GS1140 Problem Solving Theory
Dr. Tiera Coston
In the greater Baton Rouge area, there are 270 automotive and collision repair businesses. Within three miles from Fisher’s Automotive, where my husband Paul works, there are 40 shops that are providing some of the same services as Fisher’s. Of those 40, 26 perform collision repair. Before I started school, I worked at Fisher’s with Paul. I was a body technician and helped with some of the office duties. Paul is still currently the head painter. The owner, Vic Fisher, has recently seen a decline in business on the collision side. If the business is to remain open, which will allow Paul to keep his job and provide for his family, the staff at Fishers needs to figure out what they can do to bring in more business.
The questions that need to be answered are: How is Fisher’s Automotive going to get a competitive edge on its competition in the greater Baton Rouge area? Is there an untapped source of revenue that can single it out from the other shops? Is there a service currently not being provided in Baton Rouge? Answering these questions may very well be the solution that they are looking for.
The building that Fisher’s Automotive is in was designed to be a warehouse and is not suitable for what they are using it for. It is really run down, old looking, and in need of remodeling. One of the first places that they need to remodel is the office area. By doing that, Fisher’s will be able to showcase some of the different services they provide. It will then look more professional and appealing to the customers coming in. Second, they need to address the production area. The production area needs to be reconstructed to enhance productivity, increase the work flow, and visually evoke a feeling of professionalism to incoming customers. Customers will then be able to see that Fisher’s is a specialty shop and not just the normal collision and automotive repair business. One of the disadvantages of this type of renovation will be the inconvenience to the staff as well as the customers during business hours. Another disadvantage will be the cost involved for the necessary upgrades.
Vic and Paul have already spoken with insurance companies and have discovered that there is no place in Baton Rouge that they, the insurance companies, can send boats and recreational vehicles (RV) for repairs. These companies have had to ship these vehicles out-of-state for repairs. Needless to say, it is costing these insurance companies a substantial amount of money to go out-of-state to do these repairs. So, if Fishers can provide these types of services, it will have the advantage over its competitors in that approach. The disadvantages of this method would be the purchasing a specialized paint booth big enough to facilitate boats and RV’s. Also, they do not have the qualified staff to handle the labor intense work load. Vic will need to hire more specialized employees to make up for that work load.
A new marketing strategy would be another approach to getting a competitive advantage over Fisher’s competitors. One way Vic can do this would be to come up with a new name and logo for Fisher’s Automotive. Vic will also need to replace the old sign with a bold and modern sign with the new name and logo. By changing the name and logo, customers will have a better idea of the overall services the shop will provide. Also, Vic can begin to advertise in more car magazines such as News on Wheels and the Advocate newspaper. The use of internet media, such as creating a new website and creating a facebook page, can be beneficial to promoting the new name. Fisher’s can further the name and reputation through local and national car shows such as Cruzing the Coast in Biloxi, World of Wheels in New Orleans, and Sema in Las Vegas. Some other ways can be to solicit larger, well known companies to sponsor its booths at these various car shows. Connecting with companies such as Coca-Cola,...
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