When someone quits or takes time off, or you have to let someone go, there are always problems keeping a shop operating well, with quality work.
It is an issue that plagues every shop manager.
One shop manager I recently met has a tried-and-true way to do away with this concern.
That person is Mike Anderson, a very successful collision repair shop business owner who now operates Collision Advice, an automotive consulting company. He was the featured speaker at the recent spring meeting of Truck frame and Axle Repair Association (TARA), held in Charm City - the nickname for Baltimore, MD.
Anderson promoted the critical importance of having standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Essentially, an SOP is a standard working tool that can be used to document routine quality system management and technical activities.
With SOPs, a business can ensure consistency in its work and can help it to be system dependent, not people dependent, said Anderson.
Along with SOPs, he said workers need to be given clear expectations of what is expected of them, plus understand why something is to be done a certain way.
Another suggestion of Anderson was for shops to create what he termed an “ideal state” for all shop processes and procedures. The idea here, he said, is to get everything in order and ready prior to the start of every job so that each job can be processed faster.
The result is increased shop efficiency and throughput.
Anderson also stressed the importance of regularly looking for waste in all shops processes. Once found, changes should be made to reduce the waste.
Acknowledging that making changes is never easy, he said the difficulty can be reduced by changing the perspective.
Whenever he had to make changes at any of his collision repair shops, he did several things.
One was to gather those that would be impacted by the change and explain what was going to happen.
Instead of calling it a “change,” he told his people it was an “improvement” and explained why the improvement was being made and how it would make things better.
“Paint a vision and you get people to buy in,” said Anderson.
An interesting school of thought, wouldn’t you agree?