In the earliest days of the collision repair industry, when shop employees needed a replacement part they picked up the phone and called a supplier, quite often an OE dealer.
Simple? Yes. Quick? Maybe. Efficient? Not necessarily if the shop needed multiple parts, some possibly hard to find, and had to keep calling until they were found. Starting in the early 1980s and still true today, the fax machine saved time and effort for both shops and parts suppliers.
By around 2006, OEConnection was able to do something no one had done before---electronically connect OE dealers with body shops, allowing the two to communicate, the shop to order parts and the OE manufacturers to run a conquest or price-matching programs utilizing the OEC software. This was a win for everyone, including the shop, the dealer, the customer, the OE and the insurance company.
Utilizing OEConnection’s CollisionLink® software, American Honda launched its Collision Select conquest program on July 1, 2009. The program ran very well for several years. The program reached its peak around 2016 when the number of transacting body shops reached a plateau and growth had ceased. So, in true Honda fashion, the Collision Marketing Group went “to the spot” to interview dealers and body shops all over the country to see what was going on. Here is what they heard:
• Shops and dealers said, “It is taking way too much time to conquest parts.” In other words, after the estimate had been written using either aftermarket or salvage parts, it then became incumbent upon the OE dealer, using the OEC software, to contact the shop to negotiate the price of certain key OE parts to see if the dealer could change the shop’s mind about what parts to use. Ultimately, this resulted in more parts sales for American Honda and those OEs who followed this model, but it was more work on the part of the dealer and the shop. Plus, dealers were not always consistent using the program, and the number of shops using CollisionLink® was somewhat limited compared to the size of the body shop network.
• Shop owners said, “Give me your best price up front and let me make the decision. If I am in the middle of writing an estimate, I will use the OE part if I can. If you have a conquest price, why should I have to wait for a dealer to get back to me when I am ultimately making the decision anyway?”