Lean Operations, Superior Service
Using GreenLeanSM principles, Eagan's Superior Service Center lives up to its name.
Lean thinking has long been a cornerstone of successful manufacturing businesses. But many lean lessons can extend far beyond manufacturing. Case in point: Superior Service Center. To the delight of customers and car insurance companies alike, the family-owned collision repair
shop has shrunk its average vehicle repair time from 10 business days to 3.2. But owner Dan Sjolseth says employees aren't working harder; they're just working smarter, thanks to GreenLeanSM principles.
Superior Service Center began its lean journey in 2006, using the 5S method (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) to reorganize its body shop and eliminate wasted time spent searching for tools. Regularly scheduled cleaning and organizing sessions keep the shop
in tip-top condition.
"5S is a huge part of our lean process, because when everything is in its place, it's much easier to find equipment," Sjolseth says. "Now, everything is identified. If there's a floor jack or a welder or a battery charger, it's labeled on the wall or mapped on the floor
where it's going to sit."
Next, the company mapped out its entire repair process to evaluate and discover areas where efficiencies could be gained. The session resulted in implementation of Superior's current repair process, which differs from the industry norm. While most repair shops put each car
through multiple rounds of estimating damage, partial disassembly, ordering parts and repair, Superior fully disassembles every car it receives to uncover all problems and get the repair right the first time, at once saving time and improving work quality, while allowing employees
to complete repairs on one vehicle from start to finish.
"When you do a good job to discover all the damage, when your parts come to you, you're much more efficient because you start and complete the repair all in a short period of time, versus starting and stopping all the time," Sjolseth says. "If you are doing a project
around the house, like a small remodeling job for example ... it gets real frustrating and old when you have to continually come back to the same project. I think [the employees] have a lot less frustration now, and they're able to produce more hours per day and earn more money
because of the reduced waste in the system."
Though business remains slower than in the past, Sjolseth says Superior is primed for an economic rebound. "When business does come back and the economy is in good shape again, we will be so much better off having worked on all these processes."
To learn more about Superior Service Center, visit