Reducing In-Tunnel Collisions, Increasing Production

Hoffman Car Wash is recognized as one of the nation’s premier family-owned car care companies. In just over 50 years, the business has grown to over 700 employees at 30 locations throughout New York state.

Hoffman operates full-service and exterior car wash facilities, as well as providing interior cleaning and express detail services. They also offer self-service wash sites and Jiffy Lube service centers at some locations. The company has set the standard for the region in terms of its state-of-the-art technology and prides itself on building its business by treating customers and employees fairly.

The Challenge

With significant growth came an increasing rate of collisions inside their tunnels. Due to Advanced Driver Assisted Systems (ADAS) technology, and because more customers than ever are riding in their vehicles during a car wash, pileups are more prevalent today than in years past. For companies like Hoffman — a large-volume car wash with multiple sites — the increased likelihood of collisions complicates operations and compromises the overall customer experience.

Customer feedback confirmed the severity of the problem. Fairly regularly, Hoffman Car Wash received complaints from drivers who were in collisions inside the tunnel.

To reduce the number of incidents (and customer insurance claims), Hoffman slowed production. They also experimented with having staff members monitoring the tunnel from inside. However, these approaches provided no permanent solution. Slowing production had a direct impact on revenue. Placing employees inside the tunnel wasn’t great for morale, and the limited exit-end anti-collision technology they installed didn’t provide coverage where it was needed most — inside the tunnel.

The Solution

Hoffman Car Wash sought to reduce and ideally eliminate in-tunnel collisions. They needed a sustainable, long-term solution that would help them decrease the number of customer complaints and claims while maintaining Hoffman’s positive reputation in the community. It would also need to give them better visibility from inside the tunnel while increasing production and profitability.

In late 2016, Hoffman Car Wash installed the NoPileups service at its Queensbury, New York location — one of its busiest sites. Managers reasoned that if NoPileups could work there, it would work anywhere.

The Results

Within days of the first installation, site managers were so impressed by the NoPileups solution they didn’t want to turn it off, said AJ Davison, IT Director for Hoffman Car Wash. Managers learned that, even during testing, the system was far more effective at preventing in-tunnel collisions than any methods they’d tried previously.

Since installing NoPileups at its Queensbury site, Hoffman has been able to prevent costly pileups that would’ve previously halted production. In fact, according to Davison, Hoffman Car Wash prevented nearly 300 potential collisions in the first nine months of 2017 just at this one location. Because the NoPileups solution was so successful at their pilot site, Hoffman opted to implement the technology at two more locations within months of the first installation. It’s newest and flagship store in Saratoga Springs, New York, installed NoPileups before operations began. To date, the site hasn’t had a single in-tunnel collision.

Increased Production, Improved Reputation

Due to the increased level of protection the NoPileups service offers, Hoffman Car Wash has been able to speed up operations even on busy days, resuming and even surpassing its previous rate of production. The company has also been able to reinforce their reputation for providing state-of-the-art technology and people-first service.

“There’s nothing that can protect the entire tunnel from a collision except NoPileups,” says Tom Hoffman Jr., Operator at Hoffman Car Wash. “And that’s measurable.”

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