For Capacity Month at Progi, I had a conversation with Charles Aubry about what he calls the three platinum rules of collision shops.
These rules, he says, are like eggs, flour, and yeast in a bread recipe: each ingredient is essential to the whole. Likewise, to have a successful and profitable collision shop, three ingredients are necessary, which all precede the repair work itself: appraisal, parts process, and production schedule.
The key to maximize gains for your collision shop is to think of these three elements in relation with one another.
When all the ingredients are perfectly blended, the dough will rise.
In Rule number 1, we discussed the importance of a good appraisal. Now let’s look at what can be done in the parts purchasing process.
Rule Number 2: Defining Roles for Good Parts Management
For a smooth journey from vehicle appraisal to repair, you must ensure that your staff will have the right parts on hand when the vehicle goes into production. That’s why an efficient and effective parts management and purchasing process is so important.
At this stage, you will start to see the benefits of a quality appraisal: if you have identified the impact of each part and defined its role, the accuracy of the information will make the buyer’s job much easier and more efficient.
The key word is organization. You need a well-defined plan. As Charles Aubry says: “Performing collision shops have already determined who does what and when.”
You will therefore benefit from a clear structure of the steps involved in purchasing and using the parts. And for each of these steps, you need to clearly define who will be responsible for:
- Ordering parts
- Receiving parts
- Inspecting parts
- Putting the parts on a cart and assigning it to the right vehicle
- Bringing the parts to the technician
- Finalizing the file
An optimized process will save you precious time and reduce the risk of errors, especially if information flows well between the different actors in the chain. With all the information in hand, it becomes easier to plan the production schedule according to the delivery times, and to get the customer to the workshop at the right time.
Finally, Charles stresses the importance of good parts inventory management. Keeping too much stock can have a big impact on your wallet, not to mention the constraints of storage space and stock management.
It is better, he says, to keep a smaller stock and order parts as you need them. This way you gain flexibility, and with powerful digital purchasing platforms such as ProgiParts, and good planning, it is no longer necessary to have everything directly at hand.
For more information on the parts purchasing process, I recommend the following article: Order Better: The Importance of a Reliable Parts Procurement Process for the Collision Shop Manager.
In the third and final part of the platinum rules for collision shops, we will discuss the method of planning the production schedule.