Time to Change with the Times

June 30, 2017
New technology can change everything - it is time to adapt or be left behind.

The collision repair industry hasn’t seen any significant technological innovation in a decade.  Cycle times are too high. Every estimate requires the attention of multiple employees. Rekeying is a slow, inefficient, and largely inaccurate process. These—and many more—are problems that can be solved by technology. Those that prosper in this new age of collision repair will do so by embracing new simplifying, efficiency-driving technologies.

Don’t be a Dinosaur

Times they are a changin’.  A new breed of collision repair employees are coming into this industry.  They are tech-savvy, they can type, they have Gmail—not AOL— accounts, and they expect their tech tools to be at least as sophisticated as their iPhones. These workers, who represent the future of the industry, are open to the possibilities of technology and they are the ones who will be repairing the computers on wheels that we used to call automobiles.

Estify, which provides auto collision repair efficiency software and services, believes that the answers to some of the industry’s biggest tech problems lie with these new workers and their willingness to apply technology to longstanding problems.

“This industry is clearly starved for talent,” says Randy Adams, part of the senior management team at Estify. “We absolutely must give the younger generation the tools they needs to succeed, not the tools that were used by predecessors.”   

A Time for Change

The collision industry is plagued by imprecision, says Adams. For example, if you take a damaged vehicle to three different shops, you are most likely going to get three radically different estimates.

“I understand labor rates are different,” admits Adams. “But the procedures and parts are all over the map. It makes no sense at all and it is time for a change.”

Until now, the industry has been comfortable relying on the estimator or technician’s own knowledge to drive the repair process, says Adams.  As vehicles become rapidly more complex—particularly as the promise of autonomous cars looms—the industry desperately needs standard repair procedures. This need is echoed in requests from OEMs, who need to put the safest versions of their products on the road at all times.

“There’s a need for software solutions that will allow a less experienced technician, or even a non-technician, to write a perfectly correct and consistent repair plan,” Adams says. “The industry is dying for a solution to this.”

An Outsider's Perspective

A fresh perspective can go a long way in identifying and repairing broken processes. At Estify, 95 percent of the staff hails from outside the collision repair industry. Many staff members, including Adams, have a background in technology.

Before joining the Estify team, Adams was CTO at Adobe Systems where he helped invent the PDF and Acrobat systems. In addition to creating the first e-commerce site on the web, collaborating with Steve Jobs, co-founding FunnyorDie.com and initially funding and serving on the board of directors for Yahoo, he is helping revolutionize the collision repair industry.

“I believe that being an outsider [to the industry] allows you to approach things without any bias or preconceived notions,” Adams says. “You can look at everything fresh. It’s a problem that can have any solution. You’re not limited by what people have told you will work or what has been the practice for the last however many years.”

This willingness to take a fresh approach to age-old problems has helped Estify streamline the rekeying process and has made the young company an industry-leader in providing technology-based solutions.

A Winning Combination

A key differentiator for Estify, notes Adams, is the quality of its team. Adams is a recognized expert in software solutions, but he didn’t know much at all about the collision repair industry before he joined Estify. However, the combination of Adams’ strong technology background with CEO Rochelle Thielen’s deep industry expertise yields a recipe for success.

“Combining talent from different backgrounds gives Estify a unique team that can bring winning solutions to the collision repair industry’s problems,” Adams says.  

The Future of Collision Repair

Estify is paving the way for change in the industry with its diverse team by finding new solutions to problems that have been plaguing collision repairers for years. Estify’s fresh outlook will allow shops to thrive in this changing time.

Curious where Estify is headed next?  Join Estify and their OEM partners at NACE/Automechanika at booth 1759 to see what’s ahead!

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