When it comes to replacement part choices, the collision repair industry can be divided into two camps: shops occupying niche markets empowered to select manufacturer parts for all their repairs and shops that use a combination of aftermarket and OE products based on insurer/customer demands. Of course, most shops occupy the latter group. That translates into many repairers often being resigned to use poor fitting, low quality non-OE parts that require additional, non-compensated labor hours to install, which eats into critical cycle times, costing shops money.
Unfortunately, this is just part of doing business, right? Wrong! There’s plenty shops can do to increase their use of OE parts and enjoy the benefits of high quality products guaranteed to fit right the first time—benefits that get passed along to customers in the form of shorter repair times and vehicles that are restored to true pre-accident value and condition. Don Brezlin, a trainer and consultant with a long history of rebuilding failing repair businesses, encourages shops to take a three-step approach.
Step 1: Acknowledge the impact of poor quality parts. “Shops looking to reduce cycle times spend a lot of time reorganizing operations, when poor-fitting parts remain one of their chief areas of
waste,” says Brezlin. “Many businesses just overlook the labor wasted getting some parts to work in a repair.”
Step 2: Make a financial argument. Brezlin notes that auto manufacturers are making a strong push to regain market share with programs aimed at making OE parts more cost competitive. For example, CollisionLink works with GM’s MyPriceLink system to list real time, regularly updated market prices on every part. It also connects with GM’s parts conquest program, Bump 2.0, which is designed to bump aftermarket products off of estimates with over 8,000 GM parts offered at more competitive prices. “Sometimes the OE parts still cost a bit more, but that cost can be more than offset by factors such as quicker delivery, easier installations and reduced re-do and returns,” says Brezlin. “Customers end up a lot happier and because the vehicle is returned sooner, the insurer saves money on things like replacement rentals and storage.”
Step 3: Never stop educating. Insurers and customers will never be aware of pricing programs and OE advantages if shops don’t make a point of informing them. Brezlin says many insurance adjusters still are in the dark about OE competitive pricing. He says education starts up front with estimators who actively promote OE parts and give insurers and customers both options and knowledge.
Customers, in particular, need to be informed of both the benefits of OE parts and their right to demand them — something shops often overlook. GM can assist here with position statements on a range of collision repair issues available at www.genuinegmparts.com under the For Professionals tab. The statements can be shared with consumers to explain the sometimes stark differences in quality and safety between part sources.
In fact, the key to using more OE parts ultimately is a matter of getting the right information to decisionmakers at the most opportune times. Knowledge is power. By tapping into GM resources, shops can empower themselves and the folks paying the repair bill to select the superior quality parts that consistently provide the best repair experience and value. That’s the best deal for everyone.