A common practice I have noticed among hugely successful collision repair shops is that they hold daily production meetings and discuss an accurate delivery list. The list is shared between all members of the team. It is like holding a huddle prior to snapping the ball in a football game. The list represents your game plan. My personal preference is to print a list of the vehicles going home today and the ones going home tomorrow.

Look at your delivery list: how many vehicles are scheduled to go home today? Now let’s be honest, are all of those vehicles really going to make it home today? Don’t set yourself up for failure and, worse yet, create a “wish list” as the technicians often refer to them. We can still be aggressive on meeting our sales goals without creating the following list of problems caused by an unrealistic delivery list…

  • Impossible to properly focus on too many vehicles on the list
  • Increase in quality defects
  • Increase in process defects
  • Bottlenecks form
  • Flow decreases
  • CSI suffers
  • Cycle time suffers
  • Late customer notification (lack of confidence of successful completion)
  • High percentage of missed promises with customers
  • Lack of a sense of accomplishment on the team

Laser Focus

The reason we must have a realistic delivery list is so that the team becomes laser focused on making sure all the repair jobs on the list go home! When you are able to identify which vehicles should be on your list based on promises to the customer, parts on hand, stage of repairs, etc., you can create your aggressive, yet realistic list either the morning of or the previous afternoon. It should require a little extra thought and time to create this list because it forces you to answer questions.

  • Do I have or will I (FOR SURE) have all the parts I need to assemble today?
  • Will the paint work be done no later than noon today?
  • Will there be a reasonable amount of time left to assemble today?
  • Are all the sublets either done or scheduled?
  • Are there any Malfunction Indicator Lamps present on the instrument panel?
  • What are the chances we will discover additional suspension problems once the alignment is attempted?
  • Has the repair quality been inspected or are there still unresolved issues that could sneak up on us?
  • Have 100% of the parts been painted prior to assembly?
  • Do we have the capacity to assemble this many cars today?
  • Do we have the capacity to detail this many cars today?
  • If we shift our resources in order to accomplish today’s list, what will it do to the shop’s flow tomorrow and the next day? Will bottlenecks/delays form in other departments?

If you can’t properly answer all of these questions on a repair job, the job probably shouldn’t be on the list to go home today. If a job is not on the list for today but we get it done today anyway…yay for us!

The idea is that we place the right amount of effort on all jobs in the system, but we place extra focus (laser focus!) on the jobs going home today. This list MUST get done…no exceptions! (And no sandbagging either!) There is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that you and your team have delivered all the vehicles on the list. It becomes an addictive game so don’t ruin it by creating a game that no-one ever wins!