In the first of a two-part series, we look at some of the benefits and strategies for integrating collision and mechanical repairs.
Competition in the automotive aftermarket space continues to grow at a steady pace, with collision repair facilities working hard to claim a rightful slice of the profit pie. In a move to combat this challenge, collision repair shops are now considering the possibilities of integrating mechanical repairs into their daily order of business.
Currently, the integration depends on how a particular shop chooses to handle repairs. A great advantage to integrating both collision and mechanical work is being able to offer more to the customer. “When the customer drops off a vehicle, the service advisor takes note of all the damage and shares the information with them. The technician can then perform the pre-scan and do a quick visual inspection noting if mechanical repairs not related to the accident need to be done. So, the facility can take care of the maintenance while the vehicle is being repaired,” explains Lorenzo Pellicciotta, President of CARSTAR Oakville West and Oakville East locations.
Benefits of integrating collision and mechanical repairs
A real benefit of integrating both sides of the business is being able to control the entire repair process. “Most of the time, when a vehicle has been in a collision, it requires a bit of mechanical work to be done,”
says Sylvain Séguin, Vice President of Operations at Fix Automotive Network.
He notes that in many cases, shops tend to sublet that work. “Integration allows for better control on quality and timing, especially because once they sublet the work, they have little say on how long it is going to take to perform repair,” says Séguin . “Keeping the work in-house helps tremendously in such circumstances.”
Concurring with this point, Dave Stretz, Chief Operating Officer at CARSTAR CMD Group in Calgary, notes that constantly subletting work places the repair facility at the mercy of the vendor. Integrating both sides of the repair process ensures that “within our network our mechanical shop has to prioritize the collision shops’ vehicles. The new opportunities this creates, results in more dollars kept for the collision repair facility.
Stretz’s business decided to open an independent mechanical shop that is close to 80 percent of its collision shops. Besides the reduction in cycle times, it has helped tin reducing the number of equipment purchases for six locations. “We now only have to have equipment such as tire machines, wheel aligners, presses, exhaust repairs, in one place.”
Next time, we look at overcoming challenges to make collision and mechanical integration successful and profitable for the long-term.