Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Keen appetite within bodyshops for AI-led efficiencies

A new bodyshop survey suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) estimates and early image capture have the potential to reduce total loss wastage as well as significantly improve cycle times and staff pressures.

Solera Audatex surveyed its repairer community on AI’s place in estimating. It says 66 per cent cited recruiting skilled and experienced staff as one of their biggest challenges.

Parts ordering (54%), awaiting insurer approval (45%), and time taken to do assessments (46%) closely followed as the biggest cycle time delays, according to the survey.

Total loss vehicles represented up to 10 per cent of total intake for 58 per cent of bodyshops surveyed, and up to 25 per cent for a further 38 per cent – representing a significant cost to the industry as a whole.

Solera Audatex suggests that on an average intake of 50 vehicles a week, a high proportion of bodyshops take in between five and 12 total loss vehicles per week.

Bodyshops also reported the average time required to complete a comprehensive damage assessment. There’s a 16-30 minute wait for lightly damaged vehicles, 31-60 minutes for medium damaged vehicles, and 60 to over 90 minutes for heavily damaged vehicles.

More than half (56%) of all respondents said the top benefit the industry could see from introducing AI is increasing staff estimating efficiency.

This was closely followed by improving customer experience (51%) and the ability to order parts earlier (50%).

“There is no denying that there is an appetite for AI to support the industry,” said a Solera Audatex spokesperson. “To tackle the challenges of the ongoing skills shortage we need to build trust in AI and see it as an enabler to do more with a smaller, highly skilled workforce.”