By Bruce Adams, ABRN Correspondent
Mike Anderson, owner of Wagonwork Collision Center in Alexandria, Va., presented a Monopoly-themed seminar Wednesday afternoon on "Standard Operating Procedures: Managing by Process not by Luck."
Participants got to roll dice and pick a “Chance” card to learn their next challenge.
“We take a lot of chances in this industry and the average shop manages by luck rather than by process,” Anderson says. “When you run your business by a roll of the dice your business becomes a crapshoot. You need to manage by process, not by luck, to operate your business effectively and to reduce stress and tension.”
Shops should develop standard operating procedures (SOPs), train coworkers on how to achieve SOPs, test coworkers to make sure they know the SOPs and audit them to make sure the SOPs are being used, he said.
“When training, remember that everybody has a different style of learning,” Anderson says. People typically learn by reading, watching, listening and through hands-on experience.
There also are many different ways to test, including written, verbal, Web-based and hands-on testing. The best method depends on the presentation of materials and the type of information they are trying to learn.
Auditing is perhaps the most important and overlooked element.
“You must audit performance or the other three steps are wasted,” he says. “It is similar to building parts at a plant. They often go back and recheck the mold to make sure it still is accurate. If the mold is off, the parts won’t work.”
A SOP can be developed for virtually any process or job, including disassembly, reassembly, damage analysis, answering the phone, administrative tasks, job descriptions and refinish work.
The Chance cards explored a variety of real-life problems, such as “The door of my car has a ding in it that wasn’t there when I dropped it off.” Participants were challenged to resolve the problems.
“I know all the things that create headaches in this business,” says Anderson, who owns two shops in Alexandria, Va. “The No. 1 reason vehicles are not delivered on time is that we forget about last-minute parts that are needed. Shops need to develop a system that will identify all the broken parts the fist time around so they can do it right the first time.”
When developing SOPs, repair shops need to identify a champion who is passionate about implementing them. That person should come from within rather than outside the organization.
“If employees are involved with developing SOPs they have more ownership of them and are more likely to follow through to success,” he says.