At the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) open board meeting, a co-located event during NACE | CARS, the association’s board members updated the industry on their latest initiatives.
Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of SCRS, discussed the association’s recent expansive growth, the biggest they’ve ever seen, he said.
“The work we are doing is resonating with the industry,” he said. “They say, ‘We’re reading or looking at or seeing things SCRS is working on that are important to our business.’”
One thing Schulenburg said SCRS has been working on concerns EMS data. A shop owner reported to the association that one of his DRP partners told him they might have to drop him because customers’ data was being reported on VIN aggregation or accident reporting sites when estimates were uploaded. The sites were contacted and reported back that the info was not coming from either the insurer or shop.
“This illustrates the importance of BMS and the difference between EMS and BMS,” explained Schulenburg. “EMS are flat files that contain everything where you can’t pick and choose. There are many data pumps that are known to be on a system, but there are also many that are not known. There is no good way to identify what data pump is on there unless you’re highly technically skilled.”
Schulenburg says SCRS has talked with the information providers (CCC, Mitchell, Audatex) about a potential solution to remedy the problem.
“We’re going to continue looking at it,” he said. “Some of these pumps can reroute to some other directions, but it is a cautionary step and gives businesses a better understanding of how the flow of info works.”
The SCRS is also working with OEMs regarding alternative OE and “opt OE” parts that are showing up in estimating systems.
“What are shops going to get if they’re unfamiliar with these parts? Surplus outlet parts? Other shops have third-party suppliers popping up more and more offering OE parts that may not be authorized OE suppliers. A shop, when it orders an OE part, wants to know it’s getting an OE part that was made in this country.”
Because of pressure placed on the parts supply market and shops’ list prices being discounted, parts are being relabeled alternative OE or opt OE to place downward pressure on the market to adjust pricing, Schulenburg explained.
“Estimating systems are allowing more and more suppliers to integrate with their system, and there are not unique identifiers to help us understand alternative parts or discounted OE parts or remanufactured parts or whatever. All categories are in this opt OE category, so we are working to define the parameters of that.”
Yet another issue SCRS has been alerted to by some of its members is the increasing misuse of the “bumper prompt” to take overlap deductions when refinishing bumpers found in estimating systems. The association has reached out to CCC, which has helped to reach out to insurers they’re seeing the rising occurrence from. SCRS is trying to reiterate to them the proper use of the bumper prompt, and is emphasizing to its membership that examples are key.
“Where we have been able to produce specific examples of how it’s being misused, we have seen good results from the carriers,” Schulenburg said. “The more our membership can give us examples, the better we can find a resolution – because when to select ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the bumper prompt is only intended for special circumstances.”
Lastly, Schulenburg touched on feather, prime and block and the accomplishment of getting an automated feather, prime and block option in one information provider’s estimating system.
“This is a huge step forward for the industry,” said Schulenburg, “although there are still some issues.”
Schulenburg encouraged collision repairers to submit any issues they’re having with database times to the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) at www.degweb.org. SCRS has started sending weekly updates on dilemmas it is solving via the DEG.