BLOG: It’s time to change…but how?

‘Time; you can’t own it, you can’t keep it and once you’ve lost it you can never get it back,’ writes FRAN BARKER, paint technician at John Macadam & Son Ltd.

‘None of this helps me when I’ve been given precisely two hours and 18 minutes to prepare, paint and polish a bumper for a 3 series, and the ‘new’ bumper is damaged. Out of this time, I have to walk around a workshop for what seems like three miles whilst playing a really annoying game of hide and seek with the parts manager, so that he can come and take a look at the said damage, only for him to turn round and tell me, ‘we’ve had the bumper too long so it can’t be sent back.’

I now have more work to do, for less time than I originally had. To top it all off, I’m told the car is ‘going tonight because the bloke’s going on holiday.’ If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that one the Rockerfellers would have nothing on me.

So I get the bumper sorted and prepped in record time, get it in the oven cleaned and ready to paint, then it hits me – I haven’t matched the colour. I walk from the spraybooth to the mixing room whilst muttering that ‘there’d better be only one shade and it had better match’, only to find that there are in fact five shades and three field formulas!

I suddenly start hoping that the bloke who owns the car is colourblind or, better still, completely blind.

Instances like these are the constant mini-battles against time that us painters, panel beaters and MET technicians face on a daily basis, and are probably the reason for at least seven out of 10 arguments or ill-feeling on the shop floor.

It seems that the times given on jobs is being gradually squeezed until there is absolutely zero room for any error or for even the slightest thing to go wrong. It’s just not realistic; no matter how wisely you use your restricted ‘time’, every corner in this job can throw up a problem, even on the simplest of tasks.

Anybody have a solution? Place your answers on a postcard…’