Biz Tips March 2012

March Index Tech Tips Local News National News Biz Tips

Chrysler Announces Certified Collision Repair Facility Program

© CollisionWeek. All rights reserved. 201017751 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.

Chrysler Group LLC's Mopar Brand announced that enrollment is now open for the newly launched Chrysler Recognized Certified Collision Repair Facility program. This program, using the certification services of Assured Performance Network, allows dealers and independent collision repair facilities to meet the qualifications necessary to be recognized by Chrysler as a collision repair facility of choice for its Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat and Ram vehicle owners.

"We announced earlier this year that Mopar would be changing the entire ownership experience of our vehicles, and this program is another important step forward," said Tony Brenders, Vice President of Technical Service Operations, Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts, and customer care brand. "Working with Assured Performance Network, we will not only expand our repair capabilities across the U.S., we will also ensure that the work performed will be to the highest level of quality."

This new certification process consists of more than 40 key business standards including:

• Attaining and maintaining I-CAR Gold Class Professional shop status
• Owning and utilizing squeeze type resistance spot-welding equipment which duplicates the original assembly process
• Utilizing Chrysler-approved refinish materials
• Utilizing structural straightening equipment with three-dimensional measurements

Chrysler says the certified facilities will be distinguished by specific signage and customers will have their repairs performed with Chrysler-approved repair procedures and parts. IN addition, when repairs are completed with 100-percent OEM collision repair parts, a Write Certificate of Authenticity will be created for the customer's records. An update will also be made to the CARFAX vehicle report showing 100-percent OEM parts were used in the repair, and that a Chrysler Recognized Certified Collision Repair Facility made the repairs. This documentation helps preserve the post-collision value of the vehicle.

The program launches on March 26, 2012. Shops interested in beginning the certification process can visit Chrysler Certified Shop website for more details and program registration.

 

Follow These Tips To Protect Your Repair Shop

A recent article in ABRN discussed how shops can avoid being victims of credit card fraud, embezzlement and other scams. But I recently heard about a night-time business burglary in my area that served as a good reminder that not all crime we have to protect ourselves against is complex or sneaky. Sometimes it's just out-and-out theft from our buildings and lots surrounding our shops.

Here are some things you might want to consider to protect your property.

• Have a monitored alarm system, and install signage indicating that you do.

• Consider installing perimeter and interior surveillance cameras.

• Secure high-value tools in a locked cabinet or room. If someone is determined to get into your building, they probably will. That's why it makes sense to make it harder and more time-consuming for them to steal things once they're in. Consider putting your most expensive equipment in a locked room or chain-link cage, so there's one more thing a thief would have to go through to get to anything.

• Bolt top toolboxes to the bottom boxes. Top boxes are generally lighter and quicker to get away with. Having them attached to the bottom boxes can make them less of a theft target.

• Maintain an inventory of all equipment and tools – and have technicians do the same. Photographs of the inside of toolbox drawers can help as well in documenting a loss after a burglary.

• Set strict policies regarding customer vehicles. I remember some years ago reading about a "customer" who walked into a dealership service department and said he was there to pick up his car. The tech saw him go into the office and presumed he paid, so when he came back out, he let the man drive off with the vehicle – which, as you might have guessed, wasn't even his. No one should return keys to a customer without a thumbs-up from the office.

• Store keys in a locked box or safe separate from the vehicles and not in public view. Limiting access to keys to only a few employees is another good safeguard. Keys left in the ignition or vehicle – even for just short periods or overnight – make those vehicles an easy target.

• Secure your lot. You're probably aware of other shops that leave vehicles in unfenced lots. Making yours secure can be another selling point to customers or insurers. Our back lot (the only outside space where we store vehicles) has a 6-foot chain link fence topped with razor wire.

• Change your gate and door locks occasionally. Every few years as a precaution we change the keys for the padlocks on our gates and overhead roll-up doors, and recode the locks on exterior doors and the doors to our office.

• Install exterior lighting to make it more difficult for someone to be in your lot or break into your building without being seen.

• Remind employees that they should politely stop and question anyone who is in restricted areas or doesn't appear to have checked in with the office.

• Make sure your shop insurance has replacement coverage. Without it, you may only get reimbursed for a discounted amount if a theft occurs.

• Make sure your coverage is adequate as well. Particularly if you first bought your insurance policy years ago, it may not adequately cover the value of items you have subsequently added or improvements to the building. If the number or type (value) of the vehicles you tend to have onsite has changed, that can affect how much coverage you need. Review it annually.

