Having access to specific OE parts can be difficult for the shop without the right resource. Often, the task of locating specific parts can tack on unnecessary time to a repair.
CollisionLink, created by OEC, is the industry’s premier all-make, online parts procurement solution that provides shops with access to participating dealers selling OEM parts. According to OEC, around 20,000 shops are using CollisionLink today.
“It’s really kind of phenomenal,” says Kimberly Gordainer of Rob’s Auto Body. Working directly with parts ordering and estimates, Gordainer spends the most time with CollisionLink, a program that was brought to the shop around five years ago, she says.
By using CollisionLink, Gordainer says the shop has been able to provide customers with OE parts—a preference of Rob’s Auto Body.
Much like Gordainer, Bruce Vaughn, operations and parts manager of Alexander Body + Fender works directly with CollisionLink at the shop.
“I think CollisionLink is somewhat unique,” Vaughn says. “It improves cycle time, it improves quality, and getting OEM parts in replacements is always a benefit.”
CollisionLink gives customers the opportunity to correspond with dealers, purchase OEM products, and save money and time in the process.
CollisionLink works directly with a shop’s estimating system, which enables users to attach customer information such as the VIN number, photos of the vehicle or additional notes in the system, providing clear communication for all parties involved.
“I’ll input insurance estimates in our system, which will put an estimate into our program and you can bring it up through CollisionLink,” Gordainer says.
Once the estimate is brought up through CollisionLink, the program generates an ordering sheet, Vaughn says.
“It’s just a matter of putting in your RO number and putting in whatever notes you want at the bottom,” Vaughn says.
CollisionLink makes communication easier between the customer and a dealer. Once a customer decides on what dealership he or she wants to purchase a part from, a request is sent, and in return, the dealership will reach out following the request.
For Vaughn, speaking directly with a specific dealer over the phone is important.
“When I do send [the parts requests] through, I use the request that the vendor call me so I can discuss the prices,” Vaughn says. “I prefer to work with certain people with each vendor so I know I’m getting the same service every time.”
In the past, Gordainer says a majority of her time was spent hunting down parts through price matching, but now she knows the dealer will reach out as soon as her request is sent in.
“If I send it through CollisionLink they call me and I don’t have to hunt them down,” Gordainer says. “It’s just a smoother transition.”
CollisionLink saves time for the shop by eliminating time spent searching for a part.
“The way that it used to be done is you used to call 4-5 different places to see what the best price you can get, where now I can send it to one person and get equal—if not better prices,” Gordainer says. “It saves time.”
In the past, Vaughn says working with an aftermarket part can be time-consuming, as the parts often do not fit correctly.
Since using CollisionLink, Vaughn says his shop’s cycle time has improved since the program allows users to purchase OE parts.
“If I can get an OEM part—that’s going to fit every time,” Vaughn says. “It’s order once and the part is here and good, so we don’t have to worry about it, and that’s always going to improve cycle time.
“It’s just a better part for the customer for the repair.”
One of the key benefits of CollisionLink is the ability for dealers to see the entire order: not just the parts that the shop originally wanted pricing on, but other parts they may not have considered. The dealer can then offer competitive pricing on those parts too, to the benefit of the shop and the consumer.
Most other solutions don’t offer this key feature.
CollisionLink partners with 23 OEMS in the US and Canada to offer 29 programs that dealers can take advantage of to price OE parts that compete with the aftermarket. Some of the programs focus on how OEMs can provide reimbursements for the switch from non-OE to OE parts, which helps dealers succeed against potential lost opportunities. CollisionLink also supports shop-focused programs that provide rewards to the shops from the OEM for purchasing all OE parts on a repair.
According to OEC, CollisionLink automates the calculations and reimbursement process for dealers. Since shops are able to get more of a reimbursement through CollisionLink, ordering the parts through the program has been more cost-efficient, Vaughn says.
“We can make a better profit margin because of the fact that they’re able to get more back from the manufacturer,” Vaughn says. “For example, if I were to just call them, they might be able to sell a $100 part for $70, but if I run it through CollisionLink, they might be able to get more than their normal reimbursement back from the manufacturer,” Vaughn says.
“Now I might be able to buy the part for $60.”
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