Transform Your Career in Auto Body Repair by Adopting "Lean" Principles
“Lean” methods consist of a value-focussed approach to maximizing efficiency and cutting waste in a business. It’s an approach that’s been getting more and more attention in recent years. And while this method is used across many industries, it can offer many benefits to auto body shops. Lean principles are nothing new to the auto industry. In fact, the “lean” approach to business began in the automotive world with Toyota’s development and use of this pioneering system in manufacturing cars.
Below, we explore the implications and benefits of going lean in your auto body career.
Lean Means Identifying and Phasing Out Unnecessary Work
A lean approach looks to set client values at the very centre of how a business operates. This means closely examining what clients want, and then building how the auto body shop operates around that. Wasted time and effort is what the lean method primarily targets, while prizing quality in delivery. This approach has been credited with improving quality and efficiency by over 50 per cent at certain companies that have adopted it.
The other crucial aspect of lean business is continuous improvement. As an aspiring auto body professional, you may already be imagining ways to cut down on wasteful activities that don’t add to a customer’s happiness. A lean approach could be your ticket to realizing this.
Practically Applying a Lean Approach in Your Career in Auto Body Repair
Depending on your role after auto body repair technician training, you may not have the authority to make sweeping changes to your shop floor. Nor should that be what you automatically jump to. However, your own role can be the perfect test ground for leaner approaches.
Key lean questions to ask while carrying out your duties include the following:
Does what I’m doing right now benefit the customer?
Am I sure I need all these resources in order to carry out this task?
Am I only doing something a certain way because it was shown to me like this?
Whether you’re always borrowing a co-worker’s tool instead of buying it yourself, constantly searching for items in your toolbox, or losing valuable time for another reason, using a lean approach can help you identify places where you can be more efficient. It’s a great way to cut down on waste while keeping the client’s satisfaction dead in your sights, two crucial outcomes that will advance your career in auto body repair, whether you’re an independent worker or part of a team.
The Role of Management in Implementing Lean Principles
In many cases, applying lean principles can mean changing long-established processes and norms. Depending on your level of seniority, efforts to pass on lean approaches may encounter a reluctance to not “mess with the system”.
However, employers will likely be more receptive to the prospect of improving client satisfaction. If you’ve been able to successfully implement lean principles in your own role, and are beginning to see the benefits, you have a potent example with which to approach supervisors and managers with—especially if your efforts have lead to as couple of stellar customer reviews.
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