A production cart is a cart set up for a specific task or tasks, such as a detailing cart (Fig 2) or for prep with an SOP. Using standardized products, the cart can be loaded with all the needed supplies for specific task. In collision repair, each crash is different and you cannot anticipate the exact supplies that will be needed for an individual job. However, you can anticipate almost all of the things that will be needed. Consider this: Assume each time you need a supply item and must leave the vehicle to get said item, it takes 90 seconds, which in itself is not a lot. But add up multiple trips over each job, and then multiple jobs per day. The lost time becomes significant. The supply cart can be restocked once or twice daily, perhaps at the morning release meeting or just after lunch, so that technicians will always be able to work on the job at hand.
The same theory can and should be applied to using a movable tool cart (Fig 3). With all the tools neatly tucked into a movable tool cart directly at hand, the technician can, in this case, roll over to the tool cart and get what is needed for the job. In most cases, when the technician is standing to work, the tools can be even closer and speedier to get and use. When the job is finished, the cart can be rolled back to the worker’s larger box, cleaned, stored and maintained for perfect operating shape for the next job. In larger shops with multiple technicians, a supply cart for every two body techs is not a bad idea. This concept also gives operators insight into which team members are frugal with supplies and which ones are wasteful.
Let's talk about the time spent cleaning and straightening the work area. It is a job that most of us don't like; however, most of us also don't like working in a messy area. Each task becomes more difficult and dangerous if we must walk over tools, old boxes and other trash in the work area. At the end of each job, or even as a worker takes a break for coffee, he or she could straighten up the stall and organize the tool and supply carts. A clean work environment is also a reflection of the work being performed in the eyes of customers and insurers.
Each time a vehicle is moved, no one is being paid. Minimize these lost moments by parking vehicles so technicians can move to them to do the work. The way a vehicle is parked also has a significant impact on the through-put time of its repair. Traditionally, vehicles are pulled into a stall. But if the vehicle is parked so the damaged area is toward the aisle (Fig 4), parts can be rolled to it easier (Fig 5); trash and debris are more accessible for clean up; and if the technician needs a second set of hands, help can get there faster and more easily.