacturing aligns skill set to labor operations and the constantly changing labor demands.

As we transition into 2019 there are radical changes reshaping the collision industry landscape, including consolidation of many markets. Modern consumers have grown accustomed to personalized, on-demand experiences. Insurance companies (customers) want to be treated individually. Insurance companies are introducing more new claims products more quickly, and are focusing their marketing on specialized products such as Allstate® QuickFoto Claim. Our industry is on the cusp of the information age, and these changes are ushering in new challenges for collision repairers.

What is our best approach to these challenges? We must become agile.

Agility is the ability to thrive and prosper in an environment of constant and unpredictable change — does this sound like our production floors? A shop that positions itself to adapt and adjust to the changing environment will not only navigate the challenges, it will thrive on new opportunities.

What does an agile shop look like? How does an agile shop operate?

Visual management

Facility design is a critical component of the agile shop. How we utilize and repurpose space within our collision centers will determine our level of productivity and profitability. A work environment can be structured in a way that makes it self-explaining, self-ordering, and self-improving and can be managed visually. An out-of-standard situation is immediately obvious and can be easily and quickly corrected.

To reduce waste and become a more agile facility, we recommend redesigning the production floor for continuous flow.

In order to reduce waste and become a more agile facility we recommend redesigning the production floor for continuous flow. To accomplish this, we need to face the reality that we must serve customers within their expectations with perfect quality, on-time delivery, and at a lower cost. To approach these demands requires that the shop is already using some improved production methods such as Damage Analysis and Parts Correctness. This is a starting point. You can only build agility on a firm foundation. Only the innovative and agile companies will be positioned to make the most of these changes.

Damage analysis

Damage analysis and blueprinting is process to determine all the needs of the vehicle through complete disassembly and analysis. Components are analyzed carefully to determine need of repair or replacement. Instead of discovering additional operations halfway through the repair cycle, these requirements are identified in advance. The needs of the vehicle are documented within a repair order to ensure 100 percent accuracy. This work is done by a dedicated, experienced analyst: a Repair Process Manager (RPM), not a traditional estimator.

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