Thursday, 27 May 2010 23:02

So. Cal Shop Goes to DuPont™ Cromax® Pro for One-Coat Coverage

Doug Albin, owner of Body Works Collision Center in Murietta, California, knows paint. He’s been painting cars since he was in high school and has owned a body shop for nearly a decade, so he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to paint and painting systems.

Body Works Collision Center operates out of a 5,000-square-foot shop, generates $250,000 per month in sales, and performs 65–70 repairs monthly. The company employs 12–15 people depending on workload and seasonal spikes in business.  Body Works specializes in repairing Toyotas, Hondas, Acuras and Mazdas, but they’ll work on any non-exotic vehicle on the road.

Albin, 41, has been in the body shop business for his entire life, as a master tech and a painter. He’s a second-generation shop owner who worked every summer with his father’s body shop while in high school and also completed training to be a master painter shortly thereafter.

“My dad’s shop was called Albin’s Classic Cars in Newport Beach, and he worked restoring high-end expensive cars,” Albin said. “It was a great education, because I was allowed to step in and work on different types of vehicles. Some people are born to follow their parents’ career path and I gravitated toward the body business from day one.”

By doing rather than simply delegating every aspect of collision repair over the years, Albin has a unique and invaluable perspective of how to run a body shop from top-to-bottom and front-to-back.

“I know how to hang a bumper and paint a car, so I know what’s expected. Natural progression in this industry doesn’t really exist anymore. Many body shop operators don’t have those abilities. As a result, there’s a growing separation between the front office and the back shop in a lot of shop environments. I’ve learned every aspect of this business hands-on and that’s undoubtedly been a big part of our success.”

After working with the same paint vendor for nine years, Albin made a change to DuPont™ Cromax Pro® when he ran into problems with his long-standing paint vendor during his switchover to waterborne last year. DuPont stepped in to deliver a system featuring their Cromax Pro® waterborne product.  And the results are exemplary, Albin said. He’s saving money, matching every color, reducing waste, and producing more vehicles in less time than ever before. Albin was almost instantly enamored with Cromax Pro’s exceptional coverage ability.

“When our conversion to waterborne began, there was an issue with our original paint company, so we inquired about other vendors and DuPont stood out in a big way. They came to the shop and sprayed a car and we were instantly impressed. Our original vendor’s paint was requiring 3–4 coats per vehicle and it was taking us way too long. With Cromax Pro, we can paint a car in a maximum of two coats without a flash and in many cases we’re doing the job with just one coat. Their wet-on-wet procedure makes our lives so much easier,” said Albin.

“With DuPont’s waterborne product, we quickly discovered that every color has one-coat coverage capability and that’s never happened before ever in this industry, I believe. They told us it would happen and we were a bit skeptical. Then they showed us they were right and we were very impressed. I went from painting three cars daily to 12 vehicles with the change to Cromax Pro®.”

Albin says he has saved a significant amount of money and time since he signed on with DuPont, but the overall quality of the finished product is what he values over everything else.

“We’re producing more finished cars more quickly now since we switched to DuPont. The products, their system and the support people who helped us so much—they offered us the complete package and we’re happy we made the move. It’s costing us less now, but it’s not all about the money. The performance of the paint system is more critical and the quality of the finished product is the top priority.”

Increased productivity is one of the major reasons why Albin’s so enthused about DuPont’s Cromax Pro®.

“Time is money in any business and anything that will save time is invaluable to my operation. I have one painter who works with four helpers and they get all of the cars done fast and efficiently, with a perfect uniform paint color and optimum coverage every time without fail.”

Another one of the benefits Albin cited about Cromax Pro® is the accuracy of the computerized color-matching system.

“It’s incredible. Color matching was always an issue with our former system. It didn’t provide matching for certain types of vehicles, but DuPont climbed to the top of our list when we got a chance to use it. It’s extremely user-friendly and my crew adapted to it right away.”

Albin’s customer service approach is fairly simple.

“Our main customer service goal is to do the repair right the first time, which means that the vehicle is returned back to the manufacturers’ standards and nothing less,” he said.

“We don’t cut corners; we never take short cuts and we avoid comebacks as a result.”

DuPont’s New Accounts Specialist Kevin Harrington was pleased when Albin adopted Cromax Pro®, after been working with another vendor for several years.

“Doug is what I call a raving fan for Cromax Pro® . He went from doing 3–4 coats per car to approximately 1.5–2 coats, without a flash when he switched. He saw a spike in his productivity right away and he was using less paint, so the savings were immediately evident.”

Harrington has converted hundreds of body shops to the DuPont Cromax Pro® system throughout Southern California during the rush to change to waterborne last year, and he normally witnesses a rapid learning curve when shops are first exposed to his products and his system.

“It’s a relatively simple process and most painters can adapt quickly,” Harrington said.

“We didn’t have to re-educate Doug very much, because he’s a painter and his staff was onboard all the way. Embracing the new system with waterborne wasn’t easy with every shop I worked with, but once they saw what we can offer in relation to their overall productivity and quality, they were happy to say goodbye to solvent.”

Albin praised the efforts of DuPont’s Brand Specialist Steve Shaparro, who came to his shop to train the paint crew at Body Works during the conversion to Cromax Pro®

“Steve was a great source for educating us about the system and the ideal ways to paint these cars. When I saw the system in action for the first time, I was definitely blown away. I actually giggled because I was ecstatic and surprised! Steve had us trained and we were dialed in within several days.”

Once the DuPont Cromax Pro® system was in their shop and Albin’s crew was using it on a daily basis, fine tuning made it more effective and productivity spiked even more.

“It’s great and getting better as we learn more about it, believe it or not. As we paint more cars with it, we’re improving our quality and our cycle times. One coat is the norm now and we’re so pleased. There are a lot of moving parts in this business and issues can arise every day, but our paint is something I feel 100% confident in and when the cars come out of here, the paint jobs are impeccable.”

Body Works Collision Center, 26871 Hobie Circle, Murietta, CA 92562, (951) 696-4779

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