At the SEMA Show in Las Vegas on November 1, 3M hosted an exclusive media event in which the company showcased its vision for the connected body shop.
Autosphere was among those invited and we got to witness a number of product demonstrations designed to improve shop efficiency and profitability.
3M took the opportunity to demonstrate its new RepairStack Performance Solutions, a new connected platform that’s designed to provide shop owners and managers with critical analytics related to shop performance, material usage and invoicing. Repair Stack combines both hardware and software solutions to optimize shop efficiency and performance, essentially creating a “digital backbone” for collision centre operations.
Following an initial beta testing period 3M officially launched RepairStack at the SEMA Show. At the time of this news story it was already available to U.S. customers and is slated to be made available to Canadian clients in 2023.
Because many collision centres today face challenges that include a reduction in gross profits due to labour shortages, increased complexity of repairs, decreasing parts discounts and increased replacement work; 3M says it is committed to helping them navigate through these challenges by providing innovative solutions like RepairStack that also provide the opportunity to find new ways of achieving efficiency, growth and profit.
3M is committed to providing innovative and differentiated solutions that enhance customer processes and profitability, and with 3M™ RepairStack™ Performance Solutions, the company is now pioneering the era of connected body shops to help businesses unlock opportunities for profit, efficiency and growth. Some key features include:
- Improved Distribution Efficiencies
With the 3M RepairStack Inventory Management Software, shop owners can easily manage their shop materials and maintain consistent inventory. The software tracks material usage by technician, shop, RO, and more, while also enabling automated re-ordering of products based on inventory stock levels and direct connection to preferred distributors. This tracking and auto-replenishment improves a shop’s inventory turns while reducing waste and emergency orders. Better managed inventories empower technician training and increased technician performance and satisfaction, allowing hands-on work to remain with the vehicles.
- Integrated Invoicing
3M RepairStack Billables Invoicing Software automates scanning and invoicing to ensure project procedures and materials are accounted for and billed. The software comes with a simple scan and assign process to add materials to press orders. Both 3M and non-3M materials can be added to repair orders so that payments are made for materials that are used. Shop owners can choose invoicing options that best fit their needs, whether that’s CRiMP, 3M RepairStack CRiMP 1.0, or 3M RepairStack Integrated Invoicing.
- Real-Time Performance Insights
The 3M RepairStack Performance Analytics Tool tracks shop performance, overall sales mix and materials, costs, and profits all in one place. The tool tracks labour, materials, costs, sales per tech and invoices. Robust data and reporting capabilities provide real-time snapshots of shop performance, and shop owners are given insights into opportunities for improvement. This allows shop owners to better understand gaps in throughput, identify areas for additional training support, and leverage real-time data to optimize their business.
Besides RepairStack, 3M also took the opportunity to showcase its Random Orbital Polishing System—the company’s newest paint finishing solution for automotive repair. The goal of any paint finishing process is to restore panels to their proper state—free of defects with a high-quality finish.
Based on decades of experience, 3M is aiming to change the mindset of how technicians approach paint finishing by introducing a random orbital polisher into the final stages of the collision repair process. Typically associated with detailing, but redesigned for the collision repair industry, 3M Perfect-It Random Orbital Polishing System is designed to help eliminate the dreaded swirl marks and other defects common with traditional rotary tools.
Often, when it comes to polishing and paint finishing, there is a fear of damaging the finish, such as burning through the paint surface which often results in costly re-works and more headaches for the shop. 3M says that the 3M Perfect-It system is designed to give technicians confidence so they can achieve a superior result without damaging the paint finish in the very final stages of the repair process.
In addition to RepairStack and the Perfect-It Random Orbital Polishing System, 3M also provided on-site demonstrations of its Performance Spray Gun. With many collision centres facing significant cost increases for paint, any material savings that can be gained are proving extremely advantageous. 3M’s Performance Spray Gun is designed to provide painters with superior transfer efficiency, meaning they can mix less paint than in the past but still deliver equal, if not better coverage. To illustrate just how much, Corey Munn, Global Paint Applications Segment Director, Automotive Aftermarkets Division at 3M and 3M Application Engineer Brady Haislet; performed a demonstration using water on test panels at the event, and the results were truly impressive. During actual tests at the Fraunhofer Institute of Technology, a leading third-party research organization, 3M’s Performance Spray Gun has shown to have the highest transfer efficiency of 78% versus any other leading HVLP traditional metal spray guns in the marketplace.
3M also took the opportunity at this special media presentation to showcase the advantages of its Total Automotive Sanding System that gives technicians and shop managers more control over the sanding process. Key advantages, as demonstrated by David Woods, 3M Global Business Development Manager, Commercial Vehicle and Marine, include significant dust reduction in the air, resulting in more efficient sanding, fewer reworks, shorter clean up time, more efficient material usage and improved health and safety.