Investments in productivity and efficiency require embrace of new tech and tools
St. Charles, Mo.—Driving through the historic district of St. Charles, especially during the holiday season, is like traveling back in time. The cobblestone streets and brick buildings are reminiscent of a simpler time before technology became a driving cultural and industrial force.
Dave and Adam Tritz, co-owners of Don’s Auto Body, have been able to embrace both while maintaining the charm of being nestled in a historical setting.
“We have been able to make this location profitable for almost 50 years,” he said. “We’ve had to make use of what space we have in unique ways being located on properties that are on the National Historic Registry. It’s tight, but we make it work.”
Tritz “makes it work” with several key investments recently that have increased productivity.
One of those new investments was made by purchasing a REVO Spot accelerated infrared curing system from Gene and Doug Slattery at ATI. The single-cassette mobile unit can be effortlessly moved into any paint booth, prep station or virtually any other area in a shop. In addition to fast curing, the unit is well suited for applications such as aluminum repair, bumper repair and dent removal, he said. “This system will allow us to complete curing in minutes, instead of hours and will allow for an increase in shop flow. We use it mostly on fast lane repairs. One of the best features is that it reaches curing temperature instantly. We don’t have to wait for it to heat up or cool down, and it’s great for smaller jobs like quarter panels — and we see less discrepancies and curing failures.”
Tritz also decided to purchase the REVO Handheld which operates under the same principle of the Spot but in a smaller capacity. Body Tech and Plastic Expert Kevin Newton has found it to be very useful. “It can save so much time. I like to use it to relieve stress on bumpers and smaller plastic areas. It also makes plastic repairs a lot easier because it’s light and heats up quickly,” he said, adding that the shop also uses the Handheld for heating urethane on quarter glass.
Co-Owner Adam Tritz shared his thoughts on another investment made recently that benefits the paint department. “In the spring, we purchased the Stat-Gun from Static Solutions, which has improved our efficiency greatly. While it hasn’t eliminated the need for denibbing completely, it’s cut it down tremendously. It has been well worth the investment.”
The STAT-GUN has also been beneficial to the paint department when it comes to spraying metallic finishes. “We can lay down metallic without worrying about it. It matches better and saves us a lot of paint,” said Painter John Hitzeman, who sprays Axalta Mosaic, sourced from FinishMaster.
Administratively, technology has also adapted to fit the needs of both customers and the CSR team at Don’s Auto Body. “Two items used by our CSR people- Robyn Foss and Mary Santel are Bodyshop Booster for off site damage assessment and Podium for customer (text) status updates and scheduling updates on their vehicles. This cuts down on status update phone calls for CSR people and saves customers a trip to the office for a preliminary damage report or just a general question they may have on their damaged vehicle. These are both a welcome technology tool for our business and our customers. They can access both from their phones anywhere,” said Tritz.
Looking into the shop’s Christmas wishlist, Adam added that there are a few other items he is researching to increase efficiency in 2019.
“We’d like to bring in the Matrix Wand 3D Measuring System. It would allow us to diagnose and analyze structural repair very quickly and accurately. The ROI may not be there initially, but I feel that it is going to be necessary to speed up and properly diagnose the processes. Our goals are to make safe quality repairs but at the same time, get the customer their car back in a timely manner. We believe this is going to be a way to ensure both,” he said.
Don’s Auto Body markets themselves as the trusted leader in collision repair. By embracing technology and making plans for the future, Tritz intends to be held accountable for that mission statement. “We have some things cooking right now and we are looking forward to what the future holds for us and our industry.”