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Shaping the future of car repair

How does digitalisation and smart matchmaking help you save time and costs?

Vehicles today are lighter, smarter and safer than ever before. Repairing these new vehicles has become an increasingly complicated undertaking, as they contain advanced technology that often requires specific training and tools for replacing or repairing parts. In addition, the automotive industry has been largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the direct consequences being raised prices due to inflation and a labour shortage, as well as fewer vehicles being produced due to a global chip shortage.

These challenges have made it more difficult for managers to replenish their fleets, requiring them to maintain their vehicles longer and leading to higher repair and maintenance costs. At the same time, businesses looking to electrify their fleet are also met with the challenge of managing a diverse fleet and finding suitable repairers for each vehicle.

Here are a few ways in which digitalisation and smart matchmaking can help you save time and costs while finding the best repair solution for every type of damage.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

While ADAS can be very useful in keeping drivers safe, repairing these systems are costly and nebulous to maintain. For example, a bumper can house a variety of ADAS equipment such as parking sensors, impact sensors and front radars. When any part that houses ADAS components needs repair, complicated procedures need to be respected. For example, when a front radar is reinstalled, an alignment will need to be performed as well as careful calibration to ensure that the ADAS functions safely and correctly. The extra steps in the repair process for vehicles equipped with ADAS will of course add to costs as well as the duration of repair.

Electric vehicles and lightweight materials

Today, EVs are more dependent on lightweight materials, often including ADAS, and they house an expensive (and potentially dangerous) battery. When damaged, they are costly to replace, as many batteries cannot be repaired locally. As a result, the total cycle time of repairing EVs is often longer compared to ICE vehicles, as it is harder to find a body repair shop certified to repair EVs.

Traditionally, a car’s bodywork used to be exclusively made of steel sheet metal. Now, each vehicle contains a different mixture of lightweight composite materials, such as high-strength steel and aluminium alloys. The costs of repairing or replacing lightweight materials are higher compared to iron or steel sheet metal. This is due to the relatively high raw material prices and manufacturing costs.

Original Equipment Manufacturing parts

OEMs are making exclusive components with every new edition they release. In doing so, they increase the need for repairers to use original (and more expensive) parts. Each vehicle is built to utilise a variety of materials and different technology. Even parts as small and seemingly universal as screws can vary. When repairing a relatively new vehicle, repairers can no longer rely on a third-party aftermarket part to fit the vehicle perfectly or be compatible with a potential ADAS.

Three ways to speed up the process and reduce costs

While it seems inevitable that the cycle times and costs of repairing advanced vehicles will continue to increase, fleets can look at new ways to optimise the process.

  1. Individual damage assessment and handling: The very first step in limiting cycle times is to assess and handle each damage individually, instead of treating all damages similarly. When handling car damage, fleet managers can benefit by knowing the technical specifications of the vehicles in their fleet.

    When managers start keeping track of the technical specifications of the vehicles in their fleet, they can better pre-assess each damage that comes in. Doing so enables them to have a better understanding of what is needed and allows them to allocate resources more quickly based on the needs of that specific repair.

  2. Identification of the suitable body repair shop: If managers know which body repair shop is most suitable for the job, the repair can be assigned more accurately and will often be completed faster. Repairers who are specialised in certain materials, types of damage, repair methods, or makes can perform the repair more efficiently than those who are not. In addition, there is much to gain when taking the availability of suitable repairers into account to narrow down the search for the right body repair shop further. In addition, OEM certified repair shops often have access to the procedures and diagnostic equipment necessary to perform repairs quickly and correctly.

  3. Automation and elimination of non-essential tasks: Leveraging the expertise in a repairer network and comparing different options is a great way to lower repair costs for fleets. But, as you can imagine, this can become quite challenging quickly, especially without the help of technology. By digitalising the repair handling process, fleets can streamline workflows and eliminate redundant tasks. With a suitable digital solution, managers can work more efficiently than ever before. Instead of spending time on back and forth phone calls or emails, everything can be communicated quickly, clearly, efficiently, and often with just a click of a button.

    At Fixico, we ensure that every repair ends up in a workshop that is not only best equipped to perform the repair but also has the optimal conditions. With the assistance of a comprehensive digital solution, managers can speed up the process tremendously.