Vehicle Repair Delays: The challenges currently facing the industry
June 13, 2023

As you may be aware, the vehicle repair industry is currently experiencing delays due to industry-wide challenges.

Here we discuss the challenges currently faced by the motor repair industry, and the measures being taken to mitigate them.

Why are vehicle repairs taking longer than usual?

Industry-wide challenges are leading to delays in the time it takes for vehicle repairs to be completed. These include:

Reduced availability of repair capacity

The COVID-19 pandemic saw many bodyshops close their doors permanently. The industry is yet to recover from this loss of service coverage, leaving repair centres at constant full capacity, or exceeding it in many areas.

This means it can take longer for insurers to source a repairer with capacity to take on your vehicle, leading to delays in the process.

Global supply chain challenges

The global parts market is experiencing severe supply disruptions, affecting every corner of the automotive industry. Parts that were previously widely available can now take weeks to arrive.

This means that many vehicles are left waiting in bodyshops until the right parts become available, further congesting capacity for new repairs.

What happens if my vehicle repair is delayed?

If your vehicle repair is facing delays, and it isn’t safe to drive, it will usually be kept on-site at a repair centre until the necessary work can be completed.

Your insurer/repairer should keep you informed for the duration of your repair, letting you know where your vehicle sits in the process, and the reasons behind any delays.

We believe that transparency is the best approach to alleviate the pressures customers face when waiting for their repair. Our team are committed to keeping our customers updated throughout the repair process, and being open about any delays we are experiencing.

How is the industry working to reduce repair delays?

Activate Accident Repair Bodyshop - Increasing capacity to combat industry-wide vehicle repair delays

Despite the immense pressures currently faced by the industry, repairers, insurers and accident management specialist like us are taking measures to alleviate capacity and supply chain challenges, and reduce delays for their customers. These include:

#1 – Increasing capacity in high-demand areas

Many repairers are seeking to increase their capacity in areas most affected by delays. This includes opening new bodyshops, hiring and training repair technicians, and renovating existing sites to increase capacity.

Through our parent company Activate Group, we’re investing in state-of-the-art Activate Accident Repair centres throughout the UK. We’re also constantly expanding our partnerships with UK repairers, increasing the availability of repair slots for our customers.

#2 – Promoting a right-first-time approach to service deployment

Taking a ‘right-first-time’ approach to service deployment ensures that repair requirements are fully understood before a vehicle arrives on site. This helps to avoid any further delays to the vehicle’s repair, mitigating the current challenges.

Insurers are implementing new solutions to solidify this approach, including applications which allow customers to capture and upload images of vehicle damage to be inspected remotely. This allows repair requirements to be determined more quickly, and the appropriate services to be prepared.

#3 – Harnessing mobile repair where possible

Mobile repair is becoming an effective solution for less complex repairs, such as dents, scrapes, and scratches. Using mobile repairers for these smaller jobs will help to reduce the number of vehicles on site at repair centres, alleviating capacity challenges to some extent.

It also means repairs can be arranged at a time and place that best suits the customer – such as on their driveway, or at their place of work.

This approach relies on ‘right-first-time’ service deployment. By understanding repair requirements from the beginning, certain jobs can be allocated to mobile technicians. This means that smaller repairs can be completed more quickly, getting these customers back on the road with fewer delays.

#4 – Investing in the latest repair technology

Repairers are expanding their toolkits to include the latest repair technologies, allowing for more complex jobs to be conducted on-site, rather than relying on manufacturers.

This includes facilities for ADAS software recalibration, which is necessary after most vehicle repairs, as well as catering for EV/Hybrid vehicles with more advanced repair requirements.

Our repair network is built to cater for these more complex repairs, with on-site facilities for EV/Hybrid repair, as well as ADAS recalibration. This allows us to minimise delays in conducting more technical fixes, reducing waiting times for certain jobs.

#5 – Building the right supply chain partnerships

With the current challenges affecting parts supply chains, repairers are looking to expand their partnerships to minimise delays. This includes forming direct relationships with manufacturers, as well as aligning supply with demand for certain parts and components.

Activate Group houses its own parts aggregator, Activate Parts, giving our network access to the parts they need more quickly. While this may not counter delays in parts manufacturing, it does make it easier to source parts from a full range of suppliers, including through second-hand or green supply chains.

This is effective in reducing waiting times for certain parts, facilitating faster turnaround for some repairs.

In Summary: Vehicle Repair Delays

Global supply chain challenges, combined with reduced repairer capacity, are leading to severe delays in the vehicle repair process.

This means customers may often be left without their vehicle after an incident, and may find it difficult to source a replacement or courtesy car.

While these challenges continue, the industry is taking measures to combat the effect they have at service level. These include:

  • Increasing capacity in high-demand areas, such as investing in new bodyshops
  • Promoting a right-first-time approach to understanding repair requirements
  • Harnessing mobile repair technicians for smaller fixes, like scrapes, dents, and scratches
  • Investing in advanced repair technology, such as EV/Hybrid equipment and software recalibration
  • Building partnerships throughout the parts supply chain to reduce delays where possible

If your vehicle repair has been delayed, your insurer/repair partner should keep you informed throughout the process, and identify the reasons for increased waiting times.

We believe that transparency is the key to alleviating the stress caused by these delays. Our team is committed to keeping customers informed through their repair process, and constantly finding new ways to mitigate industry challenges.

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