Adding more Genuine GM Parts to your repair mix cuts cycle times and other waste since they always fit right the first time and require no additional work.
Oftentimes, shops need to pair this strategy with additional tactics to run even leaner. They’re fortunate to work in an industry with a plethora of vendor-sponsored lean programs. Even with the available aid, many shops still slip back into old habits, wasting a terrific opportunity to remake their businesses.
BASF says its Advanced Process Solutions (APS) program breaks this cycle of frustration with a plan that keeps shops on track. The BASF difference—according to Business Solutions Leader Tom Hoerner, “APS provides customized plans for individual shops. Then, we stick around long after the deployment to make sure repairers sustain what they’ve started with continued auditing and support.”
This approach helps APS shops reduce cycle time 30 to 50 percent, significantly boosting sales and, says Hoerner, has DRPs knocking on their doors instead of the other way around.
Interested? If you’re a BASF customer, you’ll need a modest investment and the will to change your shop’s business approach and thinking. APS starts with a planning session where BASF APS business coaches and Business Development Managers work with the shop to put together a plan. Since changing a shop’s culture is a key part of APS, Hoerner recommends repairers bring as many employees as possible to the session. “We definitely notice shops that bring in a lot of employees tend to have an easier transition,” he notes.
Repairers return to work with a list of specific tasks to completely transform their operations, including the creation of individualized SOPs. Shops don’t take these critical steps alone as APS provides experts to coach the shop, including a Business Development Manager who helps customize shop processes. BASF then stays actively connected with the shop throughout the entire process, which typically takes 3-4 months.
Equipment expenses are relatively small, often $12,000-$15,000 or less. “Equipment requirements typically aren’t an issue,” says Hoerner. “Many shops already have what they need.” To make APS even more affordable, the costs of the program itself are incorporated into the shop’s paint purchases with BASF.
Jimmy Don Burris, president of Herb’s Paint and Body #5, says the results make the investment more than worthwhile. His business actually helped BASF begin putting APS together five years ago but was too busy to begin fully implementing it.
In late 2014, the business dove into APS and followed with an early 2015 deployment. In just the first six months of implementation, Herb’s cycle times dropped dramatically, from an average 10–12 days to fewer than six. Revenues rose.
Notably, Burris says the shop made all this progress without extreme operational changes. The real transformation was cultural. Attitudes changed. Shop personnel fully bought into modified processes and began rethinking traditional practices.
For example, estimators, disassembly technicians, techs and painters all take part in a blueprinting process with a goal to eliminate any potential issues or “surprises” that could slow down a job. To help drive this initiative, employees adopt a “no supplements” mindset where they hypothetically remove supplement writing as an option.
Herb’s also has radically changed how it handles APS Express Repairs (fast track or 1–2 day repairs) based on new thinking. Previously, these jobs were identified by labor hours or costs. Employees pointed out common factors that often turned express work into something more long term, such as pearl color matching or insurer demands to use salvage parts. In other cases, the
shop discovered that if a vehicle was dropped off early in the morning, work could be completed that day. Now, express repairs are based on multiple considerations that truly allow a job to be performed quickly.
Other changes brought to Herb’s involve building efficiency through role flexibility. Today employees share duties such as checking in work to avoid pulling someone off a job. Employees also are placed in positions where their skills have the greatest impact; estimators provide a final quality check to ensure all work was performed.
Despite the thorough makeover, Burris maintains the business isn’t doing anything special. “We’re just a regular shop doing regular work,” he says. “The biggest difference is in the expectations we have for ourselves and the business. That’s how we maintain change.” That lesson could transform your shop as well.
Category: The Business of Repairs