Wednesday, 25 May 2011 19:45

The Value of Service Repair Information

Written by Dan Espersen

With the ever changing complexity of today’s vehicles that confront you and your team on a daily basis, access to        manufacturer’s repair information is and will be one of the most important tools you will utilize on a daily basis. Whether you are an Estimator, Manager, Insurance Adjuster, Technician or part of the Production Team, proper repair procedures from the manufacturer will allow you to identify, negotiate and explain key repair plan thought processes. It will also assist and manage critical business Indicators such as cycle times, hours per day, sublet repairs, technician efficiencies, overall productivity and profits.

Many considerations arise when preparing a repair plan for your customers whether they are your Insurance Partners, everyday customers, or Technicians. Issues such as minimal supplements, factory recommendations correct documentation, customer satisfaction and a cost effective repair are only a few issues that one needs to consider.

Questions such as these will confront you or your staff daily.
● Should I section this or replace the entire panel?
● How do I handle this Hybrid?
● What SRS parts do I need to replace after the accident?
● Can we reset the Tire Pressure Monitoring System?
● Does my Technician know how to remove the trim panel on this vehicle?
● Can we repair this suspension here at our shop?

● How can I provide my customers detailed repair documentation if they require it?

 

Documentation will be the most critical link you will have when determining a repair strategy.

 

So when is the best time to access or source this valuable repair information? Pre-Production or During the Production phase of repair?

The answer to both of these is ‘yes,’ based on your collision operation and processes.

Accessing Manufacturer repair information during the Pre-Production phase or at the time of the repair plan is an effective way of properly identifying critical repair decisions. You noticed I said “repair plan” and not estimate?

Often times a certain repair procedure may be available and if you don’t know it, the vehicle can halt in production due to supplements, authorizations, parts orders, or sublet repairs. Whenever a vehicle is stopped or delayed during the production process, cycle times will increase, efficiencies decline and overall shop profitability is affected.

If thought was given to proper repair techniques, locations and practices during the repair plan or prior to production, these critical performance indicators would ultimately benefit.

For example: You are developing an estimate on a 2007 vehicle that has structural damage to the front. Do you know if the structural component can be repaired or should it be replaced? If you have to replace it, can it be sectioned and where? Without the correct repair procedure, you may develop your estimate based on prior experience, here say, Industry accepted practices or the ever popular guess.

As the vehicle moves into production, parts have been ordered, the estimate has been sent or uploaded and approved and the technician is diligently disassembling it. Upon further examination after disassembly, your technician states that the damaged structural component cannot be repaired with the method on the estimate due to the fact that he or she thinks the component is made of advanced high strength steel.

Production stops, a supplement is generated, approval for additional repairs are pending and parts are re-ordered.

If the proper repair and identification procedures were accessed from the Manufacturer at the time of the repair plan, this scenario could have been avoided. Now ask yourself, “How much time are you now spending reacting to the estimate that was prepared incorrectly utilizing the prior scenario” and would you ultimately generate less work for yourself if you performed repair research prior to production or when developing a repair plan?

During the production phase, a technician ultimately benefits by being efficient or keeping his hands on the vehicle.

Locations of components, testing procedures, disabling operations, material identification and overall proper repair procedures are only a small portion of what today’s collision technicians face day in and day out.

By providing them with access to Manufacturer’s information, can they increase their overall productivity and efficiencies?

Ask yourself this question the next time that your technician cannot locate a component or remove a certain part without instructions.

If they had access to the procedures would they limit or eliminate these time consuming scenarios?

In summary, vehicle complexity is changing at a rapid pace and in order to be current with all of the complexities, we need to utilize the latest repair strategies and procedures that are available to us.

A proactive approach, a proper repair plan and an awareness and utilization of published procedures from the manufacturer are effective ways to manage our time and your team. This will ultimately provide a safe and accurate repair to our valued customers. Isn’t this what we are all in business for?

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