Com­pet­i­tive edge

Motor Equipment News - - OEM -

on big re­pair jobs; it’s about vol­ume, so I’m con­stantly look­ing at how we can im­prove our ef­fi­ciency.”

Three years ago, he in­tro­duced the time-man­age­ment sys­tem Plan­ning Plus: “It al­lows me to man­age our ve­hi­cle cy­cle times down to the minute, so that ev­ery­one knows ex­actly what they should be do­ing, and when.”

He says us­ing Gen­uine Parts helps speed up those cy­cle times: “My pref­er­ence is to use new parts, be­cause we don’t have to prime them be­fore spray­ing, but Mit­subishi’s used parts are al­ways high qual­ity; they’re ex­cel­lent.”

Kane is also a firm be­liever in us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to im­prove pro­cesses and re­main com­pet­i­tive. He has in­vested in an auto-in­verter welder, a 3D mea­sur­ing ma­chine, and re­cently bought an iPod touch for each of his staff, so they can use the app We Es­ti­mate.

The time sav­ings have en­sured a quick re­turn on his in­vest­ment. With garage-wide Wi-Fi, each re­pairer can up­load a photo of a dam­aged ve­hi­cle to We Es­ti­mate on their iPod. “That means no more time wasted hav­ing to go and plug a cam­era into our com­puter to down­load an im­age and get it into our sys­tem,” says Kane.

Alfa’s team of eight now ser­vices 80-100 ve­hi­cles a month – a huge im­prove­ment from when he took over – and last year the busi­ness posted one of its “best-ever” prof­its.

Kane says an­other key con­trib­u­tor to im­prov­ing his bot­tom line has been switch­ing from Alfa’s pre­vi­ous paint sup­plier to Protech; he calls it “the best de­ci­sion I’ve ever made”.

“Protech had a bad rep­u­ta­tion back in the day, but they’ve really im­proved their qual­ity-con­trol pro­gramme. The paint cov­ers bet­ter; the colours are great; we have no fol­low-up prob­lems; and my paint bill has come right down.”

By iden­ti­fy­ing the ar­eas of his busi­ness that he can con­trol, and en­sur­ing they per­form to their full po­ten­tial, Kane’s ap­proach is not too dis­sim­i­lar to that of a top sportsper­son.

“It’s not just about putting your head down and go­ing for­ward full-throt­tle,” he says. “You need to work on all the small things that can give you that ex­tra edge.”

With his rac­ing days be­hind him, Kane is fo­cused on build­ing a busi­ness legacy as suc­cess­ful as his sport­ing one – and the re­sults so far are go­ing in his favour.

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