Thursday, 22 September 2011 16:19

What Happens When OEMs Really Support Body Shops

Written by Larry Williams
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I have written about two dealerships recently, the Lasher Auto Group, and Acura of Westchester, and their common ground to success. They both have a positive attitude. They take pride in their work, and enjoy taking good care of their customers. They deliver their service along with the parts. Their customers know that their business is valued, and become loyal partners of the dealership. Everyone is making money and staying happy!

This commitment to customer service would be impossible, however, without support from the manufacturer. In this case the manufacturer is Honda/Acura, and the support is awesome. Once there was a time when manufacturer’s parts reps considered the dealers as their customers; looking no further for more business. But times have changed. Now, Honda/Acura has a division, with fourteen field representatives, actively helping their dealers service their collision customers.

American Honda’s Collision Select Program is a wholesale support initiative, available to both Honda and Acura dealers, and supported by OEConnection’s CollisionLink product, which is OEConnection’s online parts procurement and management tool. CollisionLink is supported by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Infiniti, Lexus, Honda and Acura parts orders. Some of the major benefits of CollisionLink are:

■ Online OE parts ordering for every make and model, for any dealership selling OE crash parts.
■ Parts are automatically VIN validated or highlighted for dealers if wrong.
■ Up to the minute order tracking, confirmations and status on one screen.
■ Process parts orders using all the major business management and estimating systems.
■ No more wondering if a fax was received. And less on hold phone wait time.
■ Faster processing by dealerships means faster turnaround and cycle time.
■ Send and receive photos and schematics.
■ Gives dealers the chance to offer OE parts at competitive pricing – they see non OE parts on orders. Plus, you see when OE parts have possible discount opportunities from the dealership.
■ See Parts Price Increases (PPIs) between estimate and MSRP on CollisionLink orders.
■ Automatically detects and creates fax orders for dealers not accepting online orders.

If you need  more than features to be convinced that CollisionLink can help your bottom line, consider this online comment from Mike “Smitty” Smith, Shop Supervisor at Fox and Fox Body Shop and Service in Ft. Wayne Indiana. Smitty said: “Using CollisionLink we’re definitely fixing cars faster for several reasons. One, our parts returns have gone down, because CollisionLink parts orders are more accurate, so we have the right parts when we need them. Two, using CollisionLink our dealers price-match OE parts against aftermarket, and everyone knows that OE parts fit better and install faster. Three, the parts ordering process is much faster and streamlined, freeing me up to stop potential problems. I now spend more time in the shop with the technicians helping them stay on track to repair cars that have short delivery dates. So, in all, I’m spending less time on parts management, our shop is pushing car repairs through faster, were building customer loyalty, and that’s all increasing revenue for the shop.” That’s CollisionLink.

Through the Collision Select program, Honda says participating dealers are able to help independent body shops improve vehicle repair cycle time, reduce shop returns and administrative times, improve parts procurement work flow, and give shops an opportunity to use more Honda and Acura Genuine parts.

This division is still young (it launched two years ago), still growing, but has already made an impact on the collision repair industry. It started out by asking what was needed and how they could help. Usually corporate information retrieval results in a mountain of reports, and little else. But, this time the end result was action! Whole-hearted participation in the CollisionLink program helps every one of their dealers. These dealers can now supply quality parts at competitive prices to their customers. “Quality parts” is the key phrase which results in a quality repair.

A quality repair results when the parts and workmanship combine with pride of craftsmanship to create a finished product which is indistinguishable from the original. In this context, I would use the word remanufactured; rather than repaired. As close as possible, the damage is erased; as if it never happened. The vehicle owner receives exactly what they expect, and more. This theme, customer service, guarantees return business and referrals.

Speaking of referrals, both Honda.com and Acura.com have a body shop referral system on the internet. American Honda Motor Co.’s Body Shop Recognition program has reached 500 participants in 40 states, the company announced this spring. This site is currently being viewed more than 6000 times a month! Referrals from the manufacturer! How about that for actively supporting the collision industry?

The collaborative program involves OEConnection, DuPont Performance Coatings, PPG, BASF, Sherwin-Williams and AkzoNobel, which work together to create a supporting initiative for American Honda’s wholesale program, Collision Select.

Both dealer-owned and independent shops are eligible for the recognition program, but a Honda or Acura dealer participating in Collision Select has to sponsor them. Shops also have to participate in their paint company’s performance enhancement program and adopt CollisionLink.

Participating shops receive a plaque and have their contact information placed on a corporate American Honda website in a searchable database accessible by Honda and Acura owners.

I just read an article in the Los Angeles Times saying that the repair industry has, in some cases, benefited from the recession. No, that doesn’t mean generous insurance settlements for older cars, but rather that people are still fixing their old vehicles rather than replacing them. The average car in the U.S. is approaching ten years old! This has caused some shops to see an increase in their customer pay business. Once again, customer service is key. Shops that keep their customers happy are always the ones that survive and grow, no matter what the economy dictates.

Once again, I congratulate the Lasher Auto Group, Acura of Westchester, and the support group at Honda/Acura Motor Company, for their success in these troubled times. I invite any others who also have a story of success to contact me, and join the Distinctive Dealerships Group here at Autobody News.

For more information go to the http://oeconnection.com site and check it out. Also honda.com and acura.com.

Read 3245 times Last modified on Friday, 02 December 2016 21:52
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