Part 2: It’s about more than just cost.
Advances in parts procurement technology is not only designed to keep prices reasonable, it is also designed to boost efficiency in the repair process.
Yet by providing more options and having more parts suppliers and recyclers involved in the process, there is a concern that someone else might manage that piece, and the decision-making process could be pulled out of the shop owner’s hands.
“If it does, that’s a negative impact to profitability,” says Jeff Labanovich, General Manager, CARSTAR Canada. “As shop owners, we need that entrepreneur in us to ensure we can keep that profitability.”
After all, there’s more going into a parts selection process than just cost. “As an industry, we need to stay in front and say, ‘this is what’s behind the part selection that I made,’” says Labanovich. “We need to be demonstrating that, whether through proper research of OE repair procedures or negotiation, I can put this part on the vehicle because I can get it two days earlier.”
Parts procurement software has created a lot of competition and kept a realistic cap on prices, according to Jay Hayward, Vice President of Operations, CSN Collision Centres. “Companies have become much more sophisticated in their logistics programs and the way they deliver.”
For example, a shop can order a part from British Columbia and have it shipped to Ontario because the logistic system allows that part to be transferred in a reasonable amount of time at low cost. “There’s lots of progress being made,” says Hayward.
However, the rapid change in vehicle technology can make it a challenge to keep up. “The amount of training that’s required, the schematics on how a vehicle has to be built so that it functions properly, and then deciding on the vehicle part to use—getting that information right away is vital,” says Hayward.
Getting parts is one of the major delays that a shop can experience. “It can really bog down a shop’s efficiency or turnaround time,” says Hayward. “Making sure that the right part is there, so they can order the right part, have it delivered at the right amount of time at the right price is vital. It’s a big part of the cost of repair and a big impact on its speed.”
But parts procurement technology needs to evolve some more. With the availability of information and the education of all parties involved, identifying the proper way to repair a vehicle, and what is available to make those repairs, technology can help all parties know and understand the right thing to do in the most cost-effective way.
Hayward believes it will take co-operation, communication and education from all parties involved. “The OEM will play a very significant role in that they manufactured the vehicle, they put it together so that it keeps the driver safe,” says Hayward. “They have the starting point on it and are trying their best to share the information with everybody on how that vehicle continues to keep the driver safe,” he says. “They will definitely play a big role.”