Technology is now so tightly intertwined with how we live that it touches every aspect of our lives — including the vehicles we drive. For example, each year auto manufacturers equip new models with the latest in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), making it easier for drivers to stay safe on the road. But what do these (and other) technological advancements mean for the auto body repair shops that service these vehicles in the event of a collision?
If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that the futures of the collision repair industry and automotive technology are inextricably linked, making it crucial for shops to pay attention to emerging trends. Read on to learn more about how technology impacts collision repair, some of the top advancements to watch and what it all means for your body shop.
3 ways technology impacts the collision repair industry
Advancements in technology (automotive and otherwise) can have a wide range of effects on your collision repair business. Some of the most notable ways this takes shape include:
1. Improved efficiency
When it comes to keeping business operations efficient, the right software solutions can help your body shop run like a well-oiled machine.
Performance trackers measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cycle time; earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation (EBITDA); and technician efficiency, providing valuable data that you can use to make improvements to your business.
Management systems help keep your operations organized by producing daily sales reports, letting you know when jobs fall behind schedule, providing a time clock for your employees and much more.
Status websites enable customers to view the status of their car’s repair in real time using digital images of their vehicle as it goes through the process. This reduces the volume of incoming calls from customers looking for updates (and frees up valuable time for your employees).
2. Increased repair costs
With all the technology found in modern vehicles, today’s cars are more complex than ever. This translates to more expensive repairs as a result of the increase in the cost of the parts that support vehicles’ intelligent systems. How much are repair costs rising? According to CCC Intelligent Solutions, they’re increasing by an average of two to three percent year over year.
3. Reduced demand for repairs
It turns out that our cars’ safety features do their jobs well. CCC predicts that as more vehicles are equipped with ADAS, the frequency of accidents will decline, so much so that the company projects a 20-percent decrease by 2030. If these forecasts hold true, it’s possible that you could see a decrease in repair volume over the next ten years.
3 advancements and trends to watch
1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI has been a part of the automotive industry for years — safety nets such as lane-keep assist and automatic braking systems are evidence of this fact. For collision repair shops, however, AI is set to play a role that goes beyond understanding how to repair cars with these features.
The most likely scenarios involve AI acting as an additional tool for technicians to use, enabling them to assess damage and make repair recommendations more quickly as well as providing techs with the resources they need to become more effective problem solvers.
2. Electric vehicles (EVs)
By 2025, it’s estimated that every automaker in the U.S. will offer EVs as part of their lineup. With this increase in production, seeing EVs roll into the shop will become a more common occurrence. This means it will become essential for your technicians to understand the ins and outs of EV repair.
3. Virtual reality (VR) training programs
Collision repair techs are an aging cohort, and difficulty in recruiting a younger workforce is a common denominator across body shops. Some are turning to VR training programs to attract the next generation to the profession.
Additionally, VR training offers a cost-effective way to train technicians remotely. More often than not, traditional training methods require participants to travel, costing both time and money. VR programs allow for the same hands-on approach at a reduced cost.
What does this mean for body shops?
As technology advances, it’s important for repair shops to adapt to changes or risk getting passed over. But with the speed at which change is happening, keeping up can be a challenge. So, what can you do to stay up to date on the latest advances in automotive technology? AutoInc. suggests the following:
● Rely on savvy business practices
● Hire younger technicians
● Stay current on training
● Invest in new tools and upgraded OEM procedures
With the right combination of these techniques, your auto repair shop will be prepared to adapt to the changing collision repair landscape.