By Mike Davey
Calgary, Alberta — September 17, 2015 — Concours Collision Centres has held a “Grand Reopening” for its flagship store on 42nd Avenue SE in Calgary, Alberta. Celebrations kicked off with an official ribbon cutting by Chip Foose, star of the television program Overhaulin’, continued with congratulations from industry notables and ended with lunch and a display of custom and classic cars.
The term “Grand Reopening” is appropriate. It is a reopening of an existing facility, and it’s about as grand as they come. The entire facility has been redesigned and reworked to produce quality repairs at maximum efficiency.
It’s impossible to get across the impact of the new facility in a few words, but Foose’s description comes close. “It’s impressive, it’s beautiful and I love the way it’s set up,” said Foose in an interview with Collision Repair magazine. “I would be proud to have a car fixed there.”
Ken Friesen is the owner of Concours Collision Centres. He’s a well-known proponent of principles that lead to high efficiency for collision repair and one of only two Canadians to be inducted into the prestigious Hall of Eagles, an organization that recognizes leadership, dedication and outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the collision industry. Friesen founded Concours Collision Centres in 1980 with one 3,000 sq. ft. location. The second location opened in 2001, and the third facility, Royal Oak, opened in May 2012.
The Royal Oak facility was touted as an exemplary design when it opened, bringing together everything Friesen had learned over the course of his career and extensive networking with peers and other members of the industry. Friesen says it also made an excellent proving ground for seeing how ideas played out before putting them in place at the flagship store or the Crowfoot location.
“We’re now in our 35th year, and I can say that we’ve kept getting better and more efficient for that entire time,” says Friesen. “Everything we’ve learned over the years, everything we determined through experimentation at Royal Oak, has gone into the flagship store.”
A few highlights include point-of-use tooling and Kanban replenishment systems. Point-of-use tooling is a method in which all supplies and tooling are positioned at arm’s length and in the sequence in which they’ll be used. It may seem like a small thing, but the increased productivity builds up over time. Don’t think of how much time it will save a technician today, but how much time it will save in a year, and you start to get the idea of how powerful this can be.
Kanban systems work by aligning inventory levels with actual consumption. Supplies are delivered as they are consumed, but only when they are consumed. This means no overstocks or running short.
A new spray booth by Global Finishing Solutions has also been installed at the facility. Other improvements include an aluminum repair room and mechanical service bays.
“The biggest part of the redesign in the addition of a rapid repair line that allows us to repair a vehicle in one day,” says Friesen, noting that when it’s fully staffed, the new rapid repair line can produce six cars per day. “What we’ve done is create two separate value streams. Any vehicle starts off in repair planning, but then they separate depending on the type of repair needed, before intersecting again at reassembly.”
The rapid repair line is for relatively small jobs, such as hanging a bumper or painting parts off the car. Friesen says this is the model that will be used when another Concours Collision location opens in January of 2016.
“There’s a new auto mall being built with five dealers, and they asked me to build the collision centre,” says Friesen. “We could only get half an acre of land, though, so it’s essential that we maximize the use of that space.” The future facility will have a footprint of just 5,500 sq. ft., and will handle light to medium repairs, with medium to heavy repairs going to the flagship location.
For more information, please visit concours.ab.ca.