I recently attended an I-CAR class, Cycle Times, which touched on the subject of lean. It was a great class. If you’re interested in improving the time it takes repair a vehicle at your shop, then I would recommend you attend this class. They mention in the class that cycle time is not only the responsibility of the manager or technician, but of everyone there. Everyone from the receptionist to the detail tech have an important job and role to improve cycle time. Therefore, I recommend this class for everyone at your shop.
As we peel the layers of what lean looks like for a body shop, I will share my discoveries with you. One of the concerns with lean is organization. Good organization skills can save you time and headaches, if you take the time to take the necessary steps. If you have a place for everything and know where it will be every time you need it, this will save a considerable amount of time for you and the other technicians in the shop.
One way to stay organized is by using rolling carts or stands. You may consider buying enough rolling stands to be able to assign one to each vehicle in the shop. When a job is started, the technician should put all the parts to the car on this stand. Be sure to bag and label all small parts, clips, screws, etc. I recommend having a separate labeled bag for each part (R. Fender, Ft Bumper, etc.) taken off the vehicle. Once the technician is done with the vehicle, the stand moves to the next work area with the car. This will allow the vehicle and the parts to stay together at all times. This will eliminate walking back and forth the shop if another technician is taking additional parts or moldings off. When the car is ready to reassemble, everything will be right there ready to be installed.
This is just a small step your shop can do to produce a more organized system that will improve cycle times and help you take another step towards a lean working environment.
As I learn more about lean and how it fits into the collision industry, I’ll post it on this blog. If you have any questions, comments, or advice about the lean process, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment.