How has bodywork repair changed in the last ten years? As cars have evolved, the operations on them have become more complex, and as a result the work in the garage has changed. Not only from a mechanical point of view: this transformation has also affected paint and bodywork garages, as stated in a recent study. According to a recent research by Carglass® that involved 200 garages in their Italian network, the collision repair profession has changed significantly in the last decade: 87% of respondents, in fact, are convinced that there has been a profound change during that period. This survey also questioned the network members about the bodywork repair operations in the garage. According to the survey’s results, bumpers (front and rear, with 30% and 24% respectively) are the parts most often involved in automobile accidents and, as a result, the most susceptible to be repaired. After bumpers, we find doors, that account for 15% of repairs.
As a matter of fact, these automobile parts (front bumper, for 21% of respondents, and 14% for rear) are the ones that, together with front lights (13%) and structural parts such as cross bars and reinforcements (also for 13%) have registered a higher complexity of operations over time. A complexity that is linked to technological evolution and changes in the automobiles’ design.
And what is it that contributes, according to bodywork professionals, to this higher complexity? One of the aspects that has influenced the increase in the complexity of bodywork repairs has to do with the relationship with insurance companies, specially with the procedures linked to claims processing.
The network affiliates consulted in the study stated that the management of the insurance claims mentioned above has been the most influential phase in the increase in the level of complexity of repairs compared to the past (for 74%). After that, we can find “first contact with the client” and “automobile inspection” (for 58%) and the communication with the insurance agent/insurer and with claim specialist/police (for 51%).
It is precisely the improvement in the relationship with insurance companies that the associated garages continue to mention as a priority for the future. As a result, when asked about the three areas to invest in and focus on, respondents mention, in this order, communication with the insurance agent (for 17% of them), first contact with the client (14%) and practical management of the accident (13%).
Most complex work phases
On the other hand, regarding repair stages, the evolution of automobiles, which are becoming more and more technological, seems to have a significant impact on garage work. With these technological changes, 98% of respondents consider electronics to be the most complex phase of the repair, when compared to the past, followed by mechanics (for 91% of respondents), assembly (for 65%) and dismantling of the different components (60%). On the other hand, the most manual processes have been simplified, all of them related to bodywork repair, such as preparation (74%), finish (66%) and body repair (57%).
According to the survey’s results, bumpers (front and rear, with 30% and 24% respectively) are the parts most often involved in automobile accidents and, as a result, the most susceptible to be repaired.
However, in addition to having created new challenges in automobile repair, technology has also revolutionized the tools used, making them more and more important for the daily activities of the garage professional. In particular, the most important tools are diagnostic (for 96% of respondents), followed, to the same extent, by the color digital management bodywork-specific management systems (93%). Also, technical knowledge (materials, tools and equipment) and the overall management of the shop are key aspects, nowadays and in the past, in a profession where the garage to client relationship has a more decisive influence.
On this matter, when compared with contact channels from 10 years ago, for 46% of garages linked to Carglass® in Italy, clients (mostly men, 66%) show up at the garage, while 45% of them prefer to contact by phone, according to this study.
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