“That alone speaks volumes for a business,” said Rudy Romero, director of Collision Center operations.
Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center
Type: Collision Repair
In Business Since: 1976
Combined Production Space: 50,000 square feet
Romero has been in the collision repair industry for 24 years, while Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center has been in business for 40. The shop is owned by Judy Jones-Cone, who also owns Toyota Carlsbad, Lexus Carlsbad, Lexus Escondido, and Carlsbad Collision Center, among other businesses.
“I have a body man who's been here for 31 years, one painter who's been here for 30, another painter who's been here for 22, and another painter who's been here for 18,” he said. “The culture at Toyota Carlsbad is phenomenal, as are the people.”
Romero credits the high employee retention rate to the training, education, and knowledge provided by the collision center. “We don't want to just give someone a job, we want to give them a career,” he explained. “That's the difference between us and most places.”
All technicians are Toyota and Lexus certified and are continuously improving their craft, according to Romero. “The training we receive from the Toyota and Lexus manufacturers is the best in the industry,” he said. “We actually go up to the Lexus and Toyota training centers, disassemble vehicles and put vehicles back
together, paint and repair them. It's all hands-on training with the manufacturers' engineers as teachers.”
Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center is the only Lexus-certified shop in San Diego. Their technicians are also certified to work on aluminum vehicles and have been for some time now.
“It's hard to find really good employees because not a lot of the training out there is at the same level that Toyota and Lexus provide,” said Romero. “Our standards are set a little bit higher than maybe they should be, but we go after the best and we want to retain the best.”
He explained that over the last decade, manufacturers have started to see body shops and their employees in a different light, which has helped the industry and customers as a whole. “They've realized that a collision center isn't just that dusty, dirty place over there in the corner,” Romero said. “Shops actually have
highly-skilled, highly-trained technicians and employees that have a very difficult job.”
Damage analysis equipment is used to improve accuracy and mobility when blueprinting vehicles.
He added that their job goes beyond repairing the vehicle and making sure it's safe for the driver and others on the road. “Everyone knows that when they purchase a vehicle, they'll have to get new brakes, new tires, and oil changes at some point, but they never think about getting into an accident,” Romero said.
“And when they do, and their life is upside down, it's our job to get them calm, explain everything, and to represent them as best we can.”
With extensive training comes lots of tools and processes, which is why Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center uses Goliath Carts to stay lean and organized. “We've been using Goliath Carts since the owner, Dito, first started his business,” said Romero.
The shop now has close to 100 parts carts to help with parts management. “The detail carts help us look more professional, be more professional, and have the right tools on hand,” he explained.
Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center also utilizes the GI Mobile Estimating Cart. “It helps us reduce our cycle times by writing live estimates,” Romero said. “We can also access Wi-Fi from our laptops anywhere in the shop.”
To keep vehicles, paint guns, and other tools secure, Toyota Carlsbad Collision chooses the Goliath Carts Secure Series paint gun and customer key storage solutions. “Our relationship with Goliath Carts has been incredible since Day 1,” he said. “We appreciate their business and their help in letting us know where we
can improve on simple processes within the shop.”
New Mobile Bumper Stands help organize storage and maximize space.
According to the Goliath Carts website, the company creates carts designed to eliminate waste, increase efficiency, and to lower the technical and logistical barriers. They are committed to bringing experience, knowledge and technology to help solve these challenges.
"Our vision is to develop market-driven solutions of choice that are reliable, easy to use, scalable, flexible, and which provide a high ROI for our customers as well as growth for our shareholders," a statement on the company website reads.
Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center uses a few additional lean and green methods. “We recycle all aluminum, steel, plastic bumpers, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans and have spent thousands of dollars switching to LED lighting,” said Romero. “Protecting the environment is very important to us. “We are part of the
California Coastal Division, which is very strict,” he added.
Additionally, Toyota Carlsbad Collision Center was ranked fourth in the nation by Toyota and Lexus in 2016. It has been ranked in the Top 5 by these manufacturers for over seven years.
“We're not just a collision center; we help develop talent and make our community better,” said Romero. “We are here to help on any level we can.” He added that they are also members of the California Autobody Association (CAA) San Diego.