In a recent episode of the Solera Innovation Labs podcast, our collision repair guru Don Mikrut interviewed Gethyn Davies, Head of Bodyshop Commercial Development for Audatex UK and a collision industry expert, on small changes a bodyshop owner could make for incremental improvements to their business operations. We’ve highlighted some of those small changes here, in a post originally featured on audatex.co.uk.
In September, we launched our ebook Small Changes, Big Differences in the Bodyshop, looking at how marginal gains can improve the bottom line of modern vehicle repair businesses. In this “small changes” series, we will delve into the incremental gains which can be made from streamlining bodyshop workflows, and investigate how bodyshops can improve profit margins by protecting the estimate.
Streamlining the Workflow
With the workshop placed firmly at the center of high-value work, it is easy for owners to focus on how quickly and effectively technicians are completing repair work. The danger here is that any costly inaccuracies within the shop’s wider assessment or administrative processes can quite easily fall by the wayside and impact the overall profits gained on each job.
Although every repair is different, many bodyshops typically follow an independent staff model where techs have a decent amount of autonomy. When that model is deviated from, it impacts the amount of collective resources it takes to carry out repairs. While it may seem obvious, finding efficiencies in the repair workflow, from estimate to completion, can eliminate non-valuable work and protect every dollar made on each repair.
It’s important to look at the individual processes themselves and consider whether any areas of your bodyshop are running on outdated processes. These may have been introduced initially as workarounds for specific issues or simply to get something done quickly. However, they are likely now standard practice and may not necessarily be the best and most effective ways to work.
So, where do you start?
Implementing a resource portal or documenting FAQs for staff to access easily can provide ongoing support and minimize periods of downtime which threaten the progress and overall profits made on repairs. While the impact may not be immediately visible, the small efficiencies gained will add up over time, shaving essential seconds, minutes and eventually hours from repair work.
Protecting the Estimate
The vehicle damage assessor is at the heart of bodyshop profitability. Every estimate must be carried out with maximum accuracy to ensure technicians have a clear blueprint of the exact work accounted for within the cost of the estimate.
With bodyshops already operating within extremely tight margins, any work completed in addition to that accounted for on the original assessment inevitably adds on further time and costs required to complete the repair. When this occurs, the assessor needs to go back and revise the estimate to account for all the work completed.
Taking simple steps to provide a constant flow of communication and in-repair images between the assessors and technicians can improve the clarity over the work required and allow workshop staff to raise questions when necessary to avoid any additional work being carried out and not captured within the assessment.
While at first this may seem to add another step to the repair process, by documenting communications and providing the required evidence for each step, this could ultimately determine whether a profit is lost or gained on a job.