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The Collision Industry Conference Database Task Force (DTF) recently expressed its displeasure over CCC’s reintroduction of the "Bumper Refinish Prompt" in its Pathways 4.5 release, saying it was "shocked" and "disheartened," considering the many years it took to convince CCC that the bumper refinish prompt in its estimating system was in direct conflict with paint manufacturer-approved refinish procedures.
“Interestingly, after literally years of discussions and the Task Force providing documentation, coordinating meetings with all the paint manufacturers, as well as providing accolades publicly for CCC ‘doing the right thing,’ they elected to ‘forget’ to discuss the change in direction with the Database Task Force prior to implementing the change,” the statement from the DTF read.
The DTF cited a statement read by CCC representative Bruce Yungkans at a Collision Industry Conference meeting at NACE 2007 as evidence of CCC’s commitment to the change: “Based on some documented and very compelling and convincing new information to us, we’ve been able to determine unequivocally that…refinishing non-metallic bumpers require use of a material that is not recommended on the rest of the vehicle.”
CCC did remove the bumper refinish prompt in its March 2008 software release, but reintroduced it in the new Pathways 4.5 release.
A statement from CCC supporting its decision reads, “Information from paint manufacturers and industry experts indicate that bumpers and other panels can be refinished in a continuous process, resulting in a quality repair. The logic used in Pathways reflects the basic refinish rules outlined in the Motor Guide to Estimating, where the refinish times for bumpers are based on the items being refinished prior to installation off the vehicle. With that in mind, Pathways will deduct no more than a ‘non-adjacent’ overlap from the refinish time allowance, even when bumpers are refinished in the same continuous process with the rest of the vehicle. No overlap deduction is taken where bumpers are refinished in a separate process.”
CCC Senior Vice President and General Manager of Automotive Markets Jim Dickens said this week that company research showed that some repairers still prefer to refinish bumpers in a continuous process, so for the sake of accuracy, the company made the prompt optional for Pathways 4.5 users. Dickens added that users of the latest version of Pathways will not encounter the prompt unless they choose to.
“We didn’t turn the prompt back on. What we did was, we made it an option for those who were [refinishing bumpers] in a continuous process to be able to configure their system so they could utilize the prompt to reflect their refinish process,” Dickens said. “[Pathways is] evolving. I’m arguing against the idea that we reinstituted the prompt as it was before. We didn’t do that. If you get the software, nothing will happen. The prompt will not be there unless you consciously go in and turn it back on.”
The DTF said that CCC provided it with documentation on Dec. 16 to support its reintroduction of the bumper refinish prompt. According to the DTF, this documentation consisted of excerpts from trade publications, paint manufacturer marketing materials and e-mails to and from paint manufacturer representatives. However, the DTF said that these documents did not adequately justify CCC’s decision and “paled in comparison to the ironclad and unequivocal documentation that the Database Task Force had to furnish to CCC to remove the prompt.”
“In fact, the majority of the documentation references the ability to utilize the same refinish products,” the DTF’s statement read. “However, it did not specifically address the need for additives or additional processes in order to properly use the products on flexible substrates.
“Most disturbing is the apparent fact that the paint manufacturers were first formally contacted on this issue just this month (December), while the decision to reintroduce the refinish prompt was made as early as September of this year. One can’t help but conclude that CCC made the decision first, and then later, only after being challenged, unsuccessfully attempted to generate and furnish documentation supporting the decision.”
Dickens emphasized that to build its products, CCC constantly researches and analyzes information from several sources repairers, insurers, manufacturers, research organizations and other groups such as the DTF and said that the decision to make the prompt available was carefully thought out. Dickens believes concern over the prompt’s availability goes beyond whether the refinish process in question is a sound practice.
“By making the prompt available again, there is the opportunity for people to get paid less time, and that’s what’s upsetting because there’s a worry that people could get paid less, and I think that’s the core of the issue,” Dickens said. “Our stance is, we try to make the product as accurate as we can. We advocate that the estimate should reflect the process used for repair, and we only advocate processes that produce a high quality repair.”
The DTF’s statement concluded by saying that “this type of biased alteration to the system without justification from manufacturer recommendation is exactly the type of activity that causes the industry to question the accuracy of the databases as well as the motivation of those responsible for these decisions.”
Dickens, who declined to specifically address the DTF’s statement, maintained that CCC was not biased in its decision to reintroduce the prompt and that any allegation that insurers or any other group was given unfair consideration in making the change is false. He added that company policy dictates that products are tested by a core group of users several months before being released and that several users, including repairers and insurers, had access to the software before its release.
The DTF is comprised of representatives from the Association of Automotive Service Providers, the Automotive Service Association and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists. For more information on the DTF, click HERE.
For more information about CCC, visit www.cccis.com.