Focusing on operations is the key to efficiency and profit. By reducing waste, repair shops are able to accommodate customers and bring in more revenue in the same amount of time. Mobility and organization are two areas to focus on when reducing waste.

Master Auto Body
Mike Minutillo of Master Auto Body in south Florida was operating a $1.5 million business with one location and six employees, he told FenderBender.com. In 2008, he asked a third party for a thorough review of his operations and found several areas of waste. After spending a few years restructuring, Minutillo’s shop made $3.5 million in 2013, and he purchased two additional locations. His business now reaches $5 million in annual revenue.

“There are a lot of things that can get in the way of production,” Minutillo said of his overhaul. “The key to lean is wiping away all the unnecessary waste and [streamlining] the process.”

Minutillo’s operations now prioritize mobility and organization. First, he got rid of old and excess inventory and garbage lying around his shop, then moved on to the workbenches. Technicians had been using these as unstructured storage, so he tossed them and brought in mobile carts instead. Finally, Minutillo organized his entire floor. Every item had its place – even the trash can. The new carts held what they could fit, while everything else had its location clearly outlined on the shop floor.

Mobility reduces time and increases accuracy
Instead of walking back and forth to a desk, a technician wheels his cart or brings his mobile device to whatever part of the car he’s working on. He then sends the information he collects wherever it needs to go, whether that’s to billing to create product estimates for a customer or to a manager to approve an order for parts. It may not seem like much in the moment, but updating data immediately improves operating time overall.

Mobility is also beneficial for communicating with team members no matter where they are. If your business, like Minutillo’s, operates in more than one location, mobile software allows your employees to quickly send and receive updates. Servicemen can ask another location for spare parts, managers can check work orders while out of the office, and human resource employees can operate from one building.

Organization and keeping track of inventory
Having a designated location for every item within your shop improves efficiency by reducing time spent looking for parts. It worked for Minutillo, and businesses can employ similar methods and use RFID or barcodes to track inventory. This way, whenever a technician uses or moves a piece of equipment, its new location is easily recorded and instantly updated.

There are various software solutions allowing you to track the movement of equipment within your operation. Minutillo and Martin’s determination to reduce waste proves how profitable mobility and organization can be.

How can Microsoft Dynamics NAV improve operations in your repair shop? Download “Service Management in Microsoft Dynamics NAV” to find out.

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