Tips to improve our bodywork garage when returning to activity
Many owners and managers of bodywork repair garages, and also employees, do not usually spend much time focusing on improving the processes and operations because they must pay constant attention to the day-to-day work of the business. However, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the inactivity that has pushed many countries into confinement measures provide the opportunity to ìmprove several aspects of the garage so that we will be prepared to go back to work when activity returns to normal.
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is affecting each country, even though the incidence of the disease and the measures taken by the governments to fight it have not been the same worldwide. Some countries, like Spain or Italy, have imposed strict confinements while others, such as Germany or Sweden, have adopted less restrictive measures. Therefore, vehicle repair businesses in each country have been affected in different ways.
However, even if in most of these countries businesses have not massively closed, at least they have seen a sharp decrease in their activity, which has allowed the professionals (both with and without managerial responsibilities) to have more time on their hands. Time is something they do not normally have under regular circumstances.
This is why, both if the garage is in a deadlock or working at idle speed, hoping to speed things up when demand increases, there are several common elements that they can take care of. Now is the time to clean and disinfect the facilities (walls, counters, floors…). It could even be interesting to consider painting the garage (interior and exterior) to give it a clean and renovated look that can improve our image towards our clients.
Likewise, other factors that deserve our attention in this situation are the financial evaluation of the business and technician training. We cannot forget about doing inventory of our material stock, parts, individual protection equipment… these are fundamental things to return to activity. We should take advantage of this period to perform maintenance on equipment and tools, or the necessary renovations in our facilities that might have been postponed by the day-to-day workload.
Now that guaranteeing the optimum efficiency and productivity in our garage is fundamental for our results we should ask ourselves questions such as: are there bottlenecks in our workflow? Are we wasting time moving cars around instead of repairing them? An evaluation of the garage design and the repair process can help us identify new opportunities to improve the way the cars move throughout the repair, increasing efficiency and reducing non-billable time.
From workplace rationalization on each stage of the repairing process to vehicle tracking systems or the implementation of containers or trolleys for parts, the simplest changes can mean big improvements that result in a financial return.
We must take extra care in the painting area. On one hand, the paint booth, a key area of the garage, should receive all of our attention. It must be one of the elements that go through a meticulous cleaning, as well as performing the usual maintenance such as replacing filters, renovating lighting...
Likewise, it is important to clean thoroughly the mixing area, as well as paying attention to all of the available material to make sure it is ready for use. The same can be said about the tools (including digital ones) that we use in that area. You must take into account that any improvement will show off. Reducing the time the painter spends in the mixing area will increase the profitability of the painting area and, therefore, of the whole business. In this last section, garages can learn how the future of a mixing room will be with MoonWalk™, a development that automizes the paint mixing operations with precision, saving time and eliminating the waste of materials.