Every component of your auto shop layout should serve a practical function, working together to create a seamless workflow. Regardless of the size of your auto shop, dead space, clutter, and improperly designated areas can threaten your productivity. To make the most of your layout, you’ll want to carefully consider how your space is currently used and highlight any pain points. From there, you can fine-tune your situation.
Here are five ways you can start improving your auto shop layout.
Most auto shops require permanent spaces for hydraulic lifts, air compressors, and service pits. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the placement of engine hoists, transmission lifts, and fluid drain buckets—equipment that could either be moved when needed or stationed in dedicated areas. Lastly, make sure there is plenty of counter space and workbenches for repair tasks that happen separate from the body of a car.
The key here is to consider how these spaces are arranged. Ideally, you’ll have enough space that you can dedicate separate areas for each major process. For example, most shops have dedicated spaces for service and repairs. Besides these areas, you should have corresponding tools and workbenches that can work in tandem with the associated tasks. If someone is performing a routine oil change, then they shouldn’t have to move far to find drain pans, funnels, and filters.
Additionally, you should make sure that people have enough space to perform their tasks without bumping into others.
To operate at peak efficiency, auto technicians need to be able to quickly access necessary parts. This means that not only should you centralize this storage area, but you should also make sure that it’s organized.
Consider adding a dedicated room or space with shelves that can be labeled. Putting them in order according to the location of the car or alphabetically can also help techs find them quickly.
If you want a modern auto shop, then you should also pay close attention to your waiting areas. According to JD power, more than half of people wait in shops for repairs of two hours or less. So while a client likely won’t notice the actual process of work being done on their car, they will notice unkempt or outdated facilities––both of which will influence their impression of your business.
Some ideas to consider:
Consider devoting space to your employees’ breaks. On the one hand, your technicians will appreciate having a space in which they can eat their lunch or read a book on their breaks. Additionally, it can help build relationships between your employees, who might otherwise not be able to interact in casual ways.
The last thing you want is for your techs to take their breaks in the waiting room or parking lot––both of which look highly unprofessional.
Modern auto shops should not only upgrade their layouts and spaces but also embrace new technologies. While the physical footprint of these solutions will be more subtle, both your team and customers will appreciate the ways in which software can boost your shop’s efficiency. Rather than conducting inspections with paper and clipboards and monitoring projects through whiteboards, you might consider implementing digital upgrades.
AutoVitals, the first digital inspection tool, offers a suite of software that can upgrade your auto shop’s performance. Through their Digital Vehicle Inspection tool, techs can inspect cars with a tablet.
By taking photos and noting any problem areas––all in a centralized digital space––your shop can more quickly and transparently provide customers with inspection results directly to their smartphones. AutoVitals workflow management software also allows service advisors to more efficiently manage technicians and appointment times.
The key to a successful auto shop is efficiency. In addition to the physical layout of your space, you should also consider your digital layout. Solutions like AutoVitals help you better make use of both space and time.