How to Level Up Your Automotive Service Department

Service Department

Service Department

An Interview with OC Petroleum on their recent overhaul of San Diego’s Frank Subaru

As the saying goes, you can work harder or you can work smarter, and at SCL we’re all about finding ways to streamline your operations to save your business both time and money. In this article we interviewed our Proud Partner, Sales Representative Victor Dominguez at Orange Coast Petroleum. We chatted with Victor about their recent overhaul of Frank Subaru in San Diego, where they successfully redesigned the service department to cater to more customers in a shorter amount of time.

Proud Partner – Orange Coast Petroleum

Orange Coast Petroleum specializes in lubricants and petroleum equipment for delivery and distribution within main and freight shops, doing everything for their customers from designing and redesigning shops to full build-outs. OC Petroleum caters to private companies that want to own their own lubricant dispensation equipment such as tanks, totes, plumbing, meters, and evac systems to safely store and remove waste oil. All of the products they offer follow strict environmental regulations, such as double-walled containment and floor attachments to accommodate California’s seismic activity.

How They Get the Job Done

For service department overhauls, says Dominguez, “We work with multiple mom-and-pop shops with just a single 75-gallon tank all the way up to large corporations like RDO Equipment Rentals with an entire fleet of heavy equipment and Caterpillar machinery. The largest fleet we’ve accommodated is the waste management main shop in Marino Valley where we installed 200 reels.”

For smaller service department operations, the reels connected to a centralized mobile tank hold up to 50 feet of hose, so don’t require overhead plumbing. Once you get over 3 stalls, however, having suspended lines is preferable to avoid damage to vehicles and paint from dragging hoses. According to Dominguez, “When you have a mom-and-pop operation, you can park the mobile tank right in the center of the shop and go left or right as needed to fill vehicles, and with our setups, you just pull the hose down, click the reel, top-off the oil, click off the nozzle and reel the hose back in again. It’s that easy.”

The Process – What Does a Redesign Look Like

Overhauling a shop means assessing available space to make it as efficient as possible, expediting and streamlining operations while keeping everyone safe in the process.  “For Frank Subaru,” says Dominguez, “we did a complete redesign, scaling and up-leveling their previous 40 bays and 40 tanks with a far more efficient setup of 40 bays with just one tank and 40 lines running from it.”

According to Dominguez, “Prior to their redesign the shop was set up with only one section to accommodate up to 4 vehicles at a time. They can now service up to 30 cars at a time for oil changes and the customer turnaround has increased significantly. Getting a customer in and out of the dealership in record time keeps them satisfied and coming back for future services. Before, if a mechanic needed something he had to walk across the shop to get it, losing time chatting with co-workers and weaving hoses in and out of equipment. Now, everything they need is right where they’re working. They just have to walk 10 feet, grab the hose and dispense directly into the vehicle.”

The Benefits of Re-designing Your Service Department

Making the transition to design a more efficient shop can be a hefty investment for a company, but with the following benefits, a solid ROI is inevitable.

  • Cost Savings – Being able to buy in bulk is a game-changer for companies, having the freedom to carry everyday products in-house at a bulk rate versus the time and money spent on ordering products and receiving deliveries from outside vendors.
  • More Control – Having the control to properly maintain your fleet when and how you want is a key benefit that will allow your business more flexibility with an in-house shop, instead of operating within the time constraints of outside vendors and services.
  • Time Savings: Having necessary products easily accessible allows you to put them right into the engine without having to shuffle vehicles and equipment around, and with a more efficient setup, you will increase the number of vehicles you can service in a shorter period of time.
  • Liability and Protection – If you spill a significant volume of oil near a drain you’re asking for trouble, and a cleanup of that magnitude can be incredibly expensive. Having top-notch plumbing, meters, reels and double-walled containment, along with properly anchored totes and tanks will prevent and minimize the effects of such accidents.
  • Safety – 55-gallon drums are heavy, and someone pushing or lifting them can suffer damage to their back. Installing an efficient mobile system with a centralized tank and adjacent lines will minimize heavy-lifting injuries and will keep your workspaces free of slippery surfaces.
  • Space Savings – With a new streamlined design your shop will be more organized than ever, with excess available space for storage and work surfaces that are cleaner and safer.

Return on Investment

Many companies operating a fleet of vehicles or trucks need basic repairs and oil changes on a regular basis. When these services can be done in-house, that saves them from having to outsource repairs, and buying product in bulk allows them to cash in on additional savings. Says Dominguez, “The old way was to put a 55-gallon drum on wheels and move it around the shop as needed, but there’s not much savings in having a 55-gallon drum versus a 240-gallon tote or tank. In the past, jobbers were delivering 2-3x per week, whereas now they’re making 500-gallon deliveries once a month or once a quarter, saving them money on the cost of deliveries.”

The Bottom Line

Says Dominguez, “Most of our customers realize that doing a service department shop upgrade is not a quick turnaround on savings, but is instead a long-term ROI. That return on investment might be in the first year or the second year, but the increased efficiency each mechanic will have will make a huge difference in the long run. At OC Petroleum, we try to expedite and enhance a company’s productivity so that they can do more oil changes and services in a day, resulting in better customer service, repeat customers and a solid reputation for quality and efficiency.”

“Being partners with SCL we can provide a wide variety of businesses the necessary equipment to meet their needs. Any industry with any kind of fleet – cars or trucks – needs oil to run their operations and we can help with that.”

Contact an SCL Consultant Today

In a wide range of industrial sectors, if there’s metal touching metal, oil is involved. At SCL, we’re here to protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving and we pride ourselves on providing superior logistics and solutions, extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. For information on how we can assist your fleet in choosing the optimal products at a competitive price, contact an SCL consultant today.

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