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Understanding the bodyshop market

MBS bodyshop
If we are to capitalise on trade sales then we need to understand how the bodyshop buys its parts.
Here at atfPro we bang on about the potential growth in trade sales from the crash repair industry on a regular basis - why? Because it’s a £1.5bn market and we should be getting a much bigger slice than we are. In this article we look at how the bodyshop orders its parts.



95%+ of the bodyshops in the UK use a system known as Audatex. This may not be a system for ordering parts but it is a system that lets the bodyshop estimate how much a job is going to cost. It does loads more than this and there’s plenty of add on bits that lets the bodyshop do anything from costing smaller non-insurance jobs on an I-pad to giving full workshop assembly/disassembly info and fault finding.

So why should Audatex interest us? Simple really, Any benefits that can be made from using green parts need to show up when estimates are being calculated if there is to be any chance of them being used. After all, green parts can very often be the difference between a car getting repaired or not.

I know we keep harping on about what they do in the States (and we aren’t great believers that everything is bigger and better in the States) but when it comes to the use of green parts for crash repairs, their dismantlers are leaving us in the dust - and why? well, one key reason is that their bodyshops can cost a job using green parts, mainly because Audatex can cater for it and their insurers are confident in the standards system that the dismantler works to.

You might be surprised to know that Audatex can cater for it here too. It can readily make use of the ARA standards codes which we have talked about and encouraged in previous articles. But we don’t use them because dismantlers here still don’t see the benefit. That benefit is now staring us in the face.

It’s like this. We start working to the ARA standards (which MVDA have indicated to me will be adopted as the UK standard with very minor changes), Audatex can estimate based on a standard green parts pricing, your software, (both Pinnacle and DH systems are both already set up to include ARA codes) can handle this no problem, Audatex lets the bodyshop’s ordering system automatically pick up the data and send the request for parts directly to their list of recommended suppliers - and why shouldn’t that be you?

Nothing in life is this simple but there is an added twist to this story. Audatex is owned by Solera who also bought Pinnacle a couple of year’s back. Solera is engaged in the business of providing products and services to participants in vehicle-related processes, driver-related processes and other ancillary processes offering bodyshops total coverage when it comes to repairs. Their latest acquisition (a couple of months back) is CAP Automotive. CAP is a leading provider of real-time, high-accuracy valuations and specifications for new and used vehicles in the UK.

There’s also a new parts ordering and procurement platform being launched in the first quarter of 2015 to all of their bodyshop/repairer customers. This will be the only platform with OEM, OES, Aftermarket and Recycled parts.

I hope you agree with us that It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Solera would have bought Pinnacle. This is the link for them between the bodyshop and the dismantler. Both ends can handle the ARA coding system and Pinnacle can put together multiple stocks of users where required. All it needs is for the bodyshops to understand the coding system and what it means to them, and for the dismantler to be able supply to that system. This is a simple system - neither bodyshops or dismantlers need an excess of training to grasp it.

As I said previously, nothing is that simple and I know from speaking to people at Pinnacle who are working flat out to get European interchange fully effective, that things are moving. With an ever decreasing DIY market and eBay happily driving prices down, the potential of real sales from the £1.5 billion trade market should get your attention. If it does, then in the first instance, give Andy Latham a ring on 07710 877411 who can teach how to work to the standards, get your software set up so your parts are coded with it then start talking to other dismantlers with the same opinion. Then we can start to offer the market a uniform product they can rely on.

January 2015

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