From overseeing fleet expansion, vehicle administration, and drivers’ activities to handling car damage repairs, managing a fleet has never been easy. The job has become even more challenging due to constant developments within the automotive industry, which have made cars a lot more complicated to fix. When allocating repairs, fleet managers now also have to recognise whether or not a body repair shop is capable of repairing the damage in the first place.
This article, based on our whitepaper: 'How fleets can reduce costs by allocating repairs more accurately', explains why network assessment is important and what fleet managers should look for.
Inventorying the networks' capabilities
Every vehicle, damage, and fleet differs from one another, and repairs require a distinct approach. As a result, lots of body repair shops have started narrowing their focus by specialising and investing in training, equipment, and facilities. It is more essential than ever to be aware of the field of speciality and level of expertise of the repairers within a fleet’s network. By knowing and tapping into the network’s strengths and specialities, fleet managers can assess if repairers meet the fleet’s expectations and requirements.
Repairers who are specialised in certain materials, types of damage, repair methods, or makes can perform the repair more efficiently than those who are not. Moreover, a number of vehicles nowadays require only original replacement parts to support their functions, which are supplied exclusively to brand-certified repair shops. In such cases, it is best that fleet managers know where to allocate repairs to ensure the repair quality.
How to categorise repairers in the network
Managers can easily carry out the essential network assessment in two steps, provided that they receive assistance from technology.
Know your fleet
The first step of the evaluation requires fleet managers to identify their own fleet’s characteristics (such as size, number of vehicles, vehicle diversity, and location) and the fleet’s requirements for repairs (price, distance to repair shop, and availability). Managers can then compare these with the service offerings of the body repair shops in the network. If repairers meet these conditions, fleet managers could allocate each repair in a way that works best for their fleet and their business.
Gather knowledge of the network
The second step of this process is to identify and keep track of qualifications, specialties, and certifications within your repairer network. This can be done by contacting body repair shops directly, visiting the shop, and assessing their facilities through online information, and customers’ testimonials.
Look to technology
However, network assessment does not seem feasible without the help of technology. Especially for fleets that are either large, diverse, or active in multiple locations. With the integration of a digital repair handling solution, inventorying network capabilities is going to be much faster, easier, and can take the fleet’s requirements into account.
Fixico is an award-winning end-to-end car damage repair management platform. The Dutch tech company has handled over 250,000 repairs to date; works with over 2,000 body repair shops divided over six countries; and has more than 50 partners; ranging from local fleet-owners to big internationals, and companies that trust in claim or fleet management providers to handle their car damage repairs.