By Dan Espersen, Senior Collision Program Manager March 2013
Over the last decade or so, the Collision Industry has had to learn to adapt to changes that involve, but not limited to software, social media, tools and equipment and more prevalent, vehicle technology at a rapid pace.
Adapting to and trying to absorb all of these changes is a daunting task and often stretches our patience to the breaking point. Without a clear understanding of what we really need as the basic essentials to properly diagnose, plan and repair a vehicle, from the time it comes into the shop until the time it leaves, will often provide an unsuccessful or far less perfect outcome.
Today’s Estimator, Customer Service Manager or whichever title you choose, are faced with a daunting amount of tasks and requirements to manage their customer’s vehicle throughout the repair process. DRP requirements, intimate software knowledge, vehicle technology and sales/customer service skills are just a few of the talents that they need to be proficient and often times experts at.
As OEM repair information has been made more readily available to the Collision Industry over the last six years or so, and of which I am proud to say, my company and I played a major role in making that happen, the collision industry is faced with a different set of problems that wasn’t even on the radar before.
Too much information.
I remember a time when folks in the shops would tell me, “Give me any type of Collision Repair information you can.” “A piece of paper, a FAX, a book, an article, and give it to me as fast as you can.”
“Just give me something!”
Now I wind the clock ahead, and I am often told, “I don’t have time to look it up, and if I do, I need to understand what to look up.” There are too many important things to consider when repairing these cars.”
Nice problem to have I guess, as we as an industry have at least solved the problem of the availability of the repair information. Now the next set of problems that present themselves the time and what factor. While there is no silver bullet here and I don’t profess that this is a cure all to this issue, I will say that I have seen some pretty successful outcomes in shops when this process, habit, rule or whatever you want to call it is adapted.
Implement an area of process and repair, the most important, low hanging fruit and adapt change.
These can be, but are not limited to examples of safety and structural procedures such as:
Structural panel and frame replacements
Safety items such as air bag system components, seat belts, hybrid disabling procedures
Implement the habit, process or rule and do this each and every time a vehicle with this type of repair comes into your shop. Do this for a set amount of time to allow yourself or your staff to adapt the habit and then move another into the process such as:
Door trim panel removals
Technical Service Bulletins
Diagnostic trouble code identification
What do they say? – “It takes 21 days to become a habit?”
Give it a try, implement the change and I am confident you will eventually see, that information overload will start to be looked at as information necessity and the daunting task of trying to find, access or understand what is really needed will diminish.