Thursday, 21 October 2010 17:31

Who needs OE repair information?

Written by Dan Espersen

Shops, insurers and consumers all benefit when vehicles are repaired to manufacturers’ standards!
Every day, collision shops are faced with a multitude of challenges and decisions about repairing vehicles and satisfying the expectations of valued customers. One of a repair professional’s most important questions should be, “How do I ensure proper repairs based on the quality and quantity of repair information available.” With today’s fast-moving technology, procedures that were up-to-date yesterday can be out-of-date tomorrow.

The complexity of today’s vehicles, with sophisticated electronics and safety systems, new high-strength materials, and alternative power systems, makes easy access to correct information an absolute must.
In the absence of a single source for accurate, current and detailed repair procedures, how can anyone repair a damaged vehicle to a high, exacting and consistent standard?


Question: Who sets the standard?
Webster’s Dictionary defines “standard” as:

 

“A means of determining what a thing should be. Standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority.”

Based on this definition, I would have to ask myself: How should things be? What are the rules, principles and measures? And, perhaps most importantly, Who is the Authority?

Answer: The Manufacturer (OE)
They design it, develop it, test it and deliver it. Vehicle manufacturers set the standard for correct repair information, procedures and practices. Traditional information gathering techniques are chaotic, time consuming, costly and confusing. Ask yourself, when faced with a technical problem, “What would the manufacturer say about this?” Ready access to OE information could positively impact your entire operation.

OE information and the insurer
The dilemma of proper repairs reaches beyond the staff of a collision repair facility. With the potential to grow the collision repair business, many shops have turned to insurance direct repair programs (DRPs), to enhance or drive revenue to their doors.
As more people – and more opinions – directly impact repair decisions, the issue of accurate repair information becomes even more critical. OE repair information helps remove the guesswork and the opinions from the estimating and repair processes, Who benefits? Everyone, the repair facility, the insurer and, ultimately, the vehicle owner. Let’s break it down:

The benefits of OE Information to estimating
1.    With OE information at hand, proper repair methodology will be reflected on the estimate.
2.    Correct OE recommended parts will be ordered.
3.    Correct replacement procedures will be followed, including, among others: full or partial outer/inner panel replacements, full or partial frame components, recommended adhesives, sealants and coatings, to name a few.
4.    Unnecessary, time-wasting questions and discussions may be reduced or eliminated due to the availability of OE repair procedures.
5.    Correct documentation will now be recorded and made available to the insurer to substantiate repair decisions and the thought behind them.
6.    Supplements may decrease, as correct repair procedures can be determined upfront at the time of the estimate rather than during repairs.
7.    Unrelated existing conditions may be discovered in OE technical service bulletins (TSBs) or recall notices prior to repairs and estimates
8.    Correct mechanical operations and labor times will be reflected on the estimate. (Current information may not be available in the shop’s/insurer’s estimating systems.)

The benefits of OE Information to production
1.    Correct OEM repair documentation will be available to the technician prior to beginning the repair.
2.    OEM repair data will be accessible at the time of teardown, allowing correct procedures to be estimated, documented and filed.
3.    Technicians can access correct, up-to-date OE procedures, helping them to make repairs to current standards with fewer mistakes.
4.    Fewer damaged or broken parts will result from the technician having OE disassembly and assembly procedures for components that they have never worked on before.
5.    OE information can help facilitate constructive negotiations and discussions between the insurer and the technician/production manager.
6.    Proper repair practices on the estimate can now be verified by the production team.
7.    Technical service bulletins (TSBs) can be accessed for existing (possibly unrelated) conditions on the vehicle.
8.    Training for certain repair operations on specific vehicles can be reduced.
9.    Correct identification and repair methods can be performed and substantiated on various types of steels.

The benefits of OE Information to your business KPI’s
Cycle time
1.    By having OE repair information available, correct parts are ordered upfront, resulting in fewer parts returns, more efficient sourcing and less down time.
2.    Vehicles will not stop in production due to broken parts, subletting, authorizations, additional/ unnecessary supplements or improper repairs.
3.    Questions affecting production can now be answered:
•    Does this vehicle need frame replacement or sectioning? Is the damaged area within the OE tolerance/dimension and can it be straightened?
•    Do I have to sublet this repair, or can I save time by repairing it in the shop with detailed OE instructions?
•    Do I have the correct tools and equipment to repair the vehicle properly?
Efficiencies / Productivity
1.    Having OE repair procedures prior to production can streamline a technician’s repair practices and help prevent mistakes.
2.    With accurate procedures and diagrams, the technician can spend more time working on the vehicle instead wasting time gathering repair information.
3.    OE information opens the door to performing repairs in the shop instead of continuing to outsource work, such as:
•    Suspension and steering operations
•    Electrical systems
•    Hybrid technology
•    Air bags
•    Collision avoidance systems

Overall Average Severity or cost of repair
This category is what I like to call the balance scale. On one side is the insurer who wants to keep claim severity under control, letting them pass on the savings to the consumer. On the other side is the collision repairer, whose main goal is to capitalize on gross margins and profitability by cultivating as many sales as possible.

The scale balances when both the insurer and collision facility negotiate an agreeable, cost effective, correct solution that benefits everyone, including the vehicle owner.

Here’s how OE repair procedures help balance the scale:
1. OE Information reduces timely and costly sublet operations and keeps the vehicle in the repair facility. (“Now, I have the instructions to repair this system.”)
2. It lowers rental costs by reducing cycle times. (“I don’t have to stop this vehicle in production and extend rental days, because I have a proper repair plan. I can keep the vehicle moving.”)
3. Accurate information ensures correct billable repairs. (“I can produce proper OE repair steps, charges and documentation, which are not available in other systems.”)
4. Proper step-by-step procedures help increase efficiencies and overall productivity. (“I can now keep my hands on the vehicle more, because I have the proper instructions right from the start of the repair.”)

Customer satisfaction (CSI)
OE collision repair information enhances customer satisfaction:

“I can explain to my valued customer that we are repairing the vehicle to OE standards.”

“I can show my customer OE repair documentation, technical service bulletins and recall information that may help them with other areas of concern on their vehicles.”

“I can deliver the vehicle to my customer in a more accurate, promised time frame because I have reduced the mistakes made during the course of repair by having OEM repair instructions.”)

“I have established or enhanced my professional credibility with an insurer and my customer by providing OE guidelines and repair procedures.”

“We conform to OE repair standards, allowing me to manage liabilities and provide accurate documentation.”

The Benefits of referencing OE information first
The greatest benefit of OE repair information will be realized when a vehicle first enters the shop. With procedures and diagrams in hand at the start, estimators can build proper repair plans, the correct parts can be ordered, and technicians can repair the vehicle faster and more efficiently. As a result, quality will increase and the overall time that a vehicle is spent in the shop will decrease. Give it a try!

For more information on OE repair information, please visit: www.alldata.com/promo/abn6tt/

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