When ABRN named Mayfield Collision Centers its 2014 Top Shops winner, two things happened. Mayfield posted the good news on its Facebook page. Soon after, last year's Top Shops winner Lefler's Collision and Glass posted its congratulations. Readers and customers familiar with the Evansville, Ind. shop weren't surprised at the thoughtful move. Lefler's has made a reputation for itself as one of the "good guys" in the industry -- a shop that strives to uphold strong values in quality repairs and caring for its community.
Founded in 1952 by Leroy Lefler and named Leroy's Paint and Fender Repair, the shops was incorporated in 1976 as Lefler Body Shop Inc. by son James. His son Jimmy grew up working in every position--detailing, parts, repair, paint and management. In 2006, he purchased the remaining stock in the shop to become its sole owner. From, there he began assembling his own team and putting in place the operation he wanted.
Today, Lefler's Collision and Glass Centers features four locations with 67 employees working in two cities. Its glass business includes Glass Doctor sites in Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky, along with a local glass shop. The collision part of the business repairs an average of 222 vehicles a week, generating more than $13 million in annual revenue. Lefler's has been named a Top Shop every year it has entered the contest, finishing at the top of the industry twice.
The business has gained much of its notoriety from homegrown operational solutions such as its Claims Processing Unit (CPU). The CPU is manned by employees who process all the paperwork involved with a repair, allowing customer service reps devote their energy to other customer concerns.
The business also employs a full range of lean processes that have effectively cut cycle times by three days and significantly reduced any re-dos. Not content with that achievement, Lefler's location managers continually hone and update these processes to create more efficiency. In the past two years, Lefler hired a Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to handle the business's day-to-day activities to give himself the time to focus on the "big ideas" that will transform his operation.
As noteworthy as these accomplishments may be, Lefler's is arguably even better known for the extraordinary efforts it takes to reach out to its community--both locally and around the world. Jimmy Lefler and COO Ed Dietz regularly speak to groups--including local companies, schools and civic organizations--on vehicle safety, maintenance and other automotive topics.
Lefler also takes part in the annual “100 Men Who Cook” is a community fundraising event that benefits a different local charity each year. This year he and 99 other local celebrity personalities and businessmen raised $104,000 in a single night for the Albion Fellows Bacon Center, which helps abused and battered families.