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Archive for January, 2018

Paint Booth Lighting for Better Quality Paint Jobs

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When considering what goes into a quality paint job, we often think of the quality of the prep job, airflow and filtration in the booth, skill of the painter and more. Although these factors are all important, another key factor is lighting. Great spray booth lighting is necessary for proper working conditions, and is especially important in the refinish world for accurate color matching and high-quality paint finishes.

Excellent paint booth lighting is made up of several components, including fixture placement and quantity, light quality, type of lens, lamps and ballast, and code compliance of the fixture.

Fixture Placement & Quantity

In order to achieve uniform, complete lighting, light fixtures must be strategically placed on the paint booth walls and ceiling. Paint booth engineers use lighting analysis to determine the number and placement of light fixtures for optimal brightness.

A paint booth’s brightness is measured in foot candles — the intensity of light in a given direction. An ordinary wax candle has the luminous intensity of 1 foot candle. The industry standard for paint booths is 100 to 150 foot candles at a three-foot height.

Light Quality & Color Matching

For paint refinishing jobs, color matching is critical. In order to accurately color match, the lighting in the paint booth should be as close as possible to natural daylight, which is the true “white” light. The quality of lighting can be measured by the Color Rendering Index (CRI), which rates the light’s ability to duplicate the entire visible spectrum.

The CRI is a scale of zero to 100, with the sun at 100. Anything over 90 CRI is considered full-spectrum lighting. When quality and color matching is important, higher CRI rated lamps should be used. Lamps with a CRI of 90 or above are often referred to as color-corrected lamps, and are commonly used in paint booths for accurate color matching.

Clear, Tempered Lens

The light fixture lens can also have an effect on the quality of the light it gives off. A clear tempered lens allows for clearer, more accurate lighting. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than regular glass of equal size and thickness, for excellent durability in a high-production painting and curing environment. It’s also much clearer than wire reinforced glass, which used to be common in some paint booths. 

Types of Lamps – Fluorescent (T8/T5) and LED

 Most paint booths come standard with fluorescent T8 light bulbs, however, you may have the option to upgrade to LED T8 lamps as an energy-efficient alternative. LED lamps can offer significant energy savings — up to 40 percent when compared to traditional fluorescent 32W T8 system. Most T8 light fixtures can support either fluorescent or LED bulbs, making it easy to upgrade to LED bulbs in an existing paint booth. An alternative to T8, T5 light bulbs are often used in paint booths with tall ceilings, as they offer a higher output.

Energy-Efficient Dual Ballasts

Another way to save energy with your paint booth lighting is with dual ballasts. Dual ballast fixtures offer two levels of lighting. When less light is needed, such as during prep operations, you can save energy by using half of the lights. Full lighting can be easily restored for painting operations and detail work.

Safety and Code Compliance

While it is important for the paint booth as a whole to be code compliant, it is just as important for certain booth components, such as lighting, to comply with national, state and local regulations. When it comes to lighting, regulatory agencies require that booth light fixtures be approved for Class I, Division II, Groups A-D. By verifying your booth lighting meets these requirements, you can ensure worry-free planning and installation, and the safety of your employees, equipment and facility.

A Trusted Booth Manufacturer

Although all of these lighting factors are important to consider when purchasing a new truck refinish paint booth, the paint booth manufacturer and your local distributor should be able to help simplify the buying process for you. Look for a trusted, reliable booth manufacturer with engineers on staff. Booth lighting should be engineered for optimal brightness, color matching and energy efficiency, as well as meet code requirements. Better lighting in your paint booth can go a long way in achieving better quality paint finishes.

Road to Green: A 10% Increase in Shop Productivity Makes More Sense Than a 10% Discount on Supplier Parts

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Too many HD parts suppliers always approach the HD service shop owner discussing the parts price issue of what they offer, and then they wonder why the shop owner is only thinking about price and possible further discounts on parts.

