The Most Common Bottleneck In Your Repair Shop
In the repair business, there are bottlenecks everywhere. It could be anything from employees, to shop layout, and more. However, the most common answer you’d likely hear would be “the paint booth.” Luckily, there are things you can do to tackle many of the constraints and increase your shop’s cycle time and throughput.
Theory Of Constraints: The Most Common Bottleneck In Your Repair Shop
A good way to start looking into and solving some of your shop’s bottlenecks would be to read up on the Theory of Constraints. It’s pretty simple, really. And it essentially suggests that your shop’s throughput can, and will be, decided based on just one bottleneck. Which means, if you want to reduce your shop’s cycle time and increase throughput, you’ll need to solve the bottleneck issue.
It’s easy to view each station or task in a shop as its own separate thing. But at the end of the day, each area of the shop is dependent on the others to work efficiently. So, if any one area is slowing down and having issues, then all of the others will be, too.
Beyond that, a single car coming through the shop is part of one, big, constant, production, loop. The vehicle enters the shop, cycles through a series of departments, and ultimately exits to– all the while having vehicles worked on behind it going through the same thing.
Regardless of the day of the week, the production process should be the same. However, as with anything, there’s bound to be a few hiccups every now and then. Unfortunately, things don’t always move as smoothly as we’d like. Sometimes vehicles get backed up at a certain station or or during a specific task. If you’ve seen this before, then it’s likely the result of a constraint in your shop’s process.
The Paint Booth Can Be Your Biggest Constraint: The Most Common Bottleneck In Your Repair Shop
While bottlenecks can happen anywhere in your shop, most of the time it involves your paint booth. During most repairs, vehicles will absolutely have to go through the paint booth.
The reason the paint booth is such a constraint is because it can only fit a set number of vehicles in it at a time. Beyond that, each car has a set amount of time required to go through the entire paint booth process. Prepping a vehicle, priming, loading it into the paint booth, painting, drying, and clear coating from start to finish is no short task.
However, beyond just the long process, the booth itself is a physical constraint on your shop. Depending on its size, it may only be able to house 6 cars a day. Which means if you want to pump out more, you will need to consider installing a larger paint booth.
Getting To The Root Of The Problem: The Most Common Bottleneck In Your Repair Shop
Once you’re aware of the constraint a paint booth puts on your shop, how do you fix it? As we already said, a new paint booth should be something you consider. If you can’t paint the amount of cars you want, then there’s really no way around it. Outside of that, think about how you’re drying during the paint booth bake cycle. Are you using electric infrared drying? Convection drying? They both work, but they don’t dry nearly as fast as gas catalytic drying. To explain it quickly, gas catalytic drying heats up a catalyst to create medium wavelengths that can dry and cure paint in 16 – 30 minutes.
However, there are other things you can do as well. Make sure you’re not using the booth for anything outside of painting. It’s not there so you can repair or sand vehicles inside of it. Not only will this make your booth messier (and potentially mess with the paint), but it also will increase your shop’s cycle time.
A good question to ask yourself is how long your current cycle is and how many vehicles can you get through the paint booth per day? It’s important to keep track of that information. However, when it comes down to it, you should just be using the paint booth for exactly what it was designed for– and nothing else.
Group Things Together: The Most Common Bottleneck In Your Repair Shop
One of the best ways to increase your booth’s efficiency is by grouping jobs together. When possible (and only if safe and necessary), you can take apart certain pieces of cars and fit them all more snug into the booth– grouping specific parts with each other. So, it’ll be one cycle, but you’ll also be doing multiple vehicles at once. Grouping up parts like this let’s you get the job done quicker and more efficient. However, it’s really one of the only solutions to painting more vehicles without a paint booth upgrade.
Overall, you can usually ease constraints by having employees familiar with more than one specific task. If you’re able to, swapping around your employees from different areas of the shop can help relieve some of the bottlenecks. If an area is less busy than a few guys in the paint booth, but the paint booth is running behind, having them help do things ike sanding can go a long way.
Garmat Paint Booths: The Most Common Bottleneck In Your Repair Shop
At Garmat USA, we are all about production efficiencies both for your shop, and for our operation. We thrive on coming up with new methods to address the needs of our customers while meeting their budgets.
We are also dedicated to helping you save on your cost of operation. Garmat USA equipment is designed to reduce energy consumption, giving you the best possible return on your investment.
Every product and every improvement is developed with your business goals in mind- Lowering your operating costs and Increasing your production.