The body shop Ill. Uses dedicated “ yard technology ” to research OEM repair procedures
Body shop could benefit from dedicated ‘yard technology’ to research OEM repair procedures, based on a presentation last week by an Illinois repairer and consultant familiar with the concept
Body Builders Auto General Manager Joe Phillippi and consultant Maria Quintero, head of IQ Resolutions examples, discussed the specialist role during an Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois webinar focused on certification.
However, given the presenters’ suggestion that the position favors what should be industry-wide quality repair goals, uncertified shops might also wish to consider the idea.
Phillippi said there is an industry misconception that a workshop always properly repairs vehicles because it is certified.
“It’s a learning curve,” said Phillippi, whose Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based workshop is certified for Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Stellantis (the new FCA), Subaru and Tesla. “There is a giant learning curve to this.”
Phillippi said a store should also plan to implement a process to properly repair the vehicle.
A “big cost” involves paying a person to figure out how to properly repair a vehicle, he said.
“Equipment is one thing,” Phillippi said. But you also need that human researcher, he said, describing the job as providing information like the correct installation of a quarter panel or the measurement of a steering column after a crash.
Determining all necessary operations, invoicing them and documenting them is the opportunity for the repairer to realize a return on investment, said Phillippi. But it’s probably something repairers aren’t ready to fix, he said.
“I know we were definitely not prepared for this,” Phillippi said. He described bodybuilders getting certified, then wondering, “What now?” How could he be sure that he was properly repairing vehicles, documenting them, etc.
Quintero, who spent two decades at Body Builders and served as a financial controller at O’Hare Auto Body, said she was present when Phillippi’s shop hired their repair procedures specialist. Bodybuilders called the staff a “yard technician,” whose job it was to research and document a suitable repair and provide the technician and estimator with the information needed to properly repair and estimate the car.
Establishing that role “has made a huge difference,” Quintero said. However, it had an “element of cost” – the store has to generate enough revenue to make up for it, she said.
But “it’s so huge” in terms of importance, according to Quintero. She said an estimator didn’t have the time to handle both the estimate and the research themselves. Creating yard technology was “such a smart thing they did it,” she said of Body Builders.
Most repairers don’t think about it, although the concept is becoming more and more common, she said. She praised Phillippi’s foresight for realizing three years ago that the store would need such an employee “because it’s so overwhelming.”
Another question to consider: “Where do you do this?” Said Phillippi. At what point, from admission to teardown to waiting for parts, would that person be looking for those repair procedures, he asked.
Originally, the yard technician looked at the repair manuals before the estimate and looked for what was visible at the time, Phillippi said. But he likened it to “taking pictures in the dark” and said the process “created a lot of garbage.”
The bodybuilders concluded that it was best to have the estimator write up a sheet and then send the yard technician to “clean up your estimate of all the operations to be done on this car.”
Phillippi described the store process as follows. The customer drops off the vehicle during check-in. Body Builders pre-scans it, the scan falls into the file, and documents the vehicle before sending it to the estimator. Phillippi said the shop is aiming for a 100% teardown, although “we’re not perfect,” the estimator writing as the technician dismantles the car.
“A little simultaneously,” the yard technician can research the “basics,” he says.
Once the estimate is complete, the store will “clean” it for other operations, according to Phillippi.
He gave the example of a repair involving a quarter panel, replacing a wheel and performing suspension work. The estimate would be “cleaned up” to determine such factors as what other parts to purchase or other necessary procedures, such as resetting the steering angle sensor or calibrating the camera.
The vehicle would go into production, with a technician repairing the vehicle receiving a printout of the repair procedures, Phillippi said. He said it was important to double-check that the OEM did not change the repair procedure between the time the document was printed and the time the technician began the repair. Body Builders has seen such changes in Tesla and Ford repair procedures, according to Phillippi.
The workshop will perform a subsequent scan of the vehicle after a repair – and scans may occur multiple times during a repair, he said. After the post-scan, the vehicle would be sent for all required calibrations.
“AASPI Webinar: OEM Compliance Tips”
Illinois Auto Service Providers Alliance YouTube Channel, February 23, 2021
I-CAR Repairability Technical Support Portal to OEM Repair Procedures Websites
Featured Image: An auto body shop could benefit from a dedicated staff member to research OEM repair procedures, based on a presentation on February 23, 2021, by an Illinois repairer and consultant familiar with the concept. Body Builders Auto General Manager Joe Phillippi and consultant Maria Quintero, head of IQ Resolutions examples, discussed the specialist role during an Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois webinar focused on certification. (Dilen_ua / iStock)