July 21, 2020—Aaron Schulenberg is well aware of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists' mission.
"Our job is to educate and inform," noted Schulenberg, SCRS' executive director. "We're not software developers."
That said, the organization also prides itself on identifying and solving issues for its members. And the organization's leaders feel they've accomplished that with their first foray into product development. SCRS' Blueprint Optimization Tool (BOT) application won a pair of awards at the 2019 SEMA Show, including a New Products Award, and has been available for sale since June. The product has been well-received by shop owners for the assistance it offers in areas such as the supplement process.
The product, made with assistance from NuGen IT, was largely created to help shops forge consistency during the estimating process. The origin of the new blueprint tool essentially dates back to 2009, Schulenberg noted, when SCRS launched its Guide to Complete Repair Planning document that noted non-included operations that shops might want to consider that are typically performed at the back of a facility; accomplished shop operators March Taylor and Toby Chess compiled that list.
Now, the BOT application serves as an automated, desktop form of that guide document.
The new software tool takes estimate input, runs it against an audit, and then creates a summary. From there, estimators can check the list and note any items they may have failed to note on their initial estimate.
"It's all about creating consistency within your business," Schulenberg said of the BOT. "It's customizable. If I'm a single location and I've got a single estimator, it's a great way to make sure they're not forgetting anything or leaving anything on the table."
For MSOs, the BOT can be set up to take into account the different types of work typically seen at each location, with a unique profile for each shop location.
The initial version of the BOT application is compatible with CCC estimates, but SCRS has plans to eventually add additional estimating platforms. Schulenberg also said that shops have found the new application helpful from a training standpoint, if they have employees that wish to learn estimating.
"The training issue, and developing a stronger 'bench' within your business," he said, "is just another added benefit."
The product can be utilized by shops for a monthly fee (click here for more information, and for weekly demos starting at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time on July 29).
"It's fair to say you'll continue to see development of the product," said Schulenberg," to make it stronger."