• Understand what's covered and what's not. If one of your employee's toolboxes and tools are stolen, is that covered under your policy? Often it's not, because it may be considered their property. Discuss this with your agent.

• Think twice about buying second-hand goods from unknown sources. The industry only contributes to the problem when used tools and equipment are purchased when it's not clear the seller obtained those items legitimately. Don't get swept up by the idea of getting a great deal. You wouldn't want someone else benefiting from equipment stolen from your shop.
 

GM Fast Cash Rebate Processing Available on EstimateScrubber.com

© CollisionWeek. All rights reserved. 201017751 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.

VehicleOwnersGuide.com announced that collision repair users of its' online service EstimateScrubber.com can now process GM Fast Cash Rates.

The Fast-Cash program offers Visa gift cards loaded with the rebate values of the parts. A $15 per-part rebate is offered on eligible fascias, headlamp assemblies, bumpers, hoods, energy absorbers, bumper reinforcement bars, radiator core supports and tail lamp assemblies. The parts covered in the Fast-Cash program are eligible for a rebate whenever GM Parts are specified or replace aftermarket parts on a repair shop order of estimate.

"We are excited to be able to provide our collision repair users with the ability to easily submit an electronic Fast-Cash rebate claim to General Motors. Now when users come to review estimates or generate a consumer estimate they can also submit a Fast-Cash rebate on the GM vehicles they are repairing. While the rebate claims can still be mailed, faxed or emailed, sending a single electronic packet with the documents and matching dealer invoice-estimate lines makes processing the rebate easier and faster for the shop," said Steven Siessman, president of VehicleOwnersGuide.com

For more information on the GM rebate program visit the GM Parts Fast Cash website.

Industry Pans Paint, Materials Compensation Formula

Study shows repairers, suppliers, insurers dislike current system of calculating paint and materials compensation. According to the results of a new independent study, more than 9 out of 10 industry participants who were interviewed think the current system of calculating paint and materials compensation is a poor methodology.

The study, conducted by Richfield Associates, and commissioned by ComputerLogic, was based on interviews with collision industry professionals from every major industry segment. Of those participating, 64 respondents (94%), representing shops, insurers, suppliers and others, consider the current method used to compensate repairers for their paint and material usage "poor" methodology. The four remaining respondents described the current system as "adequate" or "good. The study showed that the dramatic rise in paint and materials costs over the last several years has far outpaced increases in average compensation rates.

Researcher Steven Lanza, Managing Partner with Richfield Associates, said, "Over 90 percent of the respondents felt that the current methodology being used is both a poor and antiquated methodology and that the variance between the cost increases and the paint and materials compensation is a growing concern." The study shows that while average paint and materials costs have risen over 50 percent since 2005, the average rates paid by insurers has risen only 23 percent.

Lanza said, "It's evident from the responses that this is a serious issue that needs to be approached for a couple reasons: the increasing divergence between rising materials costs and the lagging pace of compensation increases will only get worse, and it was pretty clear that the sheer number of hours spent negotiating over paint and materials compensation represents wasted time and energy that could possibly be eliminated from the repair process, which would ultimately benefit the consumer.

The company that commissioned the study, ComputerLogic, produces a paint and materials costing application, PMCLogic. Rick Palmer, president of ComputerLogic, explained, "There were two reasons I commissioned the study. I hoped to find out if paint and materials compensation is still an issue, is this something the industry should keep investing discussion time in; and, if this is still a problem, then what are we going to do about it?"

Clearly, Palmer believes the solution lies in the widespread adoption of a paint and materials calculators, like the one his company produces, but says the benefits of adopting such a solution are not just about raising compensation rates.

"One of our goals," Palmer says, "has been to turn something that's been a constant source of confrontation into more of a collaborative effort to drive efficiency. The hours wasted negotiating over reimbursement for paint and materials is something we should, and can, completely eliminate. The time savings for both shops and insurers would likely more than make up for any difference in the reimbursement calculations currently being used, for both shops and insurers, and in the end, both would at least know that the result is very fair and accurate."

Palmer added, "The benefits of a paint and materials management system, with an estimation calculator, include inventory control, job costing, and accurate invoicing, which often leads to reduced materials waste, even if a shop didn't get paid a penny more."

Palmer said the study results were not entirely surprising. "The results pretty much confirmed what I already knew, but what did surprise me was the high percentage of people who felt the current system needs to be changed. Before we did this study, I would have guessed maybe 60 percent thought the current system needed to be overhauled. But more than 90 percent was very surprising. The big question now is what do we do next?