AM Online

Bodyshop of the year

##bodyshop--right## People are the key to the success of any business. And Nationwide Crash Repair Centre Boston has a policy of searching for the very best people in the industry and recruiting them – even if is are fully staffed.

Success stories this year include a motor-cycle mechanic who was re-trained as a fitter, two employees from the fibre glass industry trained as machine polishers, and a poultryman trained as a paint sprayer, reaching 100% efficiency in six months.

The recruitment policy uses many media – local press, internet, radio, flyers and phone marketing – to increase headcount. A formal apprenticeship is also in place with training supplied through accredited RMIF Remit or Thatcham programmes on a three-year block release basis. All job opportunities are advertised internally, which helps develop employees from jobs on the shop floor to key roles within the business.

Formerly David Singer, Nationwide Boston was the first bodyshop to join the Nationwide Accident Repair Centre network in 1993. General manager Brian Fox has been with the company for 10 years and has seen turnover increase from £800,000 to £3.8m during the same period. With 57 staff working out of its 20,000sq-ft site, Nationwide has delivered a return on sales of more than 12% each year for the past nine years.

Central to this growth is the theory of reporting. The site measures crucial key performance indicators on a daily and weekly basis and constantly makes changes and adjustments to keep it on track.

While part of a major group, Nationwide Boston still retains a family atmosphere. Management is hands on, with decision makers working alongside productives to get the job done. Every year Fox goes back to the shop floor to analyse systems and processes for weak points. This approach allows him to identify hardships and daily difficulties that frustrate staff and take swift action to change the situation. It's a formula that works and the business has picked up several awards for excellence over the last 10 years, including an Automotive Management silver award in 1998.

Every four months, Nationwide Boston commissions a customer satisfaction index that questions customers about all aspects of their contact with the business. The company has shown a consistent improvement since the introduction of the CSI. And every month, the general manager picks a selection of recently completed jobs and makes follow up calls, feeding back reaction to relevant staff remembers and taking appropriate action.

Part of the 60-site Nationwide network, Nationwide Crash Repair Centre Boston has been a top performer for many years. It makes the most of being part of a group by exploiting the efficiencies while turning an excellent return on sales. Its performance over the past 12 months makes it a clear AM Award winner.

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