Foremost on the minds of the collision repairers attending the recent SCRS conference was the perception that estimating databases are misused and lacking transparency. Participants of the NIIF said that they would like database providers to make available more information about how they derive their labor times, as well as provide disclosure when significant changes are made.
"Mitchell's response to collision repairers and the SCRS is: We Hear You! That is why we are inviting the industry to personally visit Mitchell to see for itself how we develop labor times. Once collision repairers understand how we develop and maintain our database they will realize that Mitchell's labor times are the most comprehensive and accurate available to the collision repair industry," said Tom Fleming, VP of Database Development.
Barry Dorn, SCRS director at large and NIIF co-moderator, stated, "We appreciate Mitchell's offer to provide collision repairers with insight into how they derive their labor times, and we are glad that Mitchell hears our concerns and is willing to address them. SCRS believes the collision repair industry would benefit from having an understanding as to how all the information providers develop their times. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the evolution of database transparency. As important as it is to understand how the times are derived in some cases it is more important to understand how, when and why changes are made to the database.
Fleming added, "In addition to opening the doors on labor time development, Mitchell is fully committed to communicating to the industry when significant changes are made to the database. By making our labor time process transparent to one and all, and quickly communicating when changes are made, we are ensuring that the industry can fully trust the Mitchell Collision Estimating Database."
Mitchell says its OEM repair information comes from over 50 manufacturers in North and South America.
The company claims that 300-plus vehicles are annually added or updated to the Mitchell database, which includes more than 2,040 services, covering more than 104,000 model variations and more than seven million parts.
A Mitchell spokesperson said that 180,000 vehicle configurations are tested on a monthly basis to ensure the correct availability of vehicle options. Nation-wide over 400 shops have participated in Mitchell's labor time study program. Editors devote the equivalent of one working day every day of the year to performing a labor time study for use by the collision repair industry. To increase accuracy, multiple studies of the same repair procedure are conducted in different environments, and then the data is normalized to ensure the allowances reported are accurate. Time studies also include difficult-to-estimate set-up and preparation time, the checking-in and inspection of all parts needed for a repair as well as tool set-up time. The time studies are video taped with date and time stamps for validation purposes.