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.