The Auto Repair Shop Layout and Operational Performance

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All aspects of a business operation are interrelated. The physical layout of an auto repair shop floor is the basis upon which the business operates. When determining the layout of a shop floor all factors and their relationships to each other should be considered. Workflow in terms of vehicle movement as well as personnel should be included in the decision making process in order to achieve the best result. Following are key points on determining optimal shop floor layout:

  1. Entrance and Exit – There are numerous variations of the physical layout of an auto repair shop. One or more bays/work areas are the basis of the shop floor while traffic flow and layout are interdependent. Some shops have one door that’s used for both entrance and exit while others have a separate entrance and exit. Still others have as many as one door per bay. Entrance and exit doors account for space but facilitate ease of vehicle movement. Shops with fewer doors have more work or storage space available. So it would stand to reason that a shop with higher volume would benefit from better vehicle movement while a shop with lower volume would not benefit as much from ease of vehicle movement.
  2. Organization by Function – Shop layout can be determined by bay function. This is readily apparent when considering dedicated bays such as an alignment rack or a bay with tire mount and balance equipment. Bays can be dedicated to specific functions for a number of reasons. Under these circumstances work flow and accessibility to dedicated bays should be considered when the overall shop floor layout is decided.
  3. Relation to Personnel – An auto repair shop will have a number of employees – some performing direct line functions and some performing support functions. The shop floor layout and the way employees perform their responsibilities are directly interrelated. Depending on the organizational structure employed by the shop (e.g. hierarchical, flat, etc.) employee proximity to areas they’re responsible for significantly impact their ability to perform.
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