Lean Material Management


  Turning Data into Information

Because you can't manage what you don't measure!


Lean Material Management for the Auto Body Industry

Six Steps to a Leaner Greener Shop

  1. Establish S.O.P.s.

  2. Less materials (reduce part #s) Authorized List

  3. Ongoing Management Involvement.

  4. Training and Input from all Employees.

  5. Measure and Share the Results.

  6. Repeat As Needed.

Six Steps a bit of Discussion:

  1. Having Standard Operating Procedures is more than just a method of doing repairs. It also establishes a set of rules that enable a shop to have a firm grip on Quality and Costs. For example when all work is finished with the same grit as it moves from body shop to paint shop, the paint shop can apply the appropriate amount of primer surfacer. Material usage becomes a more defined quantity (two coats vs. four coats). Establishing who is responsible for each procedure and quality control during the repair process helps to eliminate re-work. While every repair is slightly different the significant steps in a repair can be standardized.
  2. Using Less Materials starts with an authorized stock list. This is as simple as having a pre-printed order form. With employees, management and your jobber work create a list with the understanding that ONLY the products we need on an ongoing basis can be purchased and shipped by the jobber. Anything that is not on this list needs shop management approval.  All too often a shop is sold on a new "super duper, money saving, more efficient, easy to use poly-razzmatazz".  Many times these new "innovative" products are better and some even save the money they claim to.  Sometimes it is a great new sale for someone else, and may not be a great benefit for the shop. Do they fit into our established S.O.P.s? Do we have a method to analyze and review their impact of quality and production. Sometimes this analysis is a matter of perception and opinion, but shouldn't we make changes for the right reasons?
  3. Ongoing Management Involvement. All too often we find ourselves working with shops on Lean Material Management only to find the shop manager or production manager is too busy to be involved or make material management a priority.  This process doesn't have to be an added burden for management on an ongoing basis.  Yes there will be an initial demand for added time and effort as the shop first embarks on its path to Lean Material Management, but this will become less over time. If all levels of shop management are not involved and committed to the process the results will suffer.  For example as a manager walks through the shop if they can comment on a particular process or part # with employees, they reinforce the commitment to Lean Material Management.  We have found that most employees want to win, they want the approval of their boss.
  4. Training and Input for all Employees. This starts with the formation of S.O.P.s and the Authorized Stock List.  Reinforcing that employees are part of the solution and not merely a part of the problem is a great start.  Again we have found that the employee training stops with certain level of employees. Even though the "lessor" tasks preformed by helpers can have a big impact on material usage and quality.
  5. Measure and Share the Results. Again we are reminded of several implementations of Lean Material Management where the tools and reports we create to help with the process never make it out of the managers in box. The employees are left in the dark as to results of their efforts, this is the quickest way to slow down the process of Lean Material Management.  Our tools and reports are the foundation of our Lean Material Management programs see samples of these reports and tools.  We can customize or  format segments of our reports to best serve the needs of various employees throughout the shop.
  6. Repeat As Needed.  This is an ongoing evolving process as new materials move into the shops (through regulation or innovation) we need to adjust the processes (SOPs) and material needs.

Get downloads of some of our reports.

Try our free online tools.

What services can help my shop be Leaner and Greener?

What KPI's do you want to track?

Dedicated repair carts brings all the materials and tools to the job.

Detailed S.O.P.s help  insure that consistent quality follows efficient repair methods.
Eliminate wasted time and effort searching for the right tools or materials. 

Keep everything on hand and immediately available and help reduce interruptions' in productivity.
A lean, clean and well organized stock area helps insure that all authorized products are immediately available for repair technicians.

Notice the bar code labels, this takes the Authorized stock list to a new level. And helps insure a Just In Time inventory.
We strive to keep our reports as simple as possible and still maintain a high level of actionable information.

Our goal is to create tools and reports that help both the Body Shop and the Jobber work towards greater material efficiencies and reduced waste.

We encourage our clients to focus on a limited number of KPI's or CPVs (Critical Profit Variables).

For those choosing other reporting methods (non J. Hunter & Associates solutions), we have included a working diagram on the right.  Lean Material Management reports don't need to be complex, they need to be procedure and therefore action oriented.