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Repairer outlines problems with State Farm's parts bidding program

Friday, May 11, 2012 - 00:31
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The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) received a letter from one of its members outlining a long list of challenges the business has endured through State Farm's mandated parts bidding process.

The following essay was provided by a repair facility operating in one of State Farm’s test markets. It is a reflection of views formed while participating in the program.

Here is the unabridged, unedited account of this shop’s experience.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government [State Farm] and I’m here to help.’”-Ronald Reagan 1986. By paraphrasing President Reagan’s statement, we can all relate to what the newly mandated bidding program, PartsTrader, is going to mean to the collision industry.

How do you improve on a one-touch electronic upload to your vendor? Apparently State Farm thinks it has the answer in PartsTrader. The short and sweet version of our orientation speech prior to being forced to interject the PartsTrader bidding process into our business was “We are going to help you, the customer, and State Farm have a better experience during the course of the collision repair process with our new system of parts ordering”. How innocent sounding.

After dealing with insurance companies for decades I don’t think I have ever had such a sick feeling as at that moment.

Allegedly, State Farm is implementing this program because we as repairers are so incompetent at ordering parts that we need their help. This decision is obviously based on their vast and direct knowledge of ordering parts over the last 50 years, how to identify and cultivate strong relationships, knowing at all times what the best supply chains are, where to find alternative parts, who has the best service, who has the best quality, and the hundreds of other methodologies we have developed and integrated into our repair process to run efficient businesses, for our mutual customers.

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