Better Plans, Better Results

Autosphere » Collision » Better Plans, Better Results
Documenting every aspect of damage is essential. Photo Huw Evans

Detailed analysis and diligence are essential for successful repairs in today’s collision shop environment.

As the old saying goes, the better prepared you are, the more favourable the outcome is likely to be. In the modern collision shop environment, how well repair plans are organized and conducted has a major impact on the process and ultimately profitability.

The key to a good repair plan comes down to diligence and documentation. And it starts with proper disassembly of the vehicle, whether it’s non driveable or still able to move under its own power. While it can be more challenging to perform a complete dismantle on drivable vehicles, as Andrew Neufeld, Director of Operations; Collision Repair at Fix Network—Canada, notes, taking the time to carefully disassemble the car, performing pre-scans, removing bumper covers and inspecting it on a lift can help identify hidden damage.

Beyond the initial impact

Given the way most modern vehicles are designed, energy tends to be absorbed far beyond the collision contact area, which is why documentation and leveraging the capabilities of modern 3D mapping technology and scanning, helps identify the full extent of the repair required. Neufeld also stress that, “when possible, it is a good idea to get an alignment check done before starting any repairs to indicate any suspension damage.”

Domenic Prochilo, Chief Operations Officer at Simplicity Car Care, concurs and stresses the importance of consistency when conducting repair plans. “In order to utilize technology to improve the repair process, we as an industry need to be obsessed with accuracy,” he says. A case in point: “If we do not have a consistent method for disassembling a front end, (not removing upper/lower engine covers for example) then we will never get the proper under-hood measurements to communicate how much setup or pull time is required.”

Prochilo also notes that in many cases, given that more and more responsibility of the repair is falling on the shoulders of the collision centre, there is a greater need to focus on the so-called 80/20 rule—i.e. 80% of the shop’s success is the result of 20% of the processes it has in place. And that 20% often comes down to good estimating and repair planning.

More time, less risk

At CSN Elite, President & CEO, Wade Bartok explains that collision centres and other key stakeholders, including insurers need to understand that today’s repairs take longer because more detailed estimates and repair plans are required. The key is making sure there are no surprises, so that once the actual repair begins, there is less risk of supplements or backordered parts.

Bartok also stresses that clear, concise communication is essential, so that everybody involved in the process understands what’s required and that the shop gets paid properly for the work it performs. “We need to make sure the vehicle is repaired correctly according to OEM standards and make sure the insurer is able to correctly compensate for the repairs that are done.”

While Bartok acknowledges that supplements can never be eliminated entirely, as does Stu Klein, Director, Collision at AIA Canada, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of having to perform them. Klein says that process improvement is key to this, and it starts with adopting complete, consistent repair plans. He notes that complete repair plans “go beyond disassembly and should include items such as washing the vehicle, identifying pre-existing damage with the customer and having a complete and accurate First Notice of Loss (FNOL) process.” Additionally, identifying ADAS and calibration requirements and performing pre-pulls can go a long way in helping shop staff making the most informed decision as to how the actual repair is handled and which parts are replaced.

Staff responsibility

Another consideration is how staff members are allocated responsibility. “There is no replacement for experience,” says John Ascheman, Senior Application Engineer at 3M Automotive Aftermarket, yet he also notes that the same level of experience is not always needed for every part of the repair planning process. “The experience can start with front office and sales, and as one grows into the role, one will learn more about the repair process,” he says. Once individuals have a better understanding of these processes, they can work their way into a blueprinting role. He notes that by having less experienced people in the front office, it can free up time for more experienced people to handle the portions of the repair plan that take the most knowledge and expertise. “Locating and understanding OE procedures has gotten easier over the years,” he says, “and with more experience comes greater speed and efficiency.”



Chaput Automobile
Aesthetics Attendant
Chaput Automobile
Class 2 or 3 Mechanic - from $30 per hour based on experience
Porsche Rive-Sud
Internal Service Advisor
  Full time
Brossard chevrolet buick gmc
Service Advisor
Mazda Gabriel St-Laurent
  Full time

Popular Posts