John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).

He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Friday, 06 March 2020 20:48

Industry Discusses Why So Many Repair Jobs Are Done Without Scans, OEM Research

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Nicole Riedel of Subaru of America said she’s encouraged by seeing more shops getting paid for the time required to research OEM repair procedures. Nicole Riedel of Subaru of America said she’s encouraged by seeing more shops getting paid for the time required to research OEM repair procedures.


With estimating system companies reporting that less than half of all appraisals include a line item for vehicle scanning, and with industry surveys showing less than half of shops report researching OEM repair procedures “most” or “all of the time,” there has been discussion at some industry events about why the industry hasn’t more broadly adopted these important steps.
At the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ "OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit” in Las Vegas during SEMA, trainer and consultant Mike Anderson of Collision Advice returned to an analogy he’s cited in the past: the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He said engineers had concerns about the O-ring that eventually failed and caused the Challenger to explode, but that NASA was too focused on “launch date and budget.”
“So they launched on time and they didn’t go over budget, but people died,” Anderson said. “All too often, we get so focused on cycle time and severity---which are ‘launch date and budget’---that we excuse ourselves from taking the time it takes to research the OEM repair procedures.”
He understands the time that research requires; he said he feels above average in his proficiency at using the OEM information websites, but that even so it can take him two or three hours to research all the procedures for a repair involving, say, a quarter panel replacement. 
So the industry, he said, has to consider that added work load it is putting on those preparing repair plans.
“I think as owners and managers of collision repair businesses, we need to evaluate what our expectations are for estimators in what they handle in sales,” Anderson said.
At the same event, Nicole Riedel of Subaru of America said she sees the lack of regular research of OEM procedures as “a cultural thing.”
“I think part of it is the way we've always done it: ‘I've fixed a thousand of these and I don't need to look it up,’” she said. “‘Or, ‘I'm not getting paid for it.’ I hear that a lot. ‘No one pays me for two hours to research things.’”
But she said she is hearing about more shops getting paid for OEM research (a “Who Pays for What” survey last summer found 16% of shops billing for such research say they are paid regularly for it), and sees Subaru working to “shift cultural norms” by checking for OEM procedure research as part of its audits of Subaru-certified body shops.
“I think it’s shifting. I think it’s getting better,” she said.
When the subject was raised at another meeting during SEMA, Darrell Amberson of the multi-shop LaMettry’s Collision chain in Minnesota said it’s “pathetic” that less than half of estimates include a scan.

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