Parts Delays Extending From Weeks to Months

Oct. 11, 2021

Parts back orders that once lasted days or weeks are now extending into weeks or months, according to shop owners.

FenderBender speaks with collision repair shop owners daily. A recent conversation with Jim and Michael Siegfried, owners of Crystal Lake Automotive in Lakeville, Minn., brought to light delays in the parts supply chain that are unheard of at the shop.“It seems like it’s been at its worst since the beginning of the year,” Michael said. “Sometimes the dealers just don’t know when parts are coming. In some cases it’s 4-5 months. We had to replace a seat cover when the airbag went off. It was five months for that."

Fortunately, the shop operates under lean principles, so it's typically able to secure parts in a timely manner.

“As soon as we find out what parts are needed, right away, the better off we are. Sometimes it’s a bumper, headlight, maybe a grill. It may not be a big structural part, it may be a small part, or plastic bumper brackets, but we’re having to wait weeks to months. Usually we could get the parts next day from just about anyone,” Jim said.

These days, Jim said the shop will send an email to the dealer requesting the list of desired parts and wait to see how many are on back order.

“They email back and say, ‘these are the parts on back order,' and they tell us how long out they’re on back order," he said. "Sometimes it’s unknown. We have had to implement back order sheets on our server. We would have one or two parts a month that would be on back order. We have 20-30 parts on back order right now. And a back order back then meant days or weeks, now it’s weeks or months. So the more efficient you can be, the better off you're going to be at getting that car repaired.”

Of course, collision repair shops across the country are facing similar struggles. CBS 17 out of Raleigh, N.C., checked with hometown body shop Coats Auto Body to learn more about the parts shortage locally with owner Tana Malerba, who also spoke of months-long delays on some parts.

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