OPPERMAN-THIELS AUTO BODY REPAIRS, WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA
Based in the southern industrial centre of Windhoek, Opperman-Thiels Auto Body Repairs has a modern workshop that could be placed anywhere in the world for its state-of-the-art repair on damaged vehicle repairs.
Denys Opperman is the hands-on owner operator and as far back as two decades ago, he invested in major equipment to keep the company ontop of the cutting edge of repair.
Windhoek is a market that in some ways is very different to the problems and damages South Africa sees. With the huge influx of grey market used vehicles that mostly come from the Japanese manufacturers, parts availability for these units remains a major headache for the body shop business. It has become a vital part of cycle time in repair for the company, particularly on the cosmetic plastic parts which are all too often unobtainable. They have developed a repair team in-house to overcome these scarce items and look to repair first instead of replace. A new nitrogen welding plastic repair division now operates inside the main business as a separate entity, to assist local body shops in replacement bumpers and grills to overcome repair delays.
Denys oversees these repairs as the rhythm of repairs hums along in the company with their monthly average of around 200 repairs in total.
By developing another specialist section devoted to small area repair, Opperman-Thiels can offer a two-day average turnaround on these cosmetic small touch-up repairs. Denys has now been hard at it for some 15 years or more and repeat business represents around 85% of his incoming repairs. “We concentrate on zero defect production repair at our company,” says Denys, “so, keeping to pace with vehicle technology changes is a vital part of our success.” Walking towards his paint shop he points out the PPG Moonwalk new colouristics machine. “With this now up and running we are able to colour match far more accurately and can easily make another two units per day output from the paint shop with increased cycle time efficiency.”
The company operate with a comprehensive warranty on all their repairs and are leading members of the Collision Repair Association of Namibia. The workshop features a flow line production philosophy with the very latest collision bench technology and diagnostic repair on their work output. With a stable employment rate of some 85 people, Opperman-Thiels have been extremely successful in the Windhoek body shop repair business.
“It is all about employing trained and committed staff in the family business,” concluded Denys.
Story by: Ian Groat
Pics by: Ian Groat