Mistakes happen, we know everyone makes them, we are only human and in general, are fallible. Foreseeing would be a wonderful thing to save those mistakes from happening, to protect us from embarrassment and loss in business. Some of the mistakes, if not rectified on time may force you to live with it or get embedded in the business eco-system and worsen the scenarios as you go on. Let’s have a quick look at some of the mistakes people make in their Bodyshop/collision repair business.
Wrong Business Targeting
How do you fix your dealer Bodyshop business target? Most people fix a number empirically or consider the previous year’s achievement or by considering the number of vehicles reported in their periodic maintenance, which is wrong. There are two factors mainly to be considered which fixing your Bodyshop business objectives, those are your active car park and the collision rate or the accident rate in your location/area.
For example: Consider 3000 vehicles are your active car park and 50% is your collision rate, you should be targeting 1500 repairs in a year. Also, you need to multiply this number with your per repair or per car Spare parts and Labour sales.
Sometimes people do wrong bench-marking while targeting Spare-part and Labour sales from the Bodyshop. Ideally, these numbers fluctuate depending on the type and nature of your repairs. In order to ensure you are on the right track, you need to perform an estimate validation or a business assessment. If you have the regional average numbers available, partially you may depend on them. However, that will not be a 100% foolproof method.
Improper Bodyshop Design & Layout
If you have any production and quality challenges, check the Bodyshop design and layout in terms of the job flow. The thumb rule is that in any stage the vehicles need not come back– From damage assessment to final inspection, the vehicle flow has to be to the succeeding step. Even if you have a good layout production floor, the positioning of the ancillary rooms and facilities also matters, like easy accessibility to parking, proper illumination, ventilation, parts storage and scrap management, etc.
Subcontracting the Workforce
Many mass segment body shops opt for subcontracting manpower which turns out to be a disaster most of the time. The challenges are maintaining the desired repair quality and production speed due to the lack of skilled manpower engaged by the subcontractor.
The factors behind the Bodyshop technical staff outsourcing are majorly to cut down the manpower cost and to a certain extent limit the number of middle management staff. As an outcome of subcontracting, though the business owner saves marginally in the manpower and associated costs, they will lose a lot in terms of production speed, quality, and customer retention. Subcontracting the Bodyshop manpower is no longer a profitable way of doing business while considering the current customer acquisition cost.
Inefficient Paint & Consumables Supplier
The Bodyshop must consider basically two things here. Primarily the performance of chemicals and abrasives and secondly, training support and capability by the suppliers. It is seen that upfront investing and discounting play a big role here and all other facts are being ignored.
Using substandard products affects the quality and speed of production resulting in huge loss and also it leads to higher consumption, which unknowingly you end up paying more. Ignoring the training support from the supplier will lead to deteriorating standard repair processes and incur a huge loss in terms of revenue. When you select a supplier please ensure their products have a higher life, good training support, and better equipment compatibility.
Inadequate Planning of Spare-Parts Inventory
We are aware that 100% perfect spare parts inventory stocking is not possible at any given point of time in the car dealership operation, however performing a trend and seasonal analysis periodically will help the parts team to stock parts more efficiently and this will increase the production from the Bodyshop. Pre-planning is the key to managing the spare parts inventory effectively.
Wrong Equipment Selection
Though everyone invests in big-ticket items like paint booths and spot-welding machines, most of them become ignorant when it comes to hand tools. I am not talking about the spanners and wrenched here. I am talking about the key equipment which can contribute a lot to the quality and speed of Bodyshop production. Panel repair and measuring tools, Paint stripping tools, Drills, Panel Cutting tools, Various types of sanding tools are some of them.
Consider the training support and after-sales support in your location prior to finalizing the equipment supplier. There are (only)3-4 brands satisfactorily meeting this criterion in this region.
Most of the time it is seen that people are even ignorant in maintaining the equipment.
Inefficient Recruitment Process
Please ensure your business management team is having adequate aptitude and aptitude for the profile they are in. You must recruit people with the necessary business intelligence for your organization. Estimators, Service Advisors, Job Controllers, and Managers are the ones we are talking about. Your business performance purely depends on their performance. Most of the time we have witnessed that the recruitment decision of these profiles is taken by people with inadequate domain expertise.
Frequently Changing Insurance Relations
The insurance companies are the people who majorly contribute to your business inflow. Dealership/Bodyshop must maintain a long-term association. All Service Level Agreements must be discussed and frozen well in advance of the association to ensure a long partnership. Frequently changing business interests by either of the parties will harm the relationship as well as affect car reporting.
Not Investing in Employees
Job-centric coaching and mentorship must be offered to all employees to ensure motivation. Bodyshop business and associated industries are evolving day by day and your employees need to be updated with the latest Bodyshop technologies and trends for easy and faster adaptation for your benefit. Also, job rotation to be offered to eligible ones to ensure the skill uniformity.
There are many to be added to this list. However, reassessing your Bodyshop business and taking corrective actions will eradicate the chances of getting these errors do damage to your business. Your vision and mission must have the foundation of long-term sustainability and profitability.
(This article was originally published in BodyshopGuru)