C.A.R.S. Drives Down Costs and Improves Customer Satisfaction
C.A.R.S. in Longmont, Colorado provides automotive repairs with a dedication to customer service, employee satisfaction, and a commitment to the community they serve. Their goal in business is to “WOW” customers by ensuring fair, competitive, and timely automotive repairs. C.A.R.S. specializes in customized automotive repair including antique and vintage vehicles, race cars, and uniquely problematic engines. They also perform low cost vehicle repairs for veterans returning to civilian life after their heroic tours of duty.
“The improvements from our lean project will help me win the race. These efforts will help grow my business and excite my technicians to perform their work more efficiently” – George Kronsbein, Owner, C.A.R.S.
C.A.R.S. desired to move into the world of current technology for quoting and billing, even though the upper management was unfamiliar with using and implementing technology services. Quotes and bills were being hand-written on multi-page forms. Despite the fact that the upper management was not up-to-date in terms of technology, C.A.R.S had several employees that were more computer savvy and very excited about automation. With an automated system, quotes and final bills for automotive repairs could be created and stored into a centralized database before a copy is provided to the customer for payment of services. A new database would allow for tracking customer information, their vehicles, the parts installed, details about the service provided, and preventative maintenance information to drive future business.
To make the improvements, Marcia Schmelzle, PMP, enrolled in a Certified Lean Master course that was offered by Transformance Advisors in collaboration with APICS Northern Colorado. Marcia, armed with the teachings from the course, applied a lean project at C.A.R.S. to address inefficiencies in their billing system. The owner, George Kronsbein, worked with Marcia to create a business case, project plan, specify value, current and future state value stream map, implementation plan, training plan, and plan for continuous improvements. In addition, the automation process involved purchasing and configuring hardware & software that was able to create a process for using the system to enter customer information and create quotes and bills. The technicians at C.A.R.S. were then trained to use the system.
George, Marcia, and the whole team at C.A.R.S. saw an immediate labor and cost savings when the automated billing system was implemented. Their customers saw improvement in the accuracy of the quote, bill and repairs. They also now have the ability to track their vehicle’s repairs and stay on top of regular maintenance. The saving for the team was a result of more correct information, allowing for greater customer satisfaction, a reduction of the time wasted writing and re-writing statements, and a more clear organization of tasks to keep them on top of what was necessary to be done.