Gino’s Panel and Paint

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After researching, for some years,  the benefits or otherwise of adding a rapid repair division to his already extensive Freemantle shop, Basil Scagliotta had to overcome an unexpected obstacle when he finally decided to set it up. It wasn’t equipment or staffing that held him back, but changes to local zoning from domestic to industrial.

“Council originally wanted retail shops so I obviously had a lot of work to do to persuade them to change their minds,” Scagliotta says. “I personally had to make myself available to get the approval. I went to the council and lobbied hard for my position. It wasn’t easy but eventually they approved my expansion and it is now a reality.”

Scagliotta, whose background covers both painting and panel beating, has owned bodyshops since l973. He moved from Fremantle’s South Terrace to his present location in South Fremantle in l998 as Gino’s Panel and Paint, always with the aim to improve the business and build it into a major repair facility in the South Fremantle area.

Adding rapid repair, thus making the business into a dual profit centre, was not simple. Scagliotta’s dilemma was tracking the profitability of two interlaced divisions.  Was it the lighter work of repairing two or three panels, or was it the heavier hits that included pulling and major structural work involving various types of steel?

Scagliotta decided there was only one way to find out.

Two separate businesses were formed. DNS was asked to set up management software to make sure Ginos two divisions operated totally  independently of each other and could be tracked  on the books.
The business occupying the main site next door was purchased and council’s permission sought for the rapid repair centre. While council favoured residential occupation for the site, the bodyshop achieved approval.

Two CRS booths were installed in the rapid repair shop adjacent to the existing business and the rule is that heavy hits stay in the main shop.

“If it needs to go on a bench then it doesn’t go into the rapid repair shop but if it can be fixed with a slide hammer then it goes into to rapid repair,” Scagliotta says. These simple rules are the norm for the rapid repair business.

Scagliotta says the main effect of the transition is that pressure has been taken off the main shop. The workload has been reduced and now the workforce in that part of the business has the chance to concentrate on the heavy hits.

“We were losing efficiency in the main shop and this rapid repair business has now improved efficiency throughout the two businesses,” he said.

In the main shop there are eight panel beaters and one apprentice, with four spray painters and three apprentices. In the rapid repair business there are three panel beaters and two painters.

Will the separation of the two sides of the business increase profit? Scagliotta says it is too early to tell but the signs are good and the expansion looks to be on track. It’s an exciting and forward looking departure from the one business concept. This combined with the efficient, well equipped and solid management organisation of the dual businesses make Gino’s Panel and Paint a worthy winner of best state large shop in WA.

Powell’s view

Separating the rapid repair work from the big hits was an unknown quantity for Scagliotta but it is starting to pay off. Certainly it has relieved the log-jam of work in the main shop. It is a bold strategy that is destined for further consideration elsewhere.

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