Press Release (ePRNews.com) - CARLSBAD, Calif. - Sep 11, 2018 - NOTE: This June SPS profile was originally published in print in June 2018 and online in May 2018.
Things at the collision center at Coleman Subaru & Kia are looking up—the business is getting better and better every month.
Dennis Ippolito, collision center manager, is proud of what the company has achieved since he took the position at Coleman approximately two years ago, but there is always room for improvement, he said.
We’re spending 40 percent less on the Lusid basecoat as opposed to our former paint system, 71 percent less on our primers and sealers, and the clearcoat is saving us at least half. We’ve learned that you don’t always have to pay a lot of money to get a quality product, and Lusid is a very good example of that.
“We’re constantly striving to improve, and that means using the right products, eliminating waste and being a responsible member of the community here in Trenton,” Ippolito said. “Part of that progression led us to Lusid Technology’s GEN20 waterborne product, and we’re happy we did. It was a smart move for the business to make the switch and we’re seeing the positive results of it already.”
Ippolito, 28, is not a collision repair lifer, but by learning as much as he could about the industry and empowering his people to do a superior job, he has been on a fast track. Four years ago, he was hired as a service department greeter at another dealership. Two years later, he was named as the collision center manager at Coleman Subaru & KIA.
When Ippolito took over the shop in 2016, he saw several things he wanted to change. His paint department was high on his list.
“We started streamlining pro-cesses, writing better estimates and cutting expenses,” he said. “We looked at our paint system and we realized we were paying too much for our paint, so we began looking around to cut costs without compromising the work.”
Coleman Subaru & KIA has not been using the Lusid system for very long, but Ippolito has already seen huge savings since making the change.
“We’re spending 40 percent less on the Lusid basecoat as opposed to our former paint system, 71 percent less on our primers and sealers, and the clearcoat is saving us at least half,” he said. “We’ve learned that you don’t always have to pay a lot of money to get a quality product, and Lusid is a very good example of that.”
In addition, Ippolito’s painters are getting better coverage with the Lusid GEN20.
“We used to have to go with a three-to-four step process, and now we’re getting it done with just two,” he said.
Lusid Technology’s technical representative, John Panto, came to the shop and spent three to four days making sure that everything transitioned smoothly.
“We have received a ton of support and hands-on training from Lusid and our jobber BKE Distributors,” Ippolito said. “We don’t have to travel to a school; they come here and take our people through all of the steps. They have the experience in the industry and know their products inside and out, so relying on them has enabled us to be successful with Lusid GEN20.”
How does Ippolito like using a waterborne product?
“The transition to GEN20 one-coat coverage means less booth time [and] the results are excellent,” he said. “We’ve had zero issues and our crew is comfortable working with it, which is exceptional. We could have saved a lot of money if we had decided to go with a solvent paint, but we opted for the Lusid GEN20 because we wanted to be a green business.”
Ippolito also likes the fact that Lusid GEN20 doesn’t have a strong toxic smell and is better for his employees’ and neighbors’ health.
“We are located right next to a large, highly populated area here in Trenton and we don’t want our neighbors smelling our fumes,” he said. “We want to be a responsible business that cares about the community, and the waterborne product has eliminated that smell completely.”
By leveraging the fact that they spray a planet-friendly paint, Coleman Subaru & KIA is gaining much respect for doing things right.
“I have had customers ask us if we use waterborne paint, and we are happy to explain the product and the process to them,” Ippolito said. “We have signage here that advertises the fact that we use Lusid GEN20, and I do believe people care. I tell them that their car was originally painted with a waterborne paint, so we’re basically just returning it back to its original condition.”
When it comes down to any paint brand, support from the manufacturer backed by local support from a solid jobber is always a formula for success.
“Our jobber, Brian Elmer at BKE Distributors, is very numbers-oriented and has helped us cut costs in many areas,” he said. “He has been a jobber serving Coleman Subaru & KIA since 1984 in one capacity or another and has always made the well-being of the shop number one. John Panto from Lusid has also been incredible and comes up with all of the answers to our questions. As we get better and better at using this product, we’re going to become even more efficient as we accommodate continual growth.”
Coleman Subaru & Kia
Location: Trenton, NJ
Company At A Glance…
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: Five
In Business Since: 1967
Number of Locations: One
Combined Production Space: 30,000 square feet
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