Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Bodyshops urged to embrace digital opportunities

Digitalisation is the biggest opportunity in 2021, and the independent aftermarket should make the most of it.

This is the view of LKQ Euro Car Parts chief executive, Any Hamilton, who believes that despite the ongoing Covid crisis, garages need to keep up with the automotive sector’s ever changing digital environment.

“While we understand independent garages might have other priorities in the immediate term, the need to digitalise isn’t going away, and there are two gaps to close,” Mr Hamilton said.

“Firstly, independent garages need to keep up with the rest of the automotive sector in terms of digital capability and connectivity, and secondly, they need match service providers in other sectors to meet their customers’ ever-higher expectations.

“But the onus isn’t just on them. We’re developing our own digital capabilities too, so that we can work with garages to drive efficiencies and make the independent aftermarket more competitive in the long term.”

In a recent survey, LKQ Euro Car Parts found that 29 per cent of independent garages have to turn away work because they don’t have the skills and/or equipment needed to deliver work on more modern vehicles.

But according to Hamilton, the opportunities for digitalisation stretch far beyond the workshop itself.

He added: “Digital solutions have been proven to have a positive impact all the way along the value chain, starting with the way garages bring in customers, schedule jobs and order parts, right through to taking payment once the work has been completed.”

LKQ Euro Car Parts has produced a five-point plan for bodyshops to help them capitalise on digitalisation:

Visibility – an online presence is crucial to attracting new customers.

Order – online orders can be faster than buying parts over the phone.

Workload management – workloads are less predictable now, meaning workflow management is more important than ever.

Infrastructure – ADAS is mainstream and repairers need to correct tools in their workshops to repair modern vehicles.

Skills – digital training is critical now for everyone in the business.