Renovating for a more environmentally-aware business/better service
Ken Cielinski and his wife, Leesa, are local business owners who are driven by a passion to find the best way to serve their customers. A passion that has evolved into expanding the space they use and discovering ways to become more eco-friendly.
"We absolutely strive to be on the leading edge of technology in our industry to better serve our customers," said Ken Cielinski, owner of Ken's Collision Center in Cassville.
Ken's Collision Center has been providing service in the area for nearly 10 years, and the company is currently in the process of remodeling to add additional space. The company will gain 50 percent more space in the coming year specifically designed to streamline their processes and provide a better experience for their customers.
"Right now we've got just two chairs out here in a very small area," said Leesa, "and no coffee, no TV -- nothing to make the customer more comfortable."
Future plans for expansion include a larger waiting area for customers, improved shop area, a dedicated parts procurement area, more office space, and even a drive in estimating bay complete with a lift.
"There'll be an estimating bay where people will just drive in to get an estimate," said Ken. "They won't have to be outside in the heat, the rain, the cold or the snow."
He also noted the importance of providing a dedicated area for parts procurement and staging. Currently, parts arrive and are stored on the second level of their shop. When a vehicle is scheduled for repair, the parts need to be retrieved from storage and returned to the lower level of the shop before work can begin.
"We can load the parts right on the carts and wheel them out when the car comes in and it's ready to go," said Leesa, who explained how this saves a large amount of time and effort by streamlining the process.
The Cielinskis strongly believe that adding systems to their business that are environmentally aware will also help them provide better service to their customers. They currently use a paint product called Envirobase by PPG that is water-based as opposed to solvent-based. Using water-based paint dramatically cuts down on the amount of toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere.
They also believe that recycling is very important and have found ways to recycle every waste product produced in the repair process.
"Everything is recycled," said Ken. "We recycle our cardboard, paper, plastics, oil, antifreeze, and even the water we clean our guns with."
Another area where the Cielinskis feel they can do a better job is to be able to create a paperless workflow in their business. Plans are underway to change the way all of the five company employees process work orders.
"The days of paper work orders are gone, they will all be working off of tablets," said Ken. "We're in the midst of switching over right now."
He sees this shift as a way to continue streamline the repair process and improve communication with his customers.
"It's improving the customer experience," said Ken. "If the customer prefers a text message or an email as opposed to a phone call, we can communicate with then in any of those ways directly from the system."
The Cielinskis plan to schedule a grand re-opening celebration of their new facility in May or June of 2014. They both appreciate the support they've received from the community, and they are excited to unveil this new chapter in their lives.
"It's not going to be a Taj Mahal," said Ken, "but it won't be what they'll expect whenever they walk into a place to get their car fixed."