How To Improve Your Shop With Load Leveling
No matter the size of the shop, load leveling is a pivotal part of your operations. It’s a way for you to not only make more money, but also increase insurance and customer satisfaction with quick service. However, some of the shops that are successfully working beyond their capacity also often experience a few hiccups along the way. Because of this, it can be challenging to keep up with key performance indicators (KPI). Luckily, by splitting work between your operations, you can become more efficient, reduce your cycle time, and increase your throughput.
In a conversation with Fender Bender, Regional Strategic Accounts Manager for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Lee Rush, showed how an operation can utilize load leveling and what procedures could be set in place.
Load Leveling Is All About Splitting Work Volume In Your Facilities
To put it simply, it’s a way to split up jobs between multiple locations in order to avoid over-capacity. According to Lee Rush, there are three major reasons for load leveling:
- It frees up your shops, reduces over-capacity, decreases cycle time, and increases throughput.
- Increases revenue and work for locations with lower volume and capacity.
- The whole process makes everything more convenient for the customer. Many times, people have to wait for repairs, but with load leveling, customers can get their vehicles fixed or painted much more quickly.
Load Leveling Allows You To Take Jobs Beyond Your Capacity
While it may seem a little counter intuitive to some, load leveling actually is a great way to handle any potential negatives of going over capacity. Beyond that, it simply allows for MSOs to increase profits and revenue.
What You Need To Consider Before Implementing Load Leveling
First and foremost, you need to know why you’re choosing to load level. The primary reason should be to move bigger jobs to lower volume locations in order to improve workflow and cycle time. This allows you to focus on current jobs, excellent customer service, and even picking up smaller ones that fit within your capacity.
Setup A Load Leveling Explanation Process
In situations where you receive phone calls, walk-ins, or tow-ins, it’s important to be able to explain load leveling to the customer. Make sure you have an “elevator speech” prepared so you can explain it simply and professionally. Beyond that, just talk about the benefits and how it helps your customer get their vehicle back faster.
Setup Load Leveling ASAP Once A Job Arrives
Typically, shops tend to load level their most challenging job, but that’s not necessarily the right way to go about it (since it has already been sitting there for a few days). When a new task comes in, setup the load leveling process for it within a day. It doesn’t really speed up the process if you choose the one that’s already been sitting there for days.
Know Your Load Leveling Process
To put this stage simply, it’s all about knowing how you transfer vehicles from point A, B, and C. Whichever facilities you choose, you want them to be relatively close to each other.
Get The “OK” From the Receiving Shop
Prior to sending a vehicle over to another facility in your business, make sure everyone is always aware of each location’s current capacity. At the end of the day, communication is an important part of the process.
Consider Third-Party Towing Companies
If you’re not aware of your own towing capabilities, third-party companies are useful as well. However, that decision depends on whether you want to (or can) pay a third-party service. No matter what, transporting vehicles costs money and you should figure out the most efficient strategy for your business.
Have A Good Repair Process For Load Leveling Between Facilities
When a vehicle is transferred to a different shop, there are a few more steps than a typical repair. First, go through and check the vehicle in with the customer. If it’s a DRP assignment, cancel it. Beyond that, you should then contact the other shop, have them request the DRP from insurance, and give them a heads up on when the vehicle will be there. Be sure to also give the customer all necessary contact information for where their vehicle is being transferred to– while also providing the receiving shop their information as well.
Make Sure The Customer Service Representative From The Other Shops Work With The Customer
With the original repair shop, shop shop the vehicle was transferred to, the customer, and insurer, it’s important to note that the original shop shouldn’t have the customer service representative from there speak with the customer at the receiving shop. You don’t want to over complicate the communication process for customers because it’s pretty inefficient and frustrating.
Think About Your Load Leveling Delivery Process
Give customers the option of where they want to pick their vehicle up. Beyond that, also set up a procedure for when customers choose the facility they wish to pick up from. Once done, make sure all important documents are at said facility.
Equipment And Tools To Make Your Load Leveling Process Even Faster
Outside of splitting vehicles up between facilities, it’s also important to have the right equipment to reduce each facility’s cycle time and throughput. In most body shops, the paint booth bake cycle is what typically causes the biggest bottlenecks. If you install equipment, such as a gas catalytic drying, it can reduce bake cycles that are normally hours, into just 16 to 30 minutes. Beyond that, it also saves you quite a big hunk of change each month on electricity and natural gas usage.
Make Sure You Comply To DRP Guidelines
When it comes to the process for customers and insurance companies, you want the process to be as easy and seamless as possible. You don’t want anything to be inconvenient and there should be no differences between repairs within your facilities.
Gascat Dryers provide the best, fastest, and most efficient drying solutions out on the market. We believe that time is money. And with this advanced drying system, your business will reliably process more vehicles each and every day.
Let us help you save time and streamline your paint booth drying processes. Contact us today!