Improved efficiencies mean a better work-life balance.
When Craftsman Collision began refining its shop production methods three years ago, it wasn’t just to focus on better efficiencies.
The biggest thing for us right now has been to focus on work-life balance. Today, you can spend two hours on an estimate, even for a small job. People are working longer hours, working a lot harder during those hours, and feeling tired.
Our goal is to refine the systems so that staff can deliver quality customer service with less stress, and go home on time. We’ve seen a big shift towards this kind of thinking. There’s so much more complexity to the whole process, and it requires everyone to do more training and support.
At Craftsman, we’ve been working on finding efficiencies throughout the shop processes in conjunction with the help of BASF and its Advanced Product Solution.
Over the years, we’ve ramped up staff to do all the insurance work, so we’ve ended up with double the staff. Running more efficiently and having less cars on the property still allows us to get as many cars through the building, but with less actual administration. The result is that you end up with a much better work-life balance if everything’s organized properly up front.
Over the next three to five years, each of the 40 Craftsman locations will be revamped and reorganized, essentially a freshen-up of all the stores. We have monthly managers’ meetings with all our staff, offering support and encouraging them through the process.
Part of this change also includes a new management system where data can be seen more clearly. It’s a proprietary system that we built in-house and at head office, and we’ve added a lot of support to help implement the systems. We have a human resources department and trainers, as well as a business coach.
There has also been a heavy investment into training for all our front-end staff. Many people are up and coming from parts positions, they move up through estimating and then into management. We use Dale Carnegie for leadership training and our business coach does one-on-one coaching with our staff. It’s not so much about the numbers but about leadership and development.”
“The Human Flywheel”
One particular book on change management and motivation that has drawn my attention is “The Human Flywheel.” It explains how you can get momentum with staff who have seen the benefits of change. Once they’re able to see it, they start talking among themselves, and it becomes a human flywheel of positivity to help implement the change. As more and more shops convert over and use the system properly, we’re getting a lot more buy-in from everyone.
Based on my own experiences in this industry, people need to see how the system works. You can’t just explain it to them—they need support. That’s why we have operations support managers go into the stores and work hands-on with everyone, a week or two at a time, just to get them to use all the systems’ capabilities.
With the growing complexity of vehicles, times have changed. Today, you have to take the time up front to write the repair plan so you’re a hundred percent sure of what you’re doing on the car, what’s allowed to be repaired and what isn’t.
Once you’ve established an overall plan and given it a lot of time so people can adjust and incorporate it into their lives, we’ll all experience the benefits. If we can do it with less effort, it makes a huge difference.