Mike Anderson's 2018 Wishlist
Welcome to 2018. I know I’m not the first one to say that, and, hopefully, I’m not the first person that’s going to put a challenge out there for you. Really, my friends, we should all see the start of each year (really, the start of each and every day) as an opportunity to grow and improve.
This column, though, is for everyone—all of us, as an industry, together. Just as I’ve done the last several years with FenderBender, I give you my wishlist for the year.
- A universal authorization form for diagnostic scanning. I’ve mentioned this one before; you know that. It’s time we do something about it. As several lawsuits have proved, you need authorization to release scan data to a third party such as an insurance carrier. We need an authorization form all shops can utilize for consumers to sign. Someone has to get this done. It’s a great fit for one of our unifying organizations like the Collision Industry Conference or the Automotive Service Association to work on, but let’s all push for it.
- A new parts code. This is an oldie but a … well, not goodie; how about frustrating one? This is what happens right now: A shop price-matches but leaves the part as aftermarket (because of the price) in its system so it doesn’t affect the DRP agreement. Well, it stays in their system that way, but the actual cost for the business goes down as an OEM part. Now, the bookkeepers out there start pulling their hair out trying to organize it all. We need a new parts category that can cover this, and opt-OE isn’t the answer.
- Scanning as the norm. In my Who Pays for What survey, only about 78 percent of shops are doing post-repair scans, and that should be 100 percent. If we don’t scan it, there’s a huge liability there. According to the survey, shops say they don’t think that damage warranted it. Who died and made them the authority to determine if it needs it? If the OE says we need to weld it with a type of welder, we do it. Why isn’t scanning thought of the same way? Well, it’s time for insurers to quit saying no and start saying yes. It’s time for shops to understand and know they’re liable. It’s a matter of integrity and ethics.
- An industry without rekeying. The major IPs all have systems that allow you to upload an insurance appraisal to avoid rekeying, but insurance companies won’t let staff appraisers share those files. It’s just ludicrous that, in 2018, insurance companies won’t do things as simple as that to help us. More and more is put on an estimator. The solution for this problem has existed for 10-plus years … yet nothing’s changed.
- Telematics—who will be first? We’ve all seen the videos and stories showing someone getting in a wreck and the customer is referred to a collision repair facility through the vehicle’s telematics device. It’s not a question of if but when, and it’ll reward those facilities that have taken the time, invested the resources and dedicated themselves to OEM certifications.
- Speaking of OEMs, how about rewarding certified shops based on quality and CSI? Many shops do things the right away. I just spoke to a shop that walked away from a large DRP (and I mean, a large DRP) because this insurance company wouldn’t reimburse for scanning. It’d be nice for OEMs to reward those within their certified networks that do the right thing. And the others that don’t, kick them off.
- More shops need to research OEM repair procedures. It’s sad to me that less than 30 percent of shops research when preparing an estimate. That should happen every single time. If you’re not doing it, how are you sure you perform safe and quality repairs? That’s a rhetorical question, right? Shops need to learn how to research the repair procedures; then research to perform safe and quality repairs. This goes for insurers, too.
- A one-stop shopping list for OEM tool and training requirements. I’d guess that I get about 10–12 emails every month asking me where to get all the tool and training requirements for OEM programs, and how programs compare to one another. There needs to be one site that allows shops to assess what they need instead of basing it on hearsay of a salesman.
- OEMs raise standards for being certified. This one is simple: It’d be nice to see OEMs hold shops accountable and monitor the work the shops do. Start to put some meat in these programs so that a shop that is certified is the best of the best and it’s esteemed and valued.
- 3M in estimating systems. Well, not just 3M (it’s just the largest example) but it’s time that we have corrosion protection, seam sealers, etc. in our estimating systems. Most OEMs identify very specific items in their repair procedures. Why aren’t these products right in there, so that we can very easily select them in an estimate and make it more accurate? Ninety percent of all people who take my surveys wish that all their materials were in their estimating systems. Let’s make this happen.
There you have it, folks. These are 10 seemingly simple changes to make. Let’s get it done together.