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Collision repair estimating for fleets

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No one wants a truck out of commission. It’s one thing when scheduled maintenance sidelines a truck—a good fleet manager is ready for that—but when a collision or unexpected mechanical breakdown puts a truck on the disabled list, it’s often a scramble to get that truck rolling again. Not every fleet operation has its own collision repair center; for those that do, a commercial electronic estimating and parts procurement system can efficiently speed up the back-on-the-road process.

Estimating systems are a standard in the automotive market, but few and far between in the fleet sector. Many shops use manual or “homegrown” systems to create and organize estimate information. Given a fleet’s need for accurate estimates, finding the right parts quickly and immediate repairs, a web-based commercial system should be of special interest to fleet managers, because the right system can help get disabled trucks working again as fast and efficiently as possible.

A professionally designed commercial system can be a better alternative than trying to adapt auto collision software for fleet requirements. Online commercial estimating systems produce accurate, detailed estimates based on a sophisticated database compiled from up-to-date truck parts and repair information. The right system will also have the functionality to help fleets with fast parts procurement and even assist in quickly resolving subrogation matters.

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With a commercial system, a fleet manager can:

  • Build and maintain a network of parts suppliers;
  • Send electronic parts price requests to multiple suppliers;
  • Track, receive and compare prices and part numbers submitted by suppliers;
  • Choose which parts to order, from multiple suppliers, based on price, margin and availability;
  • Import selected part pricing directly to the estimate;
  • Receive expected ship date responses for the parts orders.

In addition, it’s been found that users of commercial estimating programs have a higher percentage of collecting subrogation money because the program produces a concise and professional-looking estimate.

When considering collision software, a system should take the overall repair process and its costs into consideration, including the associated parts and labor needed for the repair. It can then estimate costs and locate, price and procure the needed parts.

In the case of PPG’s AdjustRite web-based platform, estimates can even be written and parts ordered from the field—wherever the truck is located and information can be accessed from desktops, laptops, smartphones or tablets.

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Once the estimate is complete and the required parts are identified, the program addresses parts procurement to help fleet customers with this major concern. Many fleets spend an inordinate amount of time trying to locate replacement parts. It typically takes several phone calls to chase down a part to include in a quote. Once the repair is ready to begin, the part may no longer be available and the search starts all over again. A commercial collision repair system can help mitigate this. For example, AdjustRite Parts Management is integrated with the overall system to streamline the parts acquisition task. It allows the estimator to search availability and prices for aftermarket, salvage, NTO and reconditioned parts in real time.

Any system you consider should leverage connectivity and the copious amounts of data available today to help support collision repair decisions. AdjustRite, for example, features the use of actual truck model information. The program has a comprehensive database with more than 100 heavy- and medium-duty truck makes and models. Since it’s web-based, it’s continuously updated with pertinent data.

For the well-managed fleet facility that is concerned with costs, efficiency and reducing truck downtime, an electronic commercial estimating system may well be worth investigating.

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This article was contributed by PPG.

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