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Repair Procedure Variability – Another Reason

Here is another take on why the 5 year period we are in now will continue to be chaotic. In this case, it has nothing to do with good or bad, right or wrong, but rather the complexity of matching reaction time and responsiveness between organizations of vastly different sizes.

A somewhat lazy business theme of the last 20 years is that small companies are virtuous because of their quickness and nimble responsiveness and large companies are less virtuous because they are slow to change and react. An argument can however be made that the differences in reaction time are not a matter of good or bad, but simply a function of size, or what you could call business physics.

A 20’ speedboat turns a lot quicker than an ocean freighter, but that does not make it a better vessel.

The collision repair facility that I own has 15 employees and a sales volume sufficient to support staff training and ongoing equipment upgrades. Well trained staff and good current equipment allow us to run a progressive modern operation. We are well versed with current protocols and processes and work well with all insurance companies.

Applying Next Accident Ready principles requires us to do work that is not currently covered by these, largely automated, protocols and processes. RFINA procedures that are required are introduced into the work flow and billing process through a very labor intensive way, with additional documentation, photographs and communication both within our operation and with our external clients (these are in most cases insurance companies.)

This extra work obviously takes more time and we have seen that as we work toward understanding and implementing these procedures there has been a negative effect on productivity and revenue.

We can see all this on a day to day basis, and we knew at the start of this transition that there would be costs associated with the transition. Our small size allows us to adjust immediately if we see that the costs have become too high or we see that something we are doing is not correct. This adaptability is not an indication that we are unusually talented, but is simply a function of size.

The insurance companies that we work with have far more than 15 employees and realistically has a very limited ability to manage claims and interactions outside of well established, standardized and in any cases automated processes.

This is not a knock on insurance companies, it is simply a matter of scale. As a vehicle owner this scale works for you because it allows the insurance company to sell you a policy at a manageable price.

Change is needed but for big companies this change cannot happen in a spontaneous way.  There will be key people within that large company who will have a very clear vison of the future but the changes needed to get there cannot be done without a lot of planning, training and the involvement of a lot of people.

If it does not work out as well as needed the change back is difficult and sometimes impossible.  That ocean freighter that is very much needed to move massive loads will not turn on a speedboat dime.

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