Texas shop owner Bobby Johnson wasn’t pulling any punches.
“Many of the people who keep telling us how we can improve the claims process, parts ordering, productivity (and) turn-around time… don’t know the first thing about how our shops operate or half the steps required to properly repair a damaged vehicle,” Johnson wrote. “It seems that many insurance companies — and some shops — have bought into the premise that one or another computer system will solve many or all problems. There is always one direct repair program or another telling shop owners that something will greatly expedite the claims handling process.
“All these promises sound great on paper or in panel discussions,” he added, “but they don’t do the repair work.”
You might think Johnson wrote this last week, perhaps related to any one of the insurance companies now requiring direct repair shops to use a particular online parts procurement system.
But Johnson actually wrote that in 1993, 20 years ago. Reading that may make it feel like very little changes in the industry. But in fact, there are many shifts and evolutions each year. As 2014 begins, here’s our annual preview of what to look for in the coming year.