CCC® Checklists – A Call for Consistency

No one likes change, but in today’s business world change is constant. Vehicle complexity and consumers’ growing expectations are forcing body shops to evolve, learn, and rethink processes. Ensuring that your business is in position to continue evolving is necessary for long-term success. Failing to meet increased standards or customer demands can have negative consequences for business. The average consumer doesn’t know much about the collision repair process, but they can see and feel quality when they experience it. What if you could prove to the vehicle owner that processes were accurately followed and a quality repair was performed? You can. Provide them with a copy of your checklist when the vehicle is picked up.

If you own a shop or manage multiple shops, how do you maintain quality with an annual staff turnover of 15%+? The short answer is having a consistent process that is supported by standard operating procedures (SOPs). Shops implement SOPs to ensure a consistent quality repair, but what’s the best way to ensure that the technician—especially one who may be new to your organization—is following stated procedures? Let the tech’s smart phone be a digital sidekick, guiding him through his portion of the repair plan. While your team decides on their post-lunch playlist, they can document the step they just completed and review what’s next all on the same device. While implementing CCC® Checklists is about change, it’s a repetitive process. The goal is to standardize SOPs from the time the car is dropped off until it’s picked up. Standardized processes supported by CCC Checklists make it easier to plug in a new employee and help improve reliable quality.

Start with the end in mind, then build complexity. Best practices suggest that success depends on consistent training, management, and support. Set appropriate expectations and hold people accountable. Identify those who have bought into the new process and recognize them for it. Make them the subject matter experts on the new process and give them opportunities to coach and mentor. Identify those who need additional reinforcement and support them. Like all software, CCC Checklists is a tool that needs to be used. Regular audits will help to determine if SOPs are being followed and will also identify “pencil whipping.” A “no exceptions” policy needs to be adopted by the organization to provide consistency. Ultimately, using CCC Checklists helps reduce the potential for mistakes, improve quality assurance, educate your team, and maximize shop productivity.

At first, introduce a simplified checklist. Activating a complex approach before employees have a chance to get familiar with the functionality can be overwhelming and negatively impact adoption. Once everyone is adjusted to the functionality, adding additional items is seamless. The initial use should be more of an introduction or first step rather than a final product. Changes should be built in gradually. Some organizations may only take a few weeks to add complexity. Some may require several months. The key is to manage the process and adoption at the end-user level. Make sure that consistency is in place across the shop before expanding the capability.

The initial implementation should be to use CCC® Checklists as a final quality check after repairs have been completed. This is a simple, yet effective use of the tool to verify nothing in your process was missed. Using Checklists as a final QA process will help reduce comebacks, hold staff accountable, and get them accustomed to the new tool. Checklist items are time, date, and user-stamped, so identifying who is following the process is easy to determine. More importantly, identifying pencil whippers is easy to identify as well.

While every shop runs slightly differently, pain points tend to be consistent. Expand the use of Checklists to reduce pains associated with documenting prior damage, body quality control before going to paint, and requiring photos of in-process paint work. Once the first batch of pain points is brought under control, add additional checklist details to cover items like checking for warning lights (at drop off), pre-scan completed, post-scan completed, and parts mirror matched. This stage helps catch issues during the repair process to help shops meet their promise dates and reduce the potential for comebacks. Once issues on a repair occur, they tend to snowball, causing the repair team to play catch-up to keep the car on schedule. Using CCC Checklists as part of the repair process helps the shop be more proactive.

Buy-in will continue to increase when techs realize they can earn more for work they are already doing. An RO is simply a set of assumptions, but assumptions can be inaccurate. When a repair requires additional set up or prep, have the tech take a photo of the progress. They can automatically document the change using CCC Checklists. They won’t mind taking the picture if it highlights additional work that went beyond what was in the RO. Teach them to take pride in their product and document it. The other benefit to the shop is it documents thoroughness. The advanced capabilities allow for the vehicle to be covered from the time the vehicle is dropped off. Front office staff are brought into the mix and held accountable for all activities before repairs begin. DRP program-specific items can be added to help follow insurance company-specific guidelines. The same can be done with OE certification requirements to help insure a safe repair.

With vehicle complexity increasing and customer expectations on the rise, CCC Checklists allows for you to add defined processes to be followed consistently. Leverage the fact that the staff already have smart phones, which will facilitate the use of this capability to support your SOPs. As the tool becomes more ingrained in a shop’s processes, look to evolve how it’s used. As more advanced capabilities are added, the more complex repairs can be managed even more thoroughly. This could reduce vehicle return rate for large repairs. The key is to be consistent with the use of the tool and support the capability with steady training, management, and encouragement. Learn more about CCC Checklists here.

+ 2019 Snapshop of the Collision Repair Industry Executive Summary. Collision Repair Education Foundation, I-Car