The pandemic has brought considerable changes to how businesses operate. Many had to adapt quickly and focus on optimising efficiency. Efforts to digitalise the existing operations have increased tremendously, with more and more companies embracing and benefiting from digital solutions.

Car damage repair management is no exception, as there are many steps in the repair journey that can be accelerated and simplified with the help of digitalisation. According to Fixico’s data, companies that have automated their car damage handling in the past year were able to decrease repair costs by 29% and cycle time by 33%.

​​“The changes caused by COVID-19 have intensified the focus on efficiency, as many businesses look to optimise their operations. Having worked with our partners throughout the pandemic, we have witnessed how a digital solution can improve time- and cost-efficiency, access to data, and enhance the driver experience," said Mark van Laar, COO and co-founder of Fixico.

Based on our experience of digitalising damage handling for over 150 fleet, lease, insurance, and rental partners, we have narrowed down the 5 most important focus areas for managers dealing with car damage repairs, and what solutions digitalisation brings.

This article, based on our whitepaper "How digital automation transforms car damage repair", explores how digitalisation can improve the repair management process and reduce repair costs.

1. Being time-efficient

As the pandemic has put more pressure to optimise operations, being time-efficient is at the top of the list. The formula is simple; less time spent on an important, yet mundane task, means time to get more work done. Managers dealing with repairs agree - 81% state that operational efficiency would increase if more processes were automated and digitalised.

Manually calling and emailing back and forth with drivers and body repair shops to get the damage assessed, acquiring an accurate price estimate, and arranging the repair under the best possible conditions is tiresome. By digitalising the entire car damage repair handling process, efficiency can improve tremendously. Every step in the process can be simplified, automated and streamlined.

And the time-saving benefits for managers go way beyond just the elimination of the manual intake process or reducing the number of phone calls and emails. Today, technology has been developed to the point where most car damage can be assessed accurately through photos. Next to this, important vehicle information is available at the touch of a button. It can be included in the damage assessment, eliminating the need for a physical inspection even further. By digitally pre-assessing each damage, managers can better decide where to allocate the repair and save even more time.

2. Optimising costs

With work from home orders and travel restrictions leading to a decrease in vehicle usage, many companies dealing with fleet management have had an economically turbulent year. This has made optimising the expenses even more important than it already was. For managers, it is crucial to find a body repair shop that will provide the most economically suitable solution for the repair of the vehicle, and limit the indirect cost spent on handling the repair.

Traditionally, repair prices and durations are vague, making it hard to control direct costs, and since the process is time-consuming, dealing with high indirect costs is usually inevitable. With the help of digitalisation, managers can clearly oversee all important details and make better decisions. For example, they can compare price estimates beforehand and consider more criteria to ensure optimal prices and conditions. And due to a digitally streamlined process, repair handling is less labour-intensive and complicated, lowering indirect costs.

3. Having automated reporting

While the pandemic has brought changes to many areas, it is vital for managers to be able to see the full picture of their operations. Reporting is an integral part of any manager’s responsibilities, as it helps them analyse their operational results, look for new ways of improvement, and create new goals. But quite often, creating these reports can be a laborious task. Of course, it can be done with the help of tools such as Excel. But it limits the reporting data, quickly becomes outdated, requires a lot of manual input, and is prone to human error. Moreover, manual reporting does not provide real-time insight into the repair, which restricts the possibility of the manager making accurate decisions.

Periodic reports give managers the opportunity to see the full picture of the state of affairs at any time. For example, how much did they reduce cycle times this week; optimise repair costs this month; or what needs to be adjusted to ensure the maximum efficiency of repair handling this year.

4. Keeping track of every repair with real-time data

Because of work from home recommendations across the world, many managers have been handling car damage repairs completely remotely. This has often made it more challenging to keep track of repairs and ensure that all predetermined conditions are met, especially when there are multiple vehicles in repair, with diverse characteristics, across different areas of a country.

Traditionally, managers have to reach out to body repair shops and drivers to request an update. Manual communication often leads to miscommunication, and at the very least, it takes up lots of valuable time for everyone involved.

But with a proper digital solution in place, communication between manager, driver, and body repair shop can be streamlined digitally. For instance, as soon as the vehicle proceeds to the next stage of the repair process, the manager can automatically receive an update. These updates can be sent out through multiple devices and channels such as email, SMS, WhatsApp. By having access to real-time status updates, managers can rest assured that everything is going according to plan, intervene when necessary and make sure the repair is handled adequately.

5. Meeting drivers' expectations

The rapid growth of digitalisation, also influenced by quarantine and remote work, has raised the bar in customer service across all industries. Nowadays, drivers expect nothing less than a seamless repair journey, an individualised approach, a convenient solution, and all health safety regulations being kept.

Digitalisation offers a plethora of opportunities to increase driver satisfaction. Technology gives managers the ability to treat drivers as individuals - empower them to have more control over their repair and simplify the entire repair process, from arranging a damage intake to scheduling a repair to gathering feedback.

Digitalisation improves a variety of focus areas that managers and companies have when dealing with car damage repairs. Fixico’s repair management platform provides managers with tools to focus on important areas of car damage repair handling.

In addition, digitalisation enables accurate real-time insights, detailed reporting and offers an easy way for managers to stay in control throughout the process. Request a free demo and unlock the potential of digitalisation for your business.