Ways to Increase Auto Body Shop Efficiency & Productivity
If your auto body shop is lacking certain tools and labor-saving essentials, it can make it harder to complete jobs on time. And while it might not seem like a big deal, it can also affect labor safety for your employees and prevent them from having efficient and practiced routines for each task. Increasing your auto body shop efficiency will help everyone to complete jobs quicker, improve safety for your employees, and give you the ability to take on more jobs.
There are a number easy and cost-effective ways to increase your shop efficiency, and the proper methods will vary depending on each shop's current supply levels and needs. For one shop, it might be as simple as designating a specific area or space for cleaning materials and parts, while for another it might mean expanding their portable tool list.
We'll break down a few simple ways to increase your auto shop efficiency and save labor costs as well as make things easier for all employees.
Have Designated Areas For Each Task
Having a certain area of the shop for each separate task is one of the best ways to improve body shop productivity. Conducting the same jobs in random places all over the shop creates a messy flow and means tools are spread over a wider area than they need to be. The main areas of a shop are generally as follows:
- Panel Area - where damaged parts are removed.
- Prep Area - where sanding, applying body filler, degreasing, and general paint prep occurs.
- Painting Area (or Spray Booth) - where every coat, from primer, to basecoat, to topcoat are applied.
- Finish Area - for final inspections and correcting any defects.
- Washing Area - this area should be used before and after any bodywork.
Having designated areas for each job helps minimize the amount of time spent moving vehicles back and forth, looking for tools, and other inefficient methods.
Tools to Increase Body Shop Productivity and Efficiency
Depending on the services your shop offers, and how often you perform each specific job, there are tools that could be extremely beneficial to use in your body shop.
When completing an auto paint job, it can be very tedious to paint and finish each and every part of the vehicle separately. Part holders, whether in your spray booth or paint area, can make it easy to complete quick and professional paint jobs in a much more timely fashion.
Paint booth organization is important when it comes to maintaining productivity levels, and a panel tree makes better organization possible by allowing you to paint multiple car panels at a time. The capacity of panel trees will vary depending on their size, but a every shop should have one that can hold two panels, a fender, doors, and a hood without much issue. Panel trees are also excellent when it comes to using curing or drying lamps, as it allows maximum surface exposure and can help shorten paint drying time. They allow neat, hands-free finishes to panel and other car part edges so you can complete each paint job neatly and professionally.
Much like the panel tree, a paint hanger makes it easier to complete professional-quality paint jobs on multiple aspects of a vehicle's body at once, and allows optimum airflow for faster drying times. Hooks provide organizational capabilities, which just adds to the efficiency appeal.
A Bumper stand, a heavy-duty steel stand, is perfect for conducting repairs or paint jobs on any bumper and can save you a lot of valuable time. It's portability allows repairs to be conducted directly near the vehicle, and can be adjusted horizontally or vertically, making it easier to access any hard to reach areas.
Anything portable can help expedite the job being performed by enabling you to leave a vehicle in the same spot. Not having to move car and rather moving/rolling a tool over to the car can cut down on time.
A A portable gas caddy is especially helpful for your auto shop to have on hand when you need to remove or add fuel before and after repairs or maintenance on a vehicle. With a dolly handle and wheels, transportation is easy and 2-way operation allows for either siphoning or dispensing.
In addition to removing paint, a quality blaster can also perform detailed rust and corrosion removal, making it a perfect multi-tool for the prep area of your shop. Wheels and a handle allow it to be easily wheeled between vehicles or from one job to the next, and a long hose offers even more mobility.
Heavy Duty Extension Cords
While it might seem like a no-brainer, having heavy-duty extension cords readily available for a variety of uses will make so many auto shop duties much quicker and easier. Making sure you have enough of them on hand and organized in easy-to-reach and consistent places will also help keep productivity levels high.
Any tool that allows you to quickly move cars or other vehicles to free up space is going to be a time saver.
Vehicle dollies might not seem like much, but they're an invaluable space and time saver for any mechanic. Most of them have weight capacities of up to 1500 lbs (6,000 lbs. capacity for 4 dollies), and allows any vehicle or other heavy-duty object to be wheeled easily and safely against a wall to free up space. These allow you to move a vehicle to a spot that may be nearly impossible to actually drive it into.
Automotive Maintenance Tools
Cleaning is a large part of starting and completing a job. Having a designated washer for different parts and tools will help speed up the maintenance process.
Paint Gun Washers
Quick-cleaning tools and supplies and designated stations for each of those things (with portable options available for use in a pinch) will make painting and cleaning processes go much more smoothly. Paint gun washers make it quick and easy to keep your paint guns clean and ready for their next use, saving time and effort when another vehicle needs to be painted.
Between sanding, rust removal, and painting, parts will need to be cleaned properly. Parts washers make this process much more efficient because they can clean multiple parts at a time. Removable shelves make the space customizable and easier to accommodate awkward or oddly shaped parts.
When it comes to removing stubborn grime and grease, a durable pressure washer in your washing or finishing area is necessary. Wheels add portability in case you need it elsewhere in the shop, and 4 different nozzles allow you to achieve a variety of cleaning projects with one tool.
Painting automobiles is a time-consuming process, and infrared curing lamps can cut drying times in half while still allowing professional-quality finishes. For use within or outside of a paint booth, curing lamps are also easily transportable to other areas of the shop as needed, and as a bonus safety feature, offer timers that shut the units off when the proper curing time has elapsed to prevent the risk of fire.
Having the right tools on hand can go a long way towards boosting your auto body shop productivity and efficiency. They help achieve better time management, less labor costs, and a safer environment for all employees. Visit our online store to browse through our wide array of time- and labor-saving shop equipment.