Body shops live and die by cycle times. It’s a basic fact of business that you need to get each vehicle in and out as efficiently as possible. Customers want repairs done quickly and correctly – you and your techs both know that. So what can you do to make it happen? Of course having a knowledgeable staff is a must. And setting them up with the tools for success is just as important. Here are three body shop repair tools that can help cut cycle times:

1. A multi-point measuring system.
As with most things in life, the most successful repair projects start with a solid plan. A multi-point measuring system can give your techs insights into what they’ll encounter with a repair – beyond what they can see – so they can set up a clear blueprint for the process. When your measuring system can identify both visible and hidden damage, it cuts back on those time-consuming surprises or missed repairs.

Choosing a portable measuring system can help reduce cycle times, too. When you only have one frame rack, you don’t want to tie it up with a constant stream of measurements. Some systems have out-of-level measuring capabilities allowing you to quickly measure on a lift rather than a rack, which frees up other equipment for pulling and repair work.

2. A scheduling system.
You might not initially think of this as a “tool,” but it truly is. Scheduling software is key to keeping your shop running smoothly and efficiently. With a scheduling system in place, you’ll have a better picture of the whole shop’s workflow, which will help you reduce costly bottlenecks.

For example, customers have a tendency to drop off on Monday and expect to pick up on Friday, but that system can lead to a big mess as the various jobs hit different stages of repair at the same time. (Your paint booth can’t get through all those jobs on Thursday morning!) A scheduling system will help you even out the workflow, identify pain points and keep your team informed, which will reduce cycle-time bloat.

3. A welding system with automated features.
Errors in repairs can significantly slow down cycle times. Opting for a welder with automated features can reduce that risk. For instance, the MI-200T has TrueAutoMode, which automates much of the welding process so there’s less chance for mistakes. It can detect what kind of material your techs are welding, as well as thickness, while also adjusting for resistance variance. That means they’ll get OEM-approved welds every time.

Having the right body shop repair tools will make it easier for techs to meet efficiency goals. When you set them up for success, they’ll respond and put their best foot forward. That brings us to one final tip: Don’t forget about the role of team morale in cycle times.

Motivated and engaged employees will be more focused and more efficient. Be positive and remind them to use the tools you’ve given them to reduce cycle times. Help them to feel like part of the solution and give them insights into how reducing cycle times is better for them, too. When you truly work as a team, it will be easier to meet those efficiency goals together.