On April 6, the CCIF invited Paul Stella of Toyota to a virtual meeting to discuss the issue of missing body parts.
Paul Stella, Toyota’s Repair and Refinish Program Manager, began by explaining the context that impacts both body shops and consumers. The moderator of this meeting, Patrice Marcil, President of the CCIF, added that the consumer is faced with weeks, if not months, of waiting before being able to recover his or her vehicle because of the lack of parts to repair it.
“One look at the empty dealer lot shows that there is a supply problem throughout the industry,” says Stella. The impact of COVID two years ago and continued sanitation measures are still affecting the ability of plants to produce the parts we need. In addition, transportation logistics issues throughout the chain are far from resolved. As business picks up and consumers get their vehicles back on the road, demand is increasing at body shops. For body shops, missing parts obviously delay deliveries, fill up backlogged yards and lengthen courtesy car loans.”
Caution and judgment
When asked about temporary repairs or repairing parts instead of replacing them, Mr. Stella urges caution and judgment. “It may be possible to put a vehicle back on the road if it is performing normally and is safe. The key is to inform the customer and use good judgment. Obviously, for a logo or a molding, the customer can leave and come back later, but some people won’t want to take possession of their car until the repairs are complete.”
Stella invites body shops to carefully refer to the manufacturers’ repair processes. Some parts cannot be reused or repaired. He understands that in this context body shops may decide to repair some parts instead of waiting for new ones to reduce delays. “But you have to make sure it’s possible in the process and that the shop has the tools to do it.”
As Stella says, it’s impossible to predict when the supply chain will return to normal. In the meantime, it guides body shops toward good planning practices.
For example, he recommends rigorous disassembly of collision areas to ensure that all parts are ordered before work begins. He suggests that upon receipt of the part, a careful comparison with the part to be replaced should be made to ensure that it will fit properly on the body. He goes even further and recommends mounting the part before sending it to the paint room to make sure it will fit properly. An important tip, especially when you consider that suppliers usually refuse to take back a painted part. Mr. Stella also mentions that in order to reduce delays, the shop should quickly make an appointment with the dealer when outsourcing ADAS calibrations to him when he knows when he will need this service.
Finally, this specialist indicates that it is interesting for the body shop and its customer to check if there are any recalls on the vehicle on which it works. “If so, he can inform his customer, make an appointment with the dealer and do his customer a favor at the same time.”