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In the mix: How ACIS cuts bodyshop waste for Fix Auto UK

Posted by Ian Gallagher on 26th November 2018

Fix Auto

Wastage can put a major dent in a bodyshop’s profitability. From paint to consumables, non-malicious shrinkage – the financial discrepancy created by unexplained stock loss – is all too often glossed over in the profit and loss ledger.

Watching the pennies while the pounds look after themselves is a management skill franchisees can learn from the added value partnership with ACIS, the market-leading national network for products and services to the automotive refinishing industry.

Over the last two years 43 of Fix Auto’s franchise businesses across the UK have become customers of ACIS’s added value services, with 12 of these independent companies signing up for ASCRIBE, ACIS’s web-based stock management and replenishment system, which delivers an average of 20 per cent product cost savings in real terms.

ACIS is now adding further value to the Fix Auto UK network with a waste elimination package, which details how bodyshops can reduce their losses and boost their profitability in practical day-to-day processes, including forensic analysis of average paint mixes, to not only optimise the job but reduce overall waste.

In the package, the average mix is explained – 1.05 to 1.1 litres – with additional support from the paint supplier on optimisation of the AMPT (average mix per technician). Importantly, ACIS encourages bodyshop managers to spend 10 minutes in the mixing room every day to interrogate the paint computer and examine large mixes in detail, as well as mixes done twice or three times in as many days or paint left over in paint preparation system (PPS) cups.

Added value

The overall question any bodyshop manager should be asking here is why?” said Craig McDonald, owner and managing director of Granlyn Specialist Coatings, the ACIS member covering the Midlands Fix Auto UK region.

With more than 40 years’ experience in the coating industry, Granlyn knows all the skills of the trade when it comes to optimising the paint mix per job.

You should also be looking at the state of the room – a messy mix room promotes bad practice. Also, bodyshops should not offer larger PPS cups as an option as it encourages excessive mixing,” said Craig who applies the same logic to eliminating ‘consumables’ waste.

For example, most bodyshops use 24mm and 48mm masking tape. Customers should instead look at using 36mm only, issue one sleeve per technician and follow up with ASCRIBE.

Analysis from a typical bodyshop introducing these practical economies and measured by ASCRIBE, reduced paint use by 0.4 litres per job resulting in a 600 litres saving or, in cash terms £39,500 over the year. In dry goods, £1.10 was saved per sold hour, resulting in a £22,000 saving.

You have to make profitability the number one priority and that includes doing it right first time. Paint is expensive, but it is even more so if you mix too much, or mix it incorrectly and have to do the job again, that is a false economy, so you should focus on the detail to avoid unnecessary wastage,” added Craig, who covers the Fix Auto region from Birmingham across to Shropshire, south to Gloucester and north to Cheshire.

“We would also work with the Fix Auto franchisee to help introduce the approach,” he said.


ACIS has also presented to the Fix Auto franchisees at regional meetings around the UK, as well as exhibiting at the Fix Auto UK national conference.

Both ACIS and Fix Auto UK share a common heritage and goal – the desire to help small businesses thrive through working more efficiently, sustainably and overall, more profitably.

Both organisations are in the business of putting bodyshops back in the driving seat and enabling them to go after and secure national business accounts which, in itself, also creates a more competitive market.