Keenan Auto Body is lean, green and not-at-all mean; for two years in a row the 12-location chain throughout the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Tri-State region has been honored as among the Top 150 Philadelphia Workplaces.
|Avondale, Pa., location|
|Mike LeVasseur, President and COO|
“We separate ourselves from the other MSOs by our size and our culture – our culture is second to none,” says marketing director Craig J. Camacho. “It’s a fun place to work. It’s a transparent atmosphere.”
The highly trained staff of 166, especially the technicians, is empowered to think for themselves and make decisions. “Their hands aren’t tied,” Camacho explains. “They know that they can be the best they can be at their own doing.”
Along with ongoing opportunities for company-paid I-CAR and OEM educational courses, promotions are frequently made from within. Bonus plans are in place for estimators and blueprinters, plus incentives are available for high-achieving customer service representatives and other personnel. The employees also enjoy taking part in Keenan’s numerous charitable events on behalf of the respective communities.
Other personal workplace fulfillment packages come via access to state-of-the-art equipment and the company’s continuing innovative approaches to lean production techniques.
“You can get more done in a shorter amount of time,” Camacho says. “It increases productivity. The techs know each other from shop to shop, and they say, ‘You know, this works.’ The staff is very open-minded and they have embraced positive change.”
A fertile in-house recruiting endeavor is rooted by CROP, the Keenan’s-created Collision Repair Opportunity Program, which builds relationships with high schools and vocational colleges. “Soft skills” such as being on time and having a good attitude are crucial traits for the applicants. “If you like to come in late, this probably isn’t a good fit for you,” according to Camacho. “Our culture is not about being late – it’s about being early.”
Upon acceptance into CROP, a student receives a nine-month unpaid internship for learning body and paint skills and $1,500 worth of tools. Successful graduates keep the tools and gain full-time employment.
Forward-thinking industry consultants were brought in to assist in engineering a proprietary in-house 12-step set of lean procedures that pay close attention to all the key performance indicators (KPIs). Each element of the repair process, ranging from administrative services, intake, release and housekeeping is consistently evaluated and improved with input from the staff. Employee buy in is assured by constant communication throughout the operation.
Individual parts carts, directional lines painted on the floor, precise tool storage spots and waterborne paint capability are just a few of the lean features exclusively designed to ensure smooth and efficient repairs while protecting the environment.
“Lean makes things simplistic-seeming, and that’s the beauty of it,” says Camacho. Strategically placed signage reinforces the message. “You see these posters throughout the shops and everyone follows them. It’s a constant reminder.”