Flagstaff Autobody Repair Specialist has stretched its wings, flown to larger premises and is reveling in better working conditions, practices and higher output that the extra space has facilitated.

The fleet accident repair specialists had outgrown the old, more centrally located premises, especially after a spate of successful marketing. Parking was a costly nightmare and the hunt for the perfect spot began.

Moving to Kensington offered the opportunity to scrutinise how they worked and how they could work smarter. Owner John Barry said: “We looked at everything we did wrong – normally through lack of space. Storage was always and issue and bays were cramped.”

The panel shop at the new premises is 2000sqm and has an airy feel about it, with high bright white walls which Barry painted himself, and plenty of natural light. There is clear signage around the workshop and, as an aside, the biggest barbecue array we had encountered in any shop so far in front of the modern staff lunch room. “Do it right, do it once” is emblazoned on the walls of the paint and panel shops in metre high lettering.

Work bays are extremely generous with plenty of space for tools and parts and each tradesman has his own bay. Barry has invested heavily in state-of-the-art Car-o-Liner equipment including three measuring benches and the latest inverter spot welders. The parts storage space is also large, clean and tidy and Barry spent an eye-watering amount on parts carts to ensure nothing is separated or damaged during a repair.

The paint shop is positively cavernous (1500sqm) with a bank of three new Lowbake ovens and room for one more in the future, prep and detailing areas arranged in a U shape – and enough room to park two semi-trailers down the middle.

Reception is also large with a suitably corporate feel to it. Customer service is a strong focus and Barry employs three staff to support customer offsite requirments. The team of 20 repair around 35 cars a week. Part of the change of culture that came with the move is getting employees to own the job. Barry has two workshop managers and an office manager. The panel shop, paint shop, assembly and detailing are all self sufficient.

Recycling is a high priority, and as well as being organised the place is kept spick and span by full time cleaners.

Barry has a clear vision for Flagstaff's future and now has the space to achieve it.

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