How You Can Make Your Shop More Efficient With Load Leveling
As a body shop owner, one of the most important things for your business is cycle time and throughput. At the end of the day, your shop’s cycle time is a direct indicator of how profitable it is, how efficiently it’s running, and how satisfied your customers will be. Beyond that, your paint booth is one of the most important aspects of smooth operations. However, there’s certainly always room for improvement.
According to Elite Body Shop Solutions, Dave Luerh, using load leveling and Little’s law in your shop will drastically improve operations. This is because it introduces productive changes to your business while also helping you better understand cycle time. However, there's a marketable difference between the two concepts. Load leveling is increasing efficiency by splitting vehicles up between facilities– while Little's Law is increasing efficiency by calculating the time it takes to work on individual vehicles and how many you want to work on each month. To put it simply, both concepts work well together, and they're excellent ways to reduce cycle time and increase throughput.
For Multi-Shop Operations (MSO), Little’s Law and load leveling are absolutely essential. Little’s law was created by MIT Professor, John Little, as a way to calculate and measure cycle time. For MSOs, cycle time is crucial, especially when it comes to the paint booth bake cycle. Beyond that, cycle time begins when a vehicle is brought in for service and ends when the customer picks it up.
Below, we’ve provided a visual representation of load leveling and Little’s Law for one body shop. In an example created by David Luerh, there’s a body shop that works on two vehicles per day, but has a total of ten vehicles to work on.
This visual shows 10 cars total, divided by 2 cars a day, equals 5 days total for cycle time.
10 Car Cycle Time
Now, we made another visual that shows the same body shop after business has grown. Using Little’s Law, we see how their cycle time would look, below.
This visual shows 20 cars total, divided by 2 cars a day, which then equals 10 total days for your cycle time.
20 Car Cycle Time
Beyond that, there are other factors that play a role in cycle time. If you’re running an MSO, then you can apply the above concepts to all of your shops– while further reducing cycle time and increasing throughput by dividing the number of cars between all of your operations. This drastically reduces the amount of time your shops’ spend on individual vehicles. However, it’s important for you to not reduce the work between shops to the point where there is nothing for your technicians and painters to do.
In contrast, you also don’t want to spend too much time on any one vehicle. If you do that, your cycle time will increase and negatively impact your shop(s) as well.
To determine how many vehicles come through your shop(s), Dave Luerh provides a few tips, below (by doing the math in reverse).
- Determine how many vehicles are coming through your shop(s) on a daily and monthly basis (total vehicles repaired divided by the number of days in each month)
- Determine a time frame where you can realistically paint your vehicles.
- Then, you multiply the amount of vehicles painted each day by your ideal time frame. This will equal the optimal amount of vehicle’s you can work on in your shop(s) at one time.
However, there are paint booths out there designed to make your body shop or MSO more efficient, provide you with faster cycle times, and gear your business up to run at optimal capacity.
Garmat Can Help!
At Garmat USA, we are all about production efficiencies both for your shop, and for our operation.
We thrive on coming up with new methods to address the needs of our customers while meeting their budgets.
We are also dedicated to helping you save on your cost of operation. Garmat USA equipment is designed to reduce energy consumption, giving you the best possible return on your investment.
Every product and every improvement is developed with your business goals in mind- Lowering your operating costs and Increasing your production.