In last month’s column, I shared some KPIs you should be hitting in your paint shop in terms of productivity and profitability. Whether you’re working to reach those numbers — or you’re already there but still see room for improvement — over the next several columns I’m going to offer a deeper dive into some of the factors you should be considering in terms of maximizing your paint shop performance.
Make the right product selection
Have you assessed what’s available in the marketplace in terms of alternatives to the paint and related products you’re using now that could improve your production speed?
I’m not talking here about choosing one manufacturer’s basecoats while using another company’s clears. The best way to increase productivity and have a durable, long-lasting finish is to stick to one manufacturer’s complete system. Don’t deviate from the system or play amateur chemist because the products are not all compatible. If you don’t like some components of the system you’re using, then look for a complete system that makes sense for your shop’s environment and your painters. If you’re starting to “cocktail” and buy other products outside your system, then it’s time to look for a complete other system that better satisfies your needs.
I’m also not talking about switching paint lines or product solely to reduce costs. That’s usually not the best route to increased profitability, given that your customers’ vehicles are at risk. In my experience, shops can usually find more than the few dollars they save by using a cheaper product by instead eliminating waste or making other changes. Thinking you can solve a problem simply by spending less (or spending more) isn’t usually the best approach.
Instead, what I’m suggesting is working with your jobber or tech-rep to ensure the products you’re using are the best for your shop environment. Every shop is different. Climates and humidity vary by region. Your booth likely differs from the one at the shop down the road. The quality of air make-up varies shop-to-shop.