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Challenging Opportunities

Extreme COVID-19 control measures have had a dramatic impact on collision repairers but, amongst the challenges there are opportunities, says Greg Tunks, PPG MVP Business Solutions Manager ANZ.

With a large proportion of the community locked down at home, accident rates have plummeted and so have work opportunities for collision repairers. Not surprisingly, it has many repairers feeling anxious about when things will return to normality – whatever ‘normal’ happens to be in the future! While it’s natural to be apprehensive, the nationwide MVP Business Solutions team believes it’s also a time to take control of what you can control and put your business in the best position to take advantage of future opportunities.
Some of these actions are straightforward and many repairers (particularly those currently working with the MVP Business Solutions team) will have already done them, while other actions are more complex and are perfect to do when the workshop is quiet.
  • End-to-end shop clean – A clean and tidy shop is a more efficient, productive and pleasant place to work. As you go through the workshop, get rid of anything that is no longer required and, for what remains, ensure everything has a place and everything is in its place. Consider going one step further and using this action as a step towards implementing 5S workplace organisation.
  • Review the internal layout – Making significant changes while in full production mode is almost impossible, whereas quiet time makes it much easier. Reorganise the workflow through the shop and mark out new bays, etc. It’s also a good time to test this new system and make any adjustments, if necessary.
  • Review repair processes – In conjunction with the layout review, it makes sense to also look at your repair processes and how you might be able to alter them. By better understanding any roadblocks or hurdles in various steps of the production process it’s possible to find valuable way to streamline workflow.
  • Strengthen the relationship with your staff – This is all about communication. Help staff to understand what is happening to the business, what it’s likely to need in the future and how they fit into the overall picture. Don’t get too complex – just explain the facts in frank terms.
  • Conduct staff training – ‘Too busy’, is one of the key reasons repairers give for putting off training – while it’s quiet is an ideal time to upskill staff and cement new skills.
  • Planning – This is an absolutely crucial part of any business – without planning, the business effectively has no direction. If you don’t already have a business plan, now is the time. In addition, look at a financial plan, a marketing plan, a production plan, etc. None of these plans need to complex – keep it simple, effective and easy to follow.
These are just a few key suggestions but there are plenty more available – just speak to your local MVP Business Solutions manager.
In a world of reduced accident repair claim, community lockdowns, social distancing, etc. it’s imperative to do everything possible to keep work coming in the door. It might mean getting a little creative and proactive in order to better meet customer needs. Some we have seen already include setting up a ‘social distancing’ customer drop-off and pick-up system at the shop, remote estimating at the customers home or workplace and a pick-up and delivery service to the customer’s address. Overall, the message is to act now because the work you put in now to lay a strong foundation will give your business the best chance to come out the other end in a better position.
For further information or to access the wide variety of support services on offer, contact the MVP Business Solutions team at mvp.anz@ppg.com