Tuesday, 26 June 2012 09:27

ASA Collision Volunteer Leaders Discuss State Farm Pilot with Affiliated Associations

The Automotive Service Association's (ASA) volunteer leadership, staff and affiliated associations from around the United States continue to share information, comments and concerns regarding the State Farm pilot involving an electronic parts ordering application. The pilot is being conducted in Tucson, Ariz.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Birmingham, Ala.

During a conference call held June 12, ASA's affiliated groups in the Tucson (ASA-Arizona) and Grand Rapids (ASA-Michigan) markets provided comments regarding the direct impact the pilot has had on its members. Other ASA-affiliated associations expressed concerns during the call, asked for clarifications and provided the ASA volunteer collision leadership and staff with recommendations for future actions as ASA continues to professionally advocate on behalf of collision repairers nationwide.

"ASA is fortunate to have grassroots connections throughout the United States through the network of its affiliated associations. Holding nationwide team calls among ASA staff and our volunteer leaders broadens the reach of this conversation and ensures our members' voices are being heard," said Denise Caspersen, ASA Collision Division manager.

Pilot program concerns presented by ASA:

Reduction in collision repair facility profits based on: 
> Reduction in manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for parts 
> Increased administrative costs
> Increased cycle time delays

Increased administrative time based on: 
> Suppliers on pilot report increased administrative time
> Repairers on pilot report increased administrative time
> Increased "re-keying" of estimates based on lack of system integration

Overall concern of the influence insurance agreements have on collision repair processes

Electronic application will have a negative impact on local repairer-supplier relationships 

The "Price-Perfect" price listing of recycled parts continues to complicate the parts selection process and hinder the efficiency of the repair 

Potential expansion of the "parts search" market beyond the local repairer-recommended suppliers 

Potential expansion of this type of application being applied to other hard products necessary for a proper collision repair 

Cost of the application to the supplier will be passed on to the repairer and the consumer

Shops in pilot areas expressed a lack of training and understanding of the application 

Pilot shops also found a lack of responsiveness from State Farm and PartsTrader to questions from repairers and suppliers participating in the pilot 

Lack of information regarding how this will benefit the consumer

Concern of the overall legality of the program 

"ASA is committed to serving the entire industry, as it has for the past 61 years. Whether the business is family-owned and operated, or a corporate or franchise location, it is incumbent on the association to provide factual information about the impact and implications of any development that could be disruptive or transformational. ASA has become a trusted source because we perform the due diligence our members expect in order to make informed decisions," said Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief executive officer.

ASA's research has included interviews with State Farm, PartsTrader and collision repairers - those who participate in direct repair program agreements (including some who are currently participating in the pilot of this application), and those who don't participate in DRPs. Collision repairers may share their comments or concerns regarding the pilot by contacting Denise Caspersen at denisec@ASAshop.org, or by phone at (800) ASA-SHOP, ext. 106, or (817) 514-2906 (direct).

ASA will continue to address the piloting of the State Farm electronic parts ordering application on behalf of the ASA membership. All ASA announcements and documents regarding the State Farm pilot are conveniently located on the association's website, www.ASAshop.org. Click on "Tools & Resources" (in the blue menu bar on the home page), then "State Farm Pilot Program." (The site is best viewed using the Firefox browser.)

To learn more about ASA's dedication to service and repair professionals, the value of ASA membership and how to join, visit www.ASAshop.org or call (800) 272-7467, ext. 361.

The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the industry through education, representation and member services. For additional information, including past news releases, go to www.ASAshop.org, or visit ASA's legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.