What does your dream-shop look like? Is it furnished with state-of-the-art equipment and tools? Does it extend into the distance, housing numerous bays and a warehouse full of parts? Maybe it’s a small, two or three-bay garage with just enough room to keep your most-used tools within reach. Whatever your ideal heavy-duty repair shop looks like, there are a few details you can’t overlook. A diesel repair shop layout designed to maximize safety and productivity also improves profitability. Plus, a well-planned diesel repair shop layout looks good, giving your techs a positive environment to work in as well as making a great first impression on customers.
Layout Outside the Shop
A good diesel repair shop layout starts on the outside. You’ll want to make it visually appealing but practical, too. Whether you’re building a new shop or optimizing an existing building, you’ll want to check your city’s local building and zoning codes to ensure your shop complies. Some areas have ordinances that restrict things like how many garage doors can face the road, a perfect example of an exterior issue that could affect your internal layout. Also, plan for plenty of parking. You’ll need room for customers and visitors to park as well as space to store tractors and trailers waiting for work or that have been worked on.
Keep the outside of your shop organized and free from clutter, too. It’s logical to locate compressors outside to keep the noise level down. However, you’ll want to place them to the side or the back of your building rather than out front, if possible. Even outside, the noise is just as unappealing—maybe even more—to customers. Organize any equipment outside the building, and keep it out of the way of foot traffic to avoid tripping hazards. What’s more, plan for a shipping and receiving dock close to where you keep your inventory. That should also be along the side or the back, if possible, to improve efficiency as well as reduce congestion in your reception area and workspaces.
Service Bay to Technician Ratio
When planning diesel repair shop layout, you’ll want to have enough service bays to accommodate the workflow. A 1:1 bay-to-tech ratio isn’t enough. It restricts your techs to working on one vehicle at a time, and that’s a waste. What happens when a job gets held up waiting for a part? A good rule to follow in figuring out how many bays you need is planning for 1.5 to 2 bays per tech. Instead of having to move a truck or stop working until a part arrives, having extra bays allows technicians to start work on the next job. It also leaves the job-in-progress ready to go, so techs can quickly pick up where they left off.
Heavy-duty repair shops need a lot of equipment, but you can’t just leave it all lying around until it’s needed. Large tools, jack stands, and diagnostic computers can get in the way. Still, technicians need them nearby, so they don’t have to waste time looking for them or trekking across the shop to retrieve them. Plan your diesel repair shop layout to have equipment storage close to the service bays. Train techs to put equipment away when they’re finished using it, too. That habit will keep everything organized as well as keep your shop looking neat and uncluttered.
Optimal Lighting in Repair Shop Layout
Whatever your diesel repair shop layout looks like, it won’t be very efficient without good lighting. Install skylights in the ceiling and full-length through doors with lots of windows on them. It might not sound like a good idea to paint a heavy-duty repair shop white, but white walls reflect natural light better and brighten up the whole shop. What’s more, painting the floors white will reflect light up under trucks, too.
As for the fixtures, instead of trying to place a couple of large, bright lights where shadows from pillars and equipment won’t cast a shadow, invest in a lot of smaller LED fixtures. You can install them in close intervals throughout your shop. They’ll spread the light more evenly around the work area, and the bulbs will last longer than fluorescents.
To top it all off, an efficient diesel repair shop layout helps control costs. It helps techs work more efficiently, saves money on utilities, and reduces spending on lost and misplaced tools and equipment. Work flows better, your shop looks great, and your bottom line gets a boost. It’s a winning combination all around.
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