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Discussion Starter #1
I need your advice. Don't even know where to start. I started a new job as an estimator about a month ago and I'm glad to have it. I think I could potentially make some decent money, or at least get the training and experience to make me desirable somewhere else. It's a dealership shop. We're DRP with USAA, Nationwide, and now have Allstate coming on. But. This is absolutely the most disorganized outfit I have ever seen in my life. I worked at another dealership body shop for about a year several years ago and it was bad. But damn. This place has absolutely no "system" in place as far as how work is scheduled, how many cars are scheduled when, how cars are dispatched to techs, ect. No oversight as far as how cars make their way through the process from metal to paint to reassembly, ect. I don't have enough experience to know how to begin to properly organize this place. It's not really my job either. But, I've sort of been given the impression by the parts/service director that he would like me to help get it into shape. Having a lot of years writing and dispatching in service departments, I know how to push work through there. But a body shop is a whole different animal. Any advice you guys can give me on what it takes to set up an efficient shop would be appreciated. As this place is set up now, there is simply no way to do everything that's expected of you in a given day. Mind you we're not just writing estimates, but following the car/customer through the whole process right down to collecting the deductibles and closing the tickets. Just closing an RO and getting it to match the estimate takes HOURS. We're using Pathways for estimating. We've got CCC One, but for some unknown reason are not using it. We have an ADP computer system, which I was very good with 10 years ago, but am having to relearn it. I'll be up to speed on it pretty quickly. HELP! Also, any advice on online training or information would be appreciated as well.
 

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It takes alot of time to close ROs with two system but that how it goes down at a dealer.But it seems like it is time for some new leadership
 

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Thats what I was going to say. The manager is the problem until he gets someone in place nothing will change. ANd if he wont allow the changes needed nothing will change. Time for new leadership
 

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Body Shops are a tough business to manage. The only thing you can do is implement one small change at a time. It is next to impossible to get bodymen to change a whole lot of processes at once. To you they look disorganized, to them it all makes sense. I've been battling the same thing for 15 years.
 

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your fucked untill you get a new manager. he should be the one running the show. let me guess he has been there forever and is tied in somehow with the higher ups. typical
 

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first of all, dont be part of the problem. make sure you are consistent and organized. second of all, talk to your bodymen. be their friend and find out what kind of changes they would like. bodymen usually know exactly whats wrong in a bodyshop. i worked in a dealership in the parts dept for 11 years and my best friends were the bodyshop guys. we always went to lunch and i could listen to them complain about what was wrong with the bodyshop. believe me, they know.
 

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Tire Waster
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You need a manager change. Trying to effect change at your level will result in the loss of your job. It happened to me. The manager will NOT like you buddying up with HIS bodymen and getting their input. This is why I sell parts now instead of writing estimates. Good luck.
 

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currently managing a large independent shop but have run dealer shops for most of my career(38 years)including a large,mercedes dealer.you need a production manager in the shop that pushes the work thru.also need a good parts manager in the shop.a good receptionist can act as your right hand.but i'm talking a good one,not some skank that just sits there and answers the phone.adp is probably your biggest nightmare.got to be the biggest nightmare ever invented.i like mitchell shopman but the fuckin adp is tied into the parts and service dept. so making a change there is going to be next to impossible unless the service director can be convinced to spend the $$$.how many metalmen and how many painters?how many writers?what make car dealership?seems your manager can bring in the drp's but can he service them the right way? allstates a bitch.we have aaa,farmers and travelers.farmers is a non stop,motherfucker.have 2 of my writers handling just them.cant give you a crash course of how to do business.takes a lot of years.thats why i get hammered every night and get on the bullit to relax.good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lincoln Mercury Subaru dealer. We've got 6 body men and 2 painters with helpers. No space for any more. No production manager. No dedicated parts guy. Only 3 parts men total including the manager. That's another problem. The body shop manager is a good guy, and writes a great estimate. But he's disorganized as hell and not really a manager. I think the P/S director keeps him there because he'll take the abuse from a nitro burning mouth. There's nothing on earth this guys loves more than the sound of his own voice. I've known him a long time so I knew going in how he was. Figured it was worth the risk. We have 3 estimators. Myself and another one are new. They've probably gone through 4 or 5 in the last year. They get tired of the PSD's mouth and quit, which I suspect will happen to me. Why would a dealer principal keep somebody like that around for 15 years?????? Our secretary is pretty good IMO, a vast improvement over the last body shop I worked at. There just aren't any procedures in place to move things from one part of the process to the next. There MUST be a better way. Thanks for all responses.
 

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you definatly need to convince someone you need a shop forman to move the workflow.your going to be fucked when allstate comes in.you also need a body shop parts guy to help with the workflow.both of those will make your life a lot easier.as far as the director goes,he's too far in with ownership to get him out of there.unless you can catch him sendin work to other shops or catch him dirty.been there,done that and they got rid of me when i got too close but got rid of him a couple months later when the manufacturer came down on the dealer for $ 3,000,00.00 in phony warrenty claims.gotta love dealer body shops.as far as the manager.he may write a hell of an estimate,but to please who?the dealer or the concession hungry insurance company?might be leavin a ton of money on the table.could be why the director is allways on his ass.are the bodymen and the painters happy?supplement on every job?additional parts allways slow workflow down.nothin wrong with being friends with the folks who basically put money in your pocket.and vice versa.customers happy?if you miss out dates they wont be.and your drp partners wont be either.not when their paying rental car bills beyond what they expected going in.quality good or are you getting a ton of comebacks?nuthin like a pissed off customer to fuck your day up.it happens but a shop forman who does qc can make your job easier.good luck.you may need it
 

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Wish I could help you here, but without a shop foreman, dedicated parts guy, crisis handler not much hope. I'm just glad that there is still someone out there that gives a damn about wanting to do a good job. I take it your over 40?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah. way over 40 LOL. And in defense of the manager. When I say he writes a good estimate, I mean that he is thorough. Tries to get it all first time around and avoid the supplements. He's very good and experienced. Just not an effective manager it seems. Of course I really don't anybody succeeding here with the current higher-up in place. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You've reall got two options here:

1) Keep your mouth shut and stay employed in a hellhole.
2) Look for a job

Sorry.
Yeah. You pretty much nailed it. I would like to hang on for a year for the experience and some training. I've been told that if I can become proficient at handling Nationwide, I won't have a problem getting on somewhere else. Thanks for all advice.
 
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