Capstone Projects

A Transition to Sustainable Automotive Restoration

Program: Sustainable Management Bachelor's
Location: Not Specified (onsite)
Student: Ryan Punko

For this capstone project, research was conducted to develop a long-range plan that investigated and analyzed an automotive collision repair and restoration shop. The goal is to discover more sustainable practices and plans for cementing its longevity. The shop is a family business where the owner and manager will be presented with a plan of action ready for implementation in the future. The inspiration for this topic came from the realization that the family automotive collision repair and restoration shop has been present throughout the researcher’s entire life, in addition to how multiple elements of the business can be improved to benefit both the environment and business success. This is a long-range plan because the beneficial alterations to the infrastructure and operations will consume a great deal of time and money to bring to fruition. Much of this will be made possible with the plan to organize and execute of the full-on conversion to solely operating as a restoration shop with the exception of collision repair service offered to key customers as a way to retain this sector of the customer base. All facets of the business must be properly addressed for a sustainable future to be possible. This long-range plan focused on the most effective and optimal solutions that must be established to reduce waste, increase energy efficiency, allocate resources more effectively, establish operational longevity for the business, and promote the services and quality of work offered by the business.

“The capstone project proved to be a grand educational experience with its own unique challenges, though it was extremely enjoyable to develop a client-based project that aimed to assist the client with sustainable operations. Overall, the long-range plan that was created for the shop helped provide the shop with a sustainable plan moving forward, just as much as it helped the researcher progress as a student. Appeasing the desires of the client while maintaining a strategic sense of sustainability was crucial at all times to stay on track to reach the goals outlined in the proposal. Lessons that have been learned from the capstone experience throughout the duration of the semester are extensive. However, those most important to personal development are time management, extended business communication, and sustainable methods and actions applied to real-world scenarios. The information gained from interviews with members of the organization were informative and influential in the development of both administrative improvements and equipment upgrades. The interviewees provided substantial qualitative information that progressed the report in an all-around manner. Without the information received from the interviewees, the report would never have come close to how well it turned out. It was really important to understand why the interviewees had similar or different viewpoints about shop operations and potential improvements. This allowed the research to be narrowed down properly and tailored the report to achieving the desires of the client. If the semester and project progress were to start all over, the best way to go about research and development of solutions for the shop would be to narrow the scope of everything down to the aspects deemed most crucial with the client. If this was considered earlier, it would have saved a great deal of time in the beginning of the semester. However, the scope of the project was very broad and extensive from the start because there was so much information that was believed to have needed be addressed. This was not the case. In reality, it was discovered that the formulation of all the goals during the first few weeks of the semester plagued the progression of the project. It would have been best to identify the most important concepts and issues with the business that needed to be addressed. Then, the focus could have expanded to accommodate any further ideas or information that would have benefitted the project results in the long run. From the standpoint of course content, the SMGT program prepared me well for this project, as I was able to refer to knowledge acquired from various courses in the program to assist in the development of this long-range plan. Though, it truly comes down to the motivation and fortitude of the student, along with a conceptual understanding of how to generate and organize a professional report. As a result of this capstone project, the business owner and manager understand the value of these stages and are both in support of how this strategic plan will improve the long-range sustainability of the shop’s endeavors. All in all, these efforts should prove to be effective for the business in the long run with the improvement of energy efficiency, administrative alterations, operational workflow, and customer relations. The combination of all these elements will bring about beneficial change in the social atmosphere of workers, managers, and customers, along with cementing the profitable longevity of the business in consideration of the improved business operations and infrastructure.”