Monthly archives of “December 2016

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End of Year Post

On Time, Clean and Tidy, Polite Staff, Great Communication  =  A Happy Owner

Below Average Severity (Cost)  =  A Happy Bill Payer

Efficient Repairs and a Good Profit Margin = A Happy Operations Manager

10s All Around!

Is the Car Safe and Next Accident Ready?  We Don’t Actually Measure that One

This site was started in July of this year based on the theme of vehicle owners being left out of the discussion of how their cars would be repaired now and in the near future. Very rapidly changing repair requirements were colliding with very entrenched out-of-date cultures within both the repair and insurance sides of the industry

What is Being Measured ?

One hot topic of the past few months has been the measurement of results, commonly referred to in the collision repair industry as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs.) In the insurer repairer world, the relationship is based almost completely on these numbers with the most important being customer satisfaction and anything that affects cost.

This July ,2016  article by John Huetter in RDN includes a very interesting video link that has since resurfaced in a number of other articles. Going back to my irreverent heading for this post ‘10s all around’ but something was definitely not right.

Who is Measuring Quality?

Quality of repair scores are based on the vehicle owner’s response. The problem is that the vehicle owner is not qualified to answer questions about safe and correct repairs. They only see the clean shiny painted result and have no way of knowing how the structural repairs, which are not easily visible in the completed vehicle, were done. They also do not realize that their car is being repaired in an unregulated environment with many different participants looking for a profit

Repairs will not get less complex and the answer will not be for consumers to become educated about the technical aspects of vehicle repair. The industry will have to mature to the point where the ability to perform safe repairs on modern vehicles becomes the minimum entry point for participants.

Finishing with my constant theme. We will get there but we are not there yet


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Certification – Another View a Week Later

I posted an article last week about Ford Certification and collision facility certification overall. That post led to further investigation and in keeping with the rapidly changing environment a rethinking of my position on certification.

The Canadian business and regulatory environment is very different from that in America, but there is a significant similarity in that both countries   regulate vehicle design and safety at the federal level with only licensing and minor functionality regulation at the state and provincial level. In both countries, the repair requirements of these federally regulated vehicles should therefore be the same across the country.

An ongoing theme in previous posts has been the complexity of today’s vehicles. Another theme, almost as strong, has been the challenges to good repair practice presented by the many profit seekers in the repair process.

This profit seeking behavior also has an effect on certification; either overtly, such as a for profit certification program, or more subtly, such as an equipment or service provider influencing decisions at a regional level.

While all participants in the repair industry are working toward making a fair profit, there are places where it is better for all if profit takes a back seat, with regulation and accreditation being an excellent example.

In Canada, the national nonprofit accreditation program CCIAP is perhaps the best chance for a program designed for overall industry health rather than specific profit. As a national program, it has a balanced national board that can consider and evaluate views and positions from across the country, keeping in mind that cars in Newfoundland are the same as the cars sold in BC and repairs have to be done the same way in all regions.

I will present one view here myself. Accreditation should focus on the correct and safe repair of vehicles preformed in a safe environment for the workers in the industry. This would include equipment, training, environmental concerns and individual employee licensing.

Issues of customer satisfaction and business style should be left to the marketplace. Customer satisfaction is not a valid measure of safety, as unsafe repairs are often completely invisible to the vehicle owner. The objective of accreditation is not to standardize the overall experience to the customer, but to provide a safe repair. With demonstrated ability to provide that safe repair as a base the business owner is free to participate in the market with whatever style they chose.


The repair industry is still unregulated, but complexity of vehicle design will require this lack of regulation to end. When it does end, regulation will come at a federal level, as does design regulation now. If these future regulators (who are not that many years in the future) see an accreditation program with national reach and acceptance, it is easy to imagine that the first steps before reinventing the wheel will be to engage the managers of that program in discussion about moving to mandatory accreditation and licensing.

There are many programs of industry self-regulation supported by enabling legislation and a unified voluntary start will ensure that the collision repair industry will stay strong and independent.

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Certification – Muddying the Waters

An announcement was made a few days ago in the trade papers that Ford Canada is launching a National Certified Shop Program. On the surface this sounds like a good step and it will give consumers a better chance of getting the right repair.

ford_focu_2012-1Ford has contracted Certified Collision Care to manage their accreditation program. This means that there is no discussion of the capabilities, service area or integrity of the repair facility until it has paid money to join Certified Collision Care, which is a private company that is trying to find a niche in the collision repair market.

This adds yet another profit seeking point to the industry. For a Ford certified shop these points now include at a minimum; Ford, the insurance company, Certified Collision Care, the shop owner, and the piece work technician on the floor. There is only so much efficiency to be found and with each additional player looking for their share the pressure builds.

This would still be manageable for a progressive well equipped shop if it were no more complicated than that.

However, the three major collision shop networks in Canada; CARSTAR Canada, CSN Collision Centres and Fix Auto Canada have all committed to the Canadian Collision Industry Accreditation Program (CCIAP) which has been developed by the non-profit Automotive Industry Association of Canada (AIA). While AIA is non-profit, the accreditation is not free and is a direct competitor to Certified Collision Care.

With the way it stands today if an operator wants to become part of the Ford program that operator has to sign on with Certified Collision Care and if they are part of the Fix, CSN or CARSTAR network they also have to join CCIAP.

Outside of the these networks if an independent shop is signed on with Certified Collison Care and one of the other OEMs takes the position that CCIAP is more in line with their requirements than is Certified Collision then the shop will also have to sign on with CCIAP. This probably does not make them a better facility but does add cost and administrative overhead.

I think that most vehicle owners would see two accreditations in one shop as a marketing move and both accreditations would be diminished in their view.

It will also not be difficult for insurance companies to pick and choose which parts of the certification program they will accept and what they will pay for. This is happening now with repair requirements presented by the manufacturers but not accepted by the insurance companies. There is nothing about a voluntary accreditation that would force them to change their thinking today.

Accreditation as it stands today is a move toward the right place that the industry will be in several years from now but it is not the immediate answer that the promoters present it as.

It continues to be very much an industry in transition. Those operators that will survive to see the hoped for future stability are paying a lot of attention today.

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Head in the Sand would be a Lot Easier

I have cited John Huetter of Repairer Driven News several times in the last few months and today I am linking an article from Nov 29th.

2017 Mazda CX-5 adds more ultra-high-strength steel to pillars, might demand calibration

John does an excellent job of providing information with a minimum of opinion. Understanding of facts should precede action and John is providing an overview of the facts that will form the basis of action.

John’s article is about a 2017 Mazda 5, which is another example of ‘just a car’; very nice but very affordable so a lot of them will be on the road.

The facts that are presented in the article, about vehicle structure and electronics imply that the correct action will be to pay careful attention to model specific structure and electronic systems.

The technology in this vehicle will not respond well to last year’s repair methods and metrics. The owner paying for his own repair will have trouble embracing the extra cost for needed safety factors that are invisible, the insurance company working with last year’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) based heavily on fast turn around and cost minimization will have trouble with it and the collision shop will have trouble with the cost of equipment and training.

However, using these outdated methods the car will still leave the repair shop looking and driving as it did before the accident and nobody is judged or held to account if safety factors have not been carefully considered.

Putting real effort into getting it right takes time and is expensive; it is a lot easier for participants to keep their heads in the sand and keep working to last year’s performance measures.