Archive for January, 2015

The Color of Money.

Posted: January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

Tuning-Flip-Flop-01_04

I remember the day in 1999 when I first saw a color shift paint job. Everyone went crazy over it. I believe then it was $32 an ounce to buy…crazy right? Todays custom finishes have evolved further and more and more these colors are finding their way into OEM formulations.

Color is the number one highest material cost that body shops encounter and yet we focus on everything but that! I need a cheaper clear, cheaper tape, cheaper razor blades or cheaper sandpaper. Color is 30-35% of what you buy. Control color cost and you are well on the way to solid profitability on materials.

Specialty pigments are popping up everywhere and if you don’t charge for them you will loose a lot of money. Most of the paint companies have quick reference guides available that will help identify these colors containing specialty pigments. Pay close attention and you will see what we are talking about here.

Why do we pick colors in the paint shop? Why not do it when we write the estimate? Ive seen jobs that $30 an hour wouldn’t even cover the cost for the color, much less the rest of the paint and materials…Create a simple repair order invoice and the problem is solved.

Forget specialty colors for a minute…why do we edge parts with the “Prime/Standard” mix? Why not pick the variant and mix the right color to begin with? Chances are we throw away enough product to paint the whole part because we got in a hurry to edge a part for a body man to hang. Why is it so hard to mix paint once for a job? Waste paint is ok because it will get used eventually right? WRONG. It will sit in huge fire cabinets forever and just wait to be dumped out.

What’s wrong with dumping waste paint into similar color gallon cans and using it “base up” with? If you use every drop of color you mix, you will be well on your way to controlling your expenses.

tB

Advertisements

google splash

We have all been there. A peaceful morning in the shop office is shattered by a single phone call.  The callers question? “When will my car be ready?” Off to the races, receptionist says “Hold on a minute,let me check!” Then we proceed to interrogate everyone in the shop office, head to the body shop and ultimately we end up in the paint shop asking the painter when he is going to get that car done…(which by the way he just got a few minutes ago because of everything else that delayed the car for the last 10 days!)…and then we talk about needing faster paint or a better painter or someone to come fix our “bottleneck” in paint!

Hello! I Tim Briggs and I feel your pain. If this has never played itself out in your shop office, stop reading here and check out another post on our blog at https://collisionedge.wordpress.com

So…why is communication so hard? Its hard because in Body Shops have tough jobs that involve many different people both inside and outside our business.

Common Answer: I’ll just “buy a management system”. This is not a bad idea, but don’t waste your money unless you intend to build your communication process first. These free tools from Google will help you with that…

Years ago I bought a day planner thinking “This will organize me”…I doodled in it, made notes, carried it around and finally threw it in the trash because I found I didn’t have time to be organized because I was too busy! I bought a solution to a problem, but failed to execute the solution because it was someone else’s system and I didn’t take the time to wrap my activities around it.

If you can’t draw your process in crayon on your office wall, don’t expect a piece of software to do any better. (Seriously, don’t draw on your walls with crayon, the guys with white coats will find you and dart you!)

Google Apps offers some serious benefits to shop owners with ZERO cost.

I’m not a paid Google spokes person.  When I find simple solutions for my customers that work I’m going to talk about them! Google has created software versions similar to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. These programs are offered free to registered users. They are not as pretty as other programs, but boy are they powerful. Here is why. We all use excel to create to go lists, process sheets and if we get really fancy financial tracking. These sheets are typically locked away on one computer in the shop or maybe they are even on a shared server. Even still edits are painful because of versioning and other issues. Google sheets looks ordinary, even cheap compared to Excel…with one exception…50 people can be on a single sheet at one time editing cell by cell beside each other LIVE with autosave every time you click out or hit the enter button. So what is the win? You can now create and share your production sheet with your entire organization simultaneously and allow your people to edit the sheet live. Here is an example.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 11.45.42 PM

We created this for a customer to track jobs through various production phases. All of these files are stored in another App called “Google Drive” your password protected Google Drive holds all types of files. You can even create subfolders for say “each customer” and have all of your people upload or view vehicle pics right from their smartphone over your wireless for Free. This stops the question “You got a picture of where these emblems go boss?”

I’ve used this app to set up parts return logs, parts room inventories of “leftover un-returnable items” whatever. Its very easy to work with once its set up.

Google calendars offers the ability to create individual employee calendars as well as shared calendars and email reminders to coordinate all of your staff together. Schedule cars in and out, keep up with booth maintenance items and remember your anniversary or spouse’s birthday all at once, totally secure, with the ability to display multiple calendars on top of each other all driven by your log in. You have total control of who sees what, when and where.

Google communities and Google Groups, offers you the ability to create a closed group that stream post like other social media outlets. Your people can collaborate 24/7 from any device.

