OEC Blog

Shop concern of the month: The tech shortage part 2

Shop concern of the month: The tech shortage part 2

In the first part, we talked about how the tech shortage came about. In this article, we will take a look at how the shortage will impact your parts business.

Let’s start out with some perspective on what your colleagues over in the Service department are dealing with. Even though 2017 marked the lowest level of recalls since 2013, there were still over 30 million affected vehicles that needed to be serviced¹. These fixes have been taking up a significant amount of their time, and this doesn’t include the normal wear and tear jobs as well as warranty work. Add on top of that a lack of techs, and it’s a huge issue.

If there was ever a time to look at time-saving process improvements in the Service Lane and at independent repair facilities, now is it. Keep in mind that a technician’s time is worth $3-$6 a minute². Finding solutions that shave off even a few minutes can have a huge impact on their car count and their bottom line.

How your parts department can help shops (and boost your part sales, too)

Now more than ever, your parts department needs to fulfill parts requests efficiently and effectively. Technology needs to become an essential part of your business in order to increase efficiencies.

Please – I beg you – get rid of the fax machine and push your team and customers to go online. It will be incredibly more efficient and eliminate numerous errors, and unnecessary back-and-forth calls trying to figure out which part is really needed. Food for thought: It’s significantly faster to hit a button on a computer than printing a diagram (hopefully the right diagram needed), dialing a number (that you are banking on is correct) and then waiting for a call to buy a part.

The parts needed will be ever-changing

Wear and tear will likely always stay a top fix for current vehicles on the road, but beyond that is a different story than we have seen. Electric cars – and I am not just talking all-electric cars – are becoming the norm. While Volvo made the historic statement that from 2019 on, all of their vehicles will have an electric motor³, all-electric cars won’t reach 10 percent of auto sales until 20254.

Think about the cars on the road today with keyless entry, start buttons and even WiFi. With all this wiring, something will short out, and vehicle owners are going to independent repair facilities for these repairs (don’t’ forget, 75 percent of repairs are done by shops5, not the service lane). These shops aren’t taking a lot of risk by installing electric aftermarket parts. In fact, Aftermarket Dynamics conducted a survey of more than 700 installers where a whopping 84 percent of repairers said they would go to a dealer for electronic power-assisted steering repairs. While you don’t think you can help – these short-staffed shops are coming to you – so make it easier for them to do so and get online.

¹National Highway Traffic safety Administration, 2017
²180 Business Solutions, 2017.
³Volvo, 2017.
4IHS Markit, 2018.
5ACA, 2018.