Many HD service shops do not really understand the benefit to their business of a productivity increase in the bays. Our HD industry has always spoken about top line activity rather than bottom line focus. When the HD parts supplier brings additional value and helps shop management to understand this issue, it is amazing how the focus of the conversation can change, and for the better of both parties. Does your HD parts supplier bring HD shop Business Management courses to your area?

It is critical to understand that the HD shop is not in the commodity business like a parts supplier but rather they are in the knowledge business. The shop must diagnose the HD vehicle problem and set up the relationship with each client in order to obtain the proper labor hours billed to the client ensuring the vehicle is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations, is safe and reliable for the client and have the shop service levels exceed the client’s expectations.

One important number the HD service shop should know about their business which measures whether the shop is achieving the right HD vehicle maintenance service levels with each client is the average number of labor hours billed per repair order.

To calculate this number it is recommended that you take at least six months’ worth of labor sales. The longer the time frame measured, the more accurate the number.

First… take the closing number of the invoice and subtract the opening number. For example the closing number of the invoice at December 31 is 22474 and the opening number of the invoice on June 1 was 21872. The difference is 602 meaning that 602 RO’s have been written in the shop since June 1.

Second… add up the total dollar labor revenue billed in the shop from June 1 to December 31. For example, let’s assume the total labor dollars billed was $227,056 for the six month period.

Third… divide the total labor dollars billed by the labor rate of the shop. For example if the shop is charging $90 per hour, then $227,056 divided by $90 = 2,522.8 labor hours billed for the six month period.

Fourth…labor hours billed divided by the number of invoices written equals the average number of labor hours per invoice. In our example we would take 2,522.8 billed divided by 602 invoices written, equals an average of 4.2 labor hours billed per invoice.

The average HD shop in the marketplace is currently averaging 5.3 to 5.6 hours per invoice. The industry must achieve a productivity level average of 8 to 10 hours per invoice to provide the professional HD vehicle maintenance to the commercial client. That is the goal to be achieved.

The obvious question to be asked is “What is the affect on the shop’s gross profit and potential net profit if we can get a shop to increase their productivity by only ten percent to start?” In our example, this shop is averaging 100.3 invoices per month (602 RO’s written divided by 6 months) and averaging 4.2 hours of labor per RO at $90 per hour.

Without increasing the volume of RO’s written and keeping the labor rate at the same charge-out rate, if we increased productivity by 10 percent from 4.2 hours to 4.6 hours per invoice, the results to additional gross profit (and net profit) would be as follows:

                                                                                                  NEW              OLD

Average number of invoices written per month           100.3             100.3

Times average number of labor hours per invoice            4.6               4.2

Equals total labor hours billed per month                      461.4             421.3

Times the current hourly labor rate                                   $90               $90

Equals total labor revenue produced per month          $41,526         $37,917

 

The difference between the new productivity and old productivity is $3,609 PER MONTH!!!

This will create an additional $43,308 gross profit and net profit from labor revenue alone for the shop in one year.

These figures can become very significant as the internal processes to build billed hours moves forward. They represent a substantial additional amount of monies earned compared to any discount on parts could ever contribute to the shop bottom-line profitability. In addition to that we haven’t even accounted for any gross profit earned from the part sales that would be made as well with the increase in labor productivity.

Math is a very precise science. The numbers do not lie. Consider talking to your team about how to slow the shop processes down and increase productivity per vehicle rather than spinning everyone’s wheels trying to bring in more volume of HD vehicles into the bays and take a further parts discount from the supplier. Let’s teach the industry to work smarter, not harder.

This is only the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to understanding the affect of professional business management on an independent heavy duty maintenance and repair shop. The affect on true bottom line profitability is incredible. By adjusting the shops business measurements and the front counter processes, one can find a minimum of $160,000 to $250,000 in net profit with the current business coming through the door in an average 8 bay HD shop. How would that additional net income in your shop or everyone’s shop, change their business, their lifestyle, everyone’s stress levels and the independent sector of the heavy duty aftermarket industry?

Perhaps it is time for you to examine exactly what do you talk about with your team when they are looking at their routine with all heavy duty vehicles entering the bays?