Across all industries, companies are increasingly looking at digital technologies to gain a competitive advantage. Digitalisation is reshaping many aspects of businesses by optimising processes and streamlining workflows. The adoption of digital technologies was further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as organisations looked for ways to continue their operations, improve efficiency and cut costs.

As a result, even companies who considered digital transformation a low priority before the pandemic now view it as vital strategic imperatives. According to a recent BakerMcKenzie report, 58% of organisations that had not yet begun a digital transformation program before COVID-19 hit have accelerated their digital plans after it did.

There is a real incentive for companies, including those who regularly handle car damage repairs, to digitally automate their processes to keep up with their competitors. However, digitalisation is not only a requirement to stay relevant, but also an excellent opportunity to improve efficiency and accuracy.

Digitalisation in fleet- and claim management

Digital tools are already widely used in various aspects of fleet- and claim management: telematics has allowed vehicle tracking and remote diagnostics for decades, while digital platforms have made vehicle scheduling and route planning considerably easier.

However, one area which has been mostly exempt from the benefits of digitalisation is car damage repair. Indeed, the repair handling process looks mostly the same today as it did 20 years ago, involving repeated manual communication between the parties involved in the form of emails and calls. Combined with increasing vehicle complexity and a lack of insight and control over the process, this traditional approach has become inefficient and costly.
In reality, there are already ways to handle car damage digitally and address many of the traditional damage handling problems. Not only does digital damage handling save cost and time, but it also improves driver satisfaction and provides insight into the process.

How digital car damage handling increases efficiency

Based on our experience handling car damage repairs for over 150 companies in six countries, we have compiled how digitalised car repair can improve efficiency.

Seamless communication

A digital damage repair platform allows all parties to access relevant information and communicate easily with each other within one cohesive environment. Instead of having to reach out manually to drivers and body repair shops, fleet- or claim managers receive constant updates about the repair process and are alerted if something needs their attention. Further, communication can be adapted to fit the manager’s workflow: updates can be delivered by any channel, such as phone, SMS, email or WhatsApp. All of these features combined reduce the time spent by managers on communication and coordination, allowing for faster and more cost-efficient repairs by minimising non-value-added activities.

Digital damage assessment

Instead of having to visit a body repair shop by default to get each car damage assessed physically, digitalisation enables drivers to experience a smooth and fully digital intake process. By uploading pictures and information about the damaged parts, advanced systems assess the damage digitally, and fleet- and claim managers receive comprehensive quotes within hours. By eliminating the need for a physical inspection, digital automation considerably reduces cycle time. For example, Fixico’s end-to-end platform reduced repair cycle times by 33% in 2020.

Optimal repair allocation

As cars get increasingly complex, with a variety of sensors and alternate propulsion systems, even a simple repair can need specific requirements from a body shop. For example, front bumper damage on a vehicle with autonomous technology requires particular skills from a body repair shop to ensure the sensors are checked and calibrated properly after the repair is completed.

Digital repair allocation can ensure that every damage is assigned only to repair shops capable of handling it. As such, it saves fleet- or claim managers the effort of having to search for suitable body repair shops manually within their network. It also prevents repair shops from having to outsource repairs they’re not equipped to handle, helping cut down the time spent in repair, and, as a result, the cost. Finally, digital allocation can maximise a workshop’s utilisation by scheduling repairs in otherwise quiet or empty times, resulting in an earlier availability and lower cost.

Insight

By aggregating all steps in the damage repair journey into a comprehensive digital ecosystem, fleet- and claim managers get full insight into the repair process. As such, managers have a clear view of cost, duration, availability and rating beforehand, and can optimise their choice of repair shop based on these criteria. Data from a digital platform can also assist in reporting, making it easier to monitor KPI progress and set accurate targets. Further, fleet- or claim managers can track driver satisfaction and easily see which parts of the process need improvement.

More than ever before, digital transformation is at the heart of many companies’ focus. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digitalisation and automation.

The digital transformation of damage repair handling offers substantial opportunities for improving efficiency and accuracy. Fixico’s end-to-end repair management platform empowers fleet- and claim managers to harness the potential of digital automation by streamlining communication, optimising damage assessment and repair allocation, and gaining insights into the journey.