…the pace of innovation across all industries, leading to the transformation of how business is conducted as technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), telematics, mobile and cloud are being adopted to help inform and speed processes, and combat challenges stemming from labor shortages, new consumer expectations and other market dynamics.”


The automotive repair industry is still struggling to find employees, Gotsch reported.


“Representatives from Universal Technical Institute predict a wave of retiring baby boomers will create 100,000 auto technician job openings over the next decade or so, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 4% decline in employment in the overall auto technician field through 2029,” she said. “Finding technicians with the right skillsets is also a growing challenge as vehicle complexity increases.”


Most collision repairers indicate the technician shortage has been the primary reason for longer backlogs of work. Repair work is up as auto accident frequency has risen. Many shops have indicated they cannot repair as many vehicles at the same time as they did before the pandemic, the Crash Course said.


While repairers are seeing an increased number of non-driveable DRP repairs relative to the preceding two years, both driveable and non-driveable repairs are taking longer, and repairer productivity is lower.


“Unfortunately, as repair costs climb, repairer productivity can sometimes suffer, customer satisfaction can fall and the likelihood that the customer needs to bring their vehicle back for additional work after repairs completed also increases,” Gotsch explained. “And it’s not just repair time that is taking longer. The time to get an appraisal has increased for traditional channels where the customer either is visited by an insurance staff appraiser or brings their vehicle in for a DRP appraisal.”

Ultimately, the key to combat higher costs is to improve productivity, Gotsch outlined.


“Unfortunately, new vehicle technology such as ADAS and EVs have added increased complexity and requirements for new skillsets, training and tools for the collision repair industry,” she said. “So, while the industry has demonstrated its resilience and ability to adapt to new vehicle technology over the years, adapting takes time, and today’s environment means…


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