As published in Autobody News
When customers get their cars repaired at Carrillo & Sons Collision Center in San Diego, CA, they work with the entire family – including owner/founder Maria Carrillo and her three sons: production manager Tony, Jr., service advisor Daniel, and parts manager David. Some days, the shop’s clients also get to meet the Carrillo family’s canine children: bulldogs named Louie V, Oliver, Mojo and Tank; and a Pomeranian named Sophia. The Carrillos, obviously dog lovers, feature their pooches on their website, social media and all advertising with a memorable slogan: “Wrinkles are cute on dogs, but not on your car.”
By making all the right moves, this shop has excelled for 38 years and is still going strong.
“We are a VQ shop for Verifacts, and are members of SCRS, CIC, WIN and NABC,” Maria Carrillo said. “Being aligned with these organizations has truly helped us stay on top of all the current challenges we face as a small, family-owned business.”
One wrinkle at Carrillo & Sons Collision Center disappeared late last year when they acquired a Matrix Wand at the SEMA Show in 2018
The Matrix Wand is a 3D measuring, blueprinting and collision repair device. Maria said she had wanted a Matrix Wand for the past five years, so finally buying one late last year was a significant move.
“We knew we were ready, so we met with Jan Srack at SEMA and it was an easy decision,” she said. “Sometimes, Matrix custom-paints a wand. We were lucky to get a special red one. In this case, it represented the first one they were selling at the show. Red is my favorite color, so we’re happy to tell people it’s our very own special edition.”
Tony, Jr. uses the Matrix Wand on 70 percent of the 100–110 vehicles they fix monthly.
“Before we had the Wand, we were guessing the severity of the damage. Now, we’re able to quickly identify hidden damage and improve our work flow,” he said. “In the past, we had to tear down many of the cars to find hidden damage, which took too much time and tied up a lot of floor space in this 15,000-square-foot facility.”
Now, within minutes, almost every vehicle can be measured with the Matrix Wand to identify hidden damage that Carrillo & Sons could not find before.
“We’re writing very accurate estimates the very first time, in order to eliminate supplements,” Tony, Jr. said. “We blueprint the car and order the parts, then verify the repair by using the Mitchell Reference Database, which is integrated into the Matrix Repair Analysis Software. It improves our cycle time because we are able to fast-track structural analysis, starting the repair process right away and fixing the car seamlessly by using the Matrix Wand.”
The Matrix Wand has also enabled the Carrillos to provide their customers and the insurance companies with precise documentation, Tony, Jr. said.
“This is so valuable because in the past, we didn’t have the documentation to justify our repair times until we got it on the rack,” he said. “We had to use a tram gauge or do a visual inspection and usually, the insurance company would tell us that they would pay us when we had a measurement. In addition, our alignments were always problematic because it was kind of a guessing game. In some cases, the customer thought they were going to pick up their vehicle, but we had to tell them we needed another 3–4 days to get the parts and do the alignment. Now, we don't have to do that anymore.”
To train Tony, Jr. on how to effectively operate the Matrix Wand, the company sent trainer Alan Eaton to San Diego to work with him for one full day.
“We went through every type of repair we might encounter, including suspension, under-carriage damage, actual frame damage, rear and front uni-body damage, and side impact damage," Tony, Jr. explained. "With Alan alongside, I used the Wand to make measurements on several cars. It was an extremely helpful experience.”
For several months, Tony, Jr. was the only person at Carrillo & Sons trained on the device. But now, another member of the crew is on-board with the shop’s Matrix Wand.
“My assistant, Raul Sebastian, started learning all of the ins and outs about a month ago," Tony, Jr. said. "He is now in charge of all our pre- and post-scans, as well as all measurements. It’s like anything else—the more and more you work with the Matrix Wand, the better you get at it.”
Tony, Jr. can already see that the Matrix Wand is going to cover the company's initial investment within 18 months, he said.
“We’re able to streamline our repairs; we don’t need to speculate anymore,” he said. “It gives us the exact information we need to fix these cars right and get paid for it. How many pieces of equipment can pay for itself that quickly? To be honest, I can’t think of any.”