Chris Dameron, director of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Collision Division, reminded CIC participants that ASA has developed a reference chart for estimators of "non-included operations when installing a recycled part." He said that while this is a useful tool, ASA would like to see a longer-term solution included in the electronic estimating systems. The association has submitted a request to the primary estimating system providers asking them "to make this non-included information more easily accessible."
"What we're suggesting is that a 'drop-down box' appear [on the computer screen] whenever a recyclable part is selected," Dameron said. "It will serve to remind the user of some of the more commonly missed procedures. Six of the major insurers have given us their written support to encourage the information providers to enhance their products with these drop-down boxes. We'd also like to see these enhancements used in the new part replacement guides as well. We'd like to ask everyone in the industry to support us by encouraging the information providers to make this a priority on their schedule."
Nearly two hours of the CIC meeting in Nashville were devoted to a panel discussion of the "recycled parts supply chain." Among some of the key points raised:
- Some solutions proposed by the panel, which included representatives of insurers, auto recyclers and repair shops, included more use of "non-traditional" recyclable parts (such as door and back glass); more care by insurers about insuring previously totaled vehicles; creation of a business model that demonstrates to insurers why changes that may result in lower prices paid for salvage could be beneficial to them overall; an industry-accepted definition of a non-repairable vehicle; and national titling legislation that supports that definition.
The CIC committee that over the past three years has organized comparisons of OEM and non-OEM parts at CIC has turned its attention to the third parts option: used or "recyclable" parts. Participants at CIC in Nashville hovered around three Ford Taurus left front door assemblies, ordered and brought to the meeting by a Nashville shop. Jeanne Silver, co-chair of the CIC Parts and Airbags Committee, said the shop was asked to order the door from three used parts suppliers that the shop regularly does business with, without revealing the parts were part of a CIC project.
"I specified that he use three reputable parts suppliers, not someone he wouldn't use everyday and trust to provide quality parts," Silver said. In this, the first of what the committee hopes will be a regular demonstration at CIC meetings, the names of the companies providing the parts were not revealed. Committee co-chairman Rod Enlow did say two of the companies were "single-location" auto recyclers, while one was a multi-location national salvage parts supplier.
"Clearly anyone who looked at Door C [and saw no damage] either needs to get their eyes checked or they got the wrong door," Massachusetts shop owner Chuck Sulkala said.
"Both the repairer who ordered the parts and I felt they were in different condition than as described," Silver agreed. "If you look at Door C, I would venture to say that any repairer would return that door. Yet 'shows no damage' is the exact description [the seller provided]."
The committee also checked to see if any of the doors had been refinished. Two of the doors had consistent paint mil thickness of 3.0; Door C, however, had mil thickness that varied from 4.5 to 5, leading the committee to suspect the door was a blended panel in a previous repair.
John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988.