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Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00

SCRS Seminar Overview: Departmental Control to Prevent Incorrect Repairs with Larry Montanez

Larry Montanez educating his audience on how to prevent incorrect repairs at his SCRS seminar during SEMA.

Larry Montanez, co-owner of P&L Consultants in Brooklyn, NY, began his seminar with a scenario almost all body shops can relate to- it’s Friday afternoon, you’re trying to get the car you’re working on back to its owner in one piece, and the detailer (who Montanez refers to as “the smartest guy in the shop”) starts noticing every dink you overlooked. Whether it’s a blown out tire left in the trunk, or a misaligned door frame, the last thing anyone wants to do is stay late on a Friday, correcting errors that could’ve been prevented “if you took an extra 10-15 minutes.”

Click HERE to download a PDF version of this article.

Montanez’s seminar teaches body shop owners have to avoid late nights, unhappy customers, and unnecessary expenses.

“The shop has to put in place accountability,” said Montanez. “I found that doing checks per department help, even doing peer reviews, as well as initiating standard operating procedures. All of us love to say we have [standard operating procedures] but we don’t want to do it, or we try to do it and it goes to waste.”

“Why is that?” Montanez asked the audience.  

“Change,” responded a woman in the second row, and she was right.

“Change is the most hated thing in any aspect of life, and because we hate it so much, it becomes impossible,” said Montanez.

Pride in one’s work is another aspect of the collision repair industry that Montanez feels takes a hit, and can lead to sloppiness.

“All the body shop owners in the audience – ask yourselves, ‘Do I always take pride in work? Do my counterparts take pride? Do I see my employees taking pride?’”

Montanez also asked the body shop owners in the room, “How many times do you see the same tech making the same mistake over and over again? Why is he still working for you?”

“I knew a painter who came into work at 8:45am, even though the shop opened at 8, and would leave at 3pm every day to bring his kids to school,” said Montanez. “I asked the owner, “’How many cars does he do a day, and he responded, ‘two, and every fourth car he has to repaint.”

“If the guy was pushing out four cars a day with little to no errors, I’d understand striking a deal,” said Montanez. “The owner use to be a painter, and when I asked why he didn’t get rid of the guy and start painting, he responded, ‘I don’t have time.’ And that’s the problem right there- he made excuses and got lazy because he didn’t want change.”

In order to avoid laziness and error, Montanez implemented “The P&L Repair Process” which was featured on one of his slides:

1. Documentation and photographs of the vehicle upon arrival
2. Triage, disassembly
3. Damage analysis and preliminary measurements
4. Set up for structural realignment
5. Preliminary realignment
6. Final realignment and trial fitting of parts
7. Metal repairs and cosmetic repairs
8. Prep and refinish
9. Detail and final checks for delivery

“I can guarantee those of you who are on DRP systems or even those of you who aren’t, can shave one to two days off your overall cycle time per month if you follow these steps,” said Montanez. “So, you can add up to a three day cycle time within six months, for the DRP shops, that will look great for you, for the non-DRP shops, that’s money in your pocket quicker.”

Montanez’ next slide made the distinction between estimates and blueprints. “The primary function of triage is creating a blueprint for the repair process,” said Montanez. “Remember, an estimate is an opinion or a tentative price approximation. A blueprint is an accurate plan and price for processing the repairs and procedures.”

He also developed the “EME 54 Theory” to apply to every vehicle that comes through a body shop’s doors:

- Every collision damaged vehicle must be measured for structural integrity
- Most measured vehicles will require structural realignment
- Every structurally realigned vehicle will require at minimum a 4-wheel alignment check

When performing filling and painting work on the bumpers, Montanez states, “It is important to ensure that the maximum paint coat thickness is not exceeded at the short range radar sensors. This can lead to radar sensors, which causes malfunctions when the sensors detect 

excessive paint coat thickness as an obstacle. The limit value for the paint coat thickness at the sensors is two coats of paint (primer, color
and clear).”

Montanez also stresses the importance of using individual checklists for each department:

  • Teardown
  • Structural
  • Repair
  • Metal
  • Prep
  • Detail
  • Final

Each slide of the PowerPoint dedicated to these different segments included a thorough review of the original photos and measurements, in order to ensure that every possible angle has been covered.

The final checklist, included at the end of Montanez’ PowerPoint, is the most important, because it is the last chance to correct any errors that have been overlooked (mistakes happen, we are only human):

  • Front license plate
  • Underside of front bumper cleaned
  • Headlamps operational
  • Headlamps aimed
  • High beam low beam operation
  • Fog lamps operational
  • Fog lamps aimed
  • Under-hood bolts touched up
  • Registration sticker date
  • Inspection sticker date
  • Doors operational
  • Door strikers tightened
  • Door locks operational
  • Door windows operational
  • Signal lamps operational
  • Parking lamps operational
  • Backup lamps operational
  • License lamps operational
  • Tail lamps operational
  • Parking sensors operational
  • Hazard lamps operational
  • Battery connected and tight
  • Hood latch lubricated
  • Rocker panels/molding underside cleaned
  • Pillar labels installed (tire, VIN, etc)
  • Stone guard tape installed
  • Trunk lid operational
  • Trunk lid bolts touched up
  • Emblems and nameplates installed
  • Rear license plate installed
  • Underside of rear bumper cleaned
  • Dash lights MIL
  • SRS lamp
  • Passenger SRS OFF lamp
  • Temperature lamp
  • Navigation
  • Time and date
  • Spare tire and jack installed
  • Floor mats installed
  • Test drive performed
  • Lug nuts torqued after drive
  • Temperature lamp
  • Oil lamp
  • Alternator lamp
  • Oil level
  • Power steering fluid full
  • Washer fluid full
  • Transmission fluid level
  • Antifreeze level
  • Fuel level
  • Radio unlocked and presets
  • Lug nuts torqued after drive
  • Tire pressure and valve caps
  • Power seats operational
  • Seat belts operational and buckles
  • Windshield wiper blades
  • Windshield washer fluid level
  • AC and heater operational
  • Windows cleaned
  • Mirrors cleaned
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