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Hot products for your shop in 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 07:00
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Among the more popular subjects discussed by the winners of the 2013 Top Shops contest was their investment in new tools, equipment and supplies for 2014. Since many of these shops are among the most financially successful in the nation, conventional wisdom might conclude that no expense would be too great and that these businesses would invest in the latest (and supposedly greatest) shop accessories to hit the market without a second thought.

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Conventional wisdom would be wrong here.

Successful shops, like any other successful business operating in this economy, are more cautious than ever when it comes to making purchases – large and small. They want more immediate returns on their investments. When it comes to the latest innovations, they demand compelling evidence they’ll receive sufficient ROI in a time range they’re comfortable with.

Along with financial reimbursement, they also look for other benefits – for example, products they believe allow them to push out a better product or that provide them with certain marketing or branding advantages.

Let’s take a look at some purchases your shop might want to consider in the coming year based on input from recent Top Shops winners, a repairer gunning to be a Top Shop and an industry expert. Here are seven potential purchases for your wish list – everything from new luxury items to products you use or order regularly.

The Matrix Wand, which locates hidden damage and can check repair specs, has plenty of fans in the industry. Some shops might find the cost prohibitive. Courtesy Matrix Electronic Measuring, Inc.

Digital measuring
A little over a year ago, ABRN Editorial Advisory Board member and industry advocate Toby Chess introduced readers to a product called the Matrix Wand, which uses photogrammetry technology to take digital images. It then uses these images to measure objects.

The Matrix Wand includes a special damage analysis software program that examines these images and the measurements to help shops uncover hidden damage during the estimating process.

Most shops do not write to setup and measure a vehicle unless their experience “sees” something that doesn’t look right. Modern vehicles are being manufactured with more energy-absorbing materials like high strength steels, carbon fiber and aluminum to name a few.  In the event of a collision, these vehicles do not move as much as mild steel vehicles, making panel distortion and frame damage more difficult to spot. 

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