Google Hangouts even allows you to video chat with anyone or any group of people anytime or anywhere you wish, even in your own building! Again, Free.

How cheap are big screen TV’s today? Any store you go to will have a 8 Zillion inch “old tech” tv for surprisingly cheap. Go out in your shop, hook up a $200 computer with a browser and your done. Put one in every department…It will pay for itself immediately and it raises the image of our collision centers.

I know many of you have already taken the technology plunge, this was not for you. If you have invested in I.T. make sure you are utilizing the functionality and getting good information out of your system. If you are not sure you are, then why are you paying for it each month? Keep it simple.

I hope this information was helpful to you. Please feel free to comment, subscribe and share our little blog. Find more information about us at http://www.collisionedge.com. We are always available to assist you in setting up your system.

Check out the Collision Edge Facebook page…we have a fun offer going on right now.https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1587549124815410&id=1491825211054469

Have a good day yall!

tB

Buffing Cart

Why is it so hard to keep things straight in our shops?

How much time do you waste looking for all the things you need to get cars done?

The example pictured above is a Buffing Cart.  It’s an example of a “point of use cart” that has been very effective in saving time and wasted materials. I’ve worked with a lot of customers to develop custom solutions for visual organization. Any time you work in a group of people with overlapping tasks, staying organized is a challenge. The true test of an organizational system is how long it stays that way!

Anyone can clean up a work area and increase the appearance of orderliness, but it takes thought to build a system that produces consistent results. Experience has led me to a few simple rules that will hopefully help you in your business.

1. Keep it simple.

What are you trying to accomplish? What are the steps to make that happen? What products will be involved? You need to know every product that could be involved, don’t leave anything out. List out the tools, consumables, personal protective equipment, etc. (Take note of all the duplicated products that each person in your business keeps. How many gallons of body filler do you have open at one time? Compound? Glaze? Rolls of Tape?)

2. Make it easy.

If you are trying to influence people to a shared vision, start by making the solution benefit each of them. After all, they will be the one to use the solution day in day out. If you involve the people in the creation of the solution, they will contribute and accept the final process as their own.

3. Optimize. Focus on the cost not the price.

Every process creates waste that effects another process. Example, if you are building a plastic filler cart, put a vacuum sanding system on it. Expensive? Yes, but cheap compared to the labor involved in cleaning bond dust out of a car or creating a dissatisfied customer. The buffing cart above has a plug in power supply for the cart that energizes a surge strip that feeds an electric DA, Flood Light, variable speed buffer and a radio. (DA never gets used for dirty prep work this way)

4. Make it Visual and Vertical.

Every product needs to be organized visually on the cart. Don’t leave any question as to the precise location of each product. If you have 3 boxes of sandpaper, cut square holes where they go and put a picture of the box in the bottom of the hole! Oversimplified? Yes. Effective? Absolutely. You will notice in the picture, we streamlined the products to 2 compound bottles, a trigger bottle of 50/50 alcohol and water (cool trick for final cleanup to make sure you didn’t just fill swirl marks instead of eliminating them), a trigger bottle of plain water, glass cleaner, and trim black. Notice that these round cutouts are on a flat surface? Every other surface is vertical with good reason. Its hard to pile trash on sloped surfaces. Notice the cutout for the dedicated detail DA? Its round like the pad so it says to everyone “the DA goes here”. The plastic box holds 4 microfiber towels, one for each step of cleanliness. Have you ever had a tech final wipe a car with a rag that had compound on it? What about buffing pads? They need to be ultra clean. Put them in a dedicated plastic box, again with a picture of the pad on the box. (How many times have you walked through your shop and seen a buffer laid on its back with a pad facing a sky full of flying dirt,metal and other nasty scratchy particles?)  Organize everything on the cart this way, use magnets, velcro strips, zip ties whatever it takes to make it easy and visual. If you want the cart to roll around the shop, rip those little 3″ plastic wheels off and put some 10″ 4X4 cushion tires on it.  Many shop owners I’ve worked with try to solve problems by adding rules that no one will follow after the boss gets tired of enforcing them! Don’t expect your people to use a solution that makes their job harder! Just make it easy and they will love it.

5. Don’t expect to just buy your solution on the internet. 

There is not a company out there that can offer your shop the perfect organization solution. Buy something that is 75% there and make the rest work for you. Home Improvement and Craft stores have lots of solutions, just keep your eyes open when your out. We found the DA pad boxes at Hobby Lobby! The Container Store is also a great place to find storage solutions.

primer cartPrimer Cart2Priming Cart

I truely hope that you enjoyed this information. We love to solve problems for customers. If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it. Also, you can subscribe to our blog by just clicking the subscription button and entering an email. Collision Edge will do our best to keep bringing you New Solutions to Old Problems!

Our website is http://www.collisionedge.com Check out “The Tape Thing” if your there!