Wednesday, 29 April 2020 17:08

OE Certifications Update 2020---Part 2 of 2

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Earlier this month on AutobodyNews.com, we began looking at OE shop certification programs, with three shops participating in several different programs for some time, and two consultants involved with many certified shops, fully familiar with the concept and with a broad view of the industry.

We continue that conversation here.


Do you think the OEMs need to do a better job helping certified shops promote themselves as such, and drive more customers of that brand to the certified shops?


Chad Eldridge of Majestic Auto Body in Idaho said the OEs should do a better job of promoting their certified shops, especially when the shop first becomes certified, to help get them started.


Terry Mostul of Artistic Auto Body in Oregon noted, “All the programs have a shop locator, which is fine---but there’s more that they could do.”


“There are two things OEs should do," said Mark Olson of Vehicle Collision Experts. “The first is receiving the first notice of loss. This way, they could give the customer a choice of OE certified shops, so the job gets done right and the brand is protected.


"The second thing is to restrict certain repair parts to only certified shops. This will add validity to those shops and again, ensure a proper repair.”


“From a shop's perspective, especially in a DRP world, they pay to be on a certification program, or invest and qualify, the expectation is to get work driven to the shop's door,” said Ron Kuehn of Collision Business Solutions. “I truly believe the OEs will eventually be able to help get the vehicles to the network.  


"However, the network needs to be properly trained, equipped, and have a culture to actually repair vehicles to the required OE standards. The OEs have to be able to monitor the network to make sure that the certified shops are actually doing what they’ve been entrusted to do," Kuehn continued. "In my opinion, promoting the OE certified network will happen. The primary focus for both the OEs and the shops [should be] to get the vehicles repaired safely and properly for the vehicle owners and their families.”  


If you could get all the OE certification program managers in a room at the same time, what would you tell them, or what would you ask for?


Eldridge favors online training for body shop technicians.


“In-person training is fine for managers or shop owners," he said. "But to send a tech to school is very expensive when you figure not only travel cost but productivity loss. Online training is the way to go for techs.”


“We need better communication between the shops and the OE," Mostul said. "Honda does a good job with this because they have their own field people.”

“I would ask where will they go next?" said Josh Fuller of Fuller Auto Body in Massachusetts. "How can we focus our efforts?”

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