There are many areas to be focused during the reopening of your Bodyshop business after this mega lock-down amid the deadly Covid-19 era. The highest priority of all bodyshop business owners will be to stabilize the operations and revenue stream.
Let us discuss some of the challenges you may face while reopening the bodyshop and how to overcome them without damaging your customer experience & resume operations hassle free.
Handling Customer demands
Needless to mention here, that the customers demand will be paramount and be prepared for it. You must have strong production planning and adherence in place. It also to be considered the time taken to realign the manpower strength at your shop
Firstly, focus on delivering the ready vehicles.
Plan for delivering ready vehicles in the first place. You must perform a road-worthiness check on the vehicles which are ready for delivery in your premises. Check out the interiors for molds, you may have to perform an interior cleaning -Lucky You- if your customer pays for it.
Secondly focus on minor repairs
Secondly focus on delivering the vehicles which can be delivered in 1-2 days of work, basically minor repairs. This will reduce the production load, and reduce the pressure on the team members
Thirdly focus on partially repaired vehicles
Thirdly, you must focus on partially repaired vehicles, which would need less amount of parts to be sourced or they may be in stock. Since the repairs have initiated, you may be able to make them ready for delivery at a faster pace
Set the expectation well in advance
If possible, communicating with the customers even before the reopening will help to minimize the damages in customer satisfaction. You may use your social media or e-platforms to set the expectations/communicate to customers well in advance
By following this method, you can relieve the production pressure, and the floor will be completely awakened and prepared until the time you receive spares and necessary approvals for the medium and heavily damaged vehicle repairs.
Since it was a worldwide lock-down, the spare parts supply will be very much affected in terms of production and logistics
You must be vigilant not to block your funds with items that have a long waiting period
The spare parts department must work hand in hand with the production team, to align the priorities and ensure the smooth supply of funds and resources
Team spare-parts must update all the stake holders with the latest information at all time
Tools and equipment
Get all the tools and equipment inspected before the start of the operation. Some of the steps are mentioned below:
- Your paint booth filters -Intake, floor, and roof, might have solidified residues, which may clog the air passage and thus, may cause exerting excess load on the motors. Better to replace the filters here. So, you need to complete the procurement processes well in advance
- Oiling of all pneumatic hand tools before the start must be done, flushing will be highly recommended, however, please seek more inputs from the respective equipment supplier
- Check the electric connections- Please visually inspect all the wiring & cabinets for rodent attack before switching on
- Clean the equipment as per the manufacturer’s recommendation
- Check all Two Post Hoists as per supplier guidance
Paint materials and Chemicals
In bodyshop, we use a lot of chemicals for color, filler and rust proofing, sealing, etc. Though most of them have a good shelf life, it is better to get checked and validated once they open the container
Paint Tinting chemicals in the mixing racks
Solvent-based tinting chemicals which are on the paint mixing rack must have been sediment due to not stirring them for a quite a long time, and some of them might have been partially dried as well, which goes similar for waterborne tinting chemicals. If these set of chemicals appeared visually good, you must do a sample test of base coat on some test panels
Check for the shelf life of opened containers for hardeners, Clear-coats, and primers, you may take the supplier support if you could not collect the correct information at your end.
Long parked vehicles
In some places, the parking yards are a bit far from the main facility and due to the lack of movements over a period of more than a month, you must expect some unwanted guests there
Beware of the reptiles which may inhabit in the vehicles parked at the yards
Utmost safety precautions must be taken shifting vehicles from the parking yards to the repair center
Also be prepared for damages made by rodents, on the electrical system of these vehicles. Perform a thorough check-up, with the help of a flash-lamp to ensure the vehicle is safe to crank and drive.
Consequential damages in vehicles
Be prepared for the consequential damage due to leakages and corrosion
For example, before the lock-down, you might have received a vehicle into your bodyshop with damage in the engine oil sump, and there may be a chance that the low lube levels can cause a lack of oil film protection in key components which may increase the chances of damages. And similarly, the corrosion
The repair centers must notify and inform both the insurance companies and the customers for the possibility of increasing the initial repair estimates, before commencing the repairs.
Disinfect your premises & Vehicles
Before starting the operations, you must disinfect your entire premises, to ensure the premises are safe to resume operations
The disinfection process must conduct including the vehicles parked in the premises. Though most of the surfaces can be cleaned with soap-based solutions/ forms/ you may seek guidance to the local healthcare authorities for confirmation
For air-conditioning system, there are many OEM approved AC disinfectants available in the markets
Also, you may reach out to your OEMs for recommendations on the same. Of course, vehicle disinfection can be a chargeable service.
Other key steps to be adopted
- Provide necessary PPE’s to all customer-facing staff members
- Service advisor kiosks must be distantly placed from the customers
- Ensure the availability and usage of hand sanitizers and protective masks at the premises
- Implement a thermal screening for both customers and employees till the time our area is out of danger
- Offer vehicle pickup & drop facilities to regulate the customer inflow
- Strictly following the appointment process and communicating the same to all customers will reduce the walk-in numbers
- Use your PA system for creating awareness among employees and customers
- Create and follow a check-sheet for standardization and sustenance
As the proverb says, “prevention is better than cure”, it is the responsibility of each one of us to ensure the safety of ourselves, employees, and the customers on both humanitarian ground and for your business interest as you cannot afford your facility is been exposed to the risk of this deadly virus at any point in time
It is a very worrying time for all of us. We hope you are all in good health, and the Corona-virus pandemic will soon be over.