Mazda will require its new certified network of auto body shops to write estimates using software from Mitchell, the information provider serving as program administrator.
“Organizations accepted into the Network will use Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures to access Mazda repair information from within the estimate,” Mitchell wrote in a news release Tuesday. “This is designed to minimize the time spent on research, reduce supplements and facilitate proper repair.”
“Use of Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures helps ensure repair plans are consistent with Mazda repair procedures,” Mazda wrote in a FAQ for body shops. “The Repair Quality Assurance (QA) feature documents proper repairs. Consistent use of the platform provides the metrics, scorecards and analytics used by Mazda and Mitchell to administer the program effectively.”
Mitchell will handle the initial shop audits and subsequent annual inspections virtually, according to Mazda. Mitchell said it will also monitor key performance indicators on behalf of Mazda.
“We look forward to supporting Mazda and its efforts to deliver an exceptional repair experience,” Mitchell auto physical damage Executive Vice President and general manager Debbie Day said in a statement. “Collision repairers are facing unprecedented challenges due, in large part, to rapid advancements in vehicle technology. The Mazda Collision Network provides them with the tools and technology they need to meet these challenges head on.”
Mitchell repair sales and service Vice President Jack Rozint explained in an email Tuesday that part of the reason for the requirement involved Mitchell having the ability to “track repair quality metrics that are otherwise unavailable. Mazda will track pre and post-scans for each repair, the utilization of OE repair procedures, and the completion of a QA process that verifies compliance with OE procedures on each repair.”
Mazda’s FAQ also notes that a shop’s viewing of OEM repair procedures within Mitchell would be documented.
“Mitchell’s Freedom Platform—which incorporates Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures—will be used to provide all of the necessary data capture and process steps needed for program administration,” Mazda wrote. “Repair procedures are integrated so not only will you have the information you need when and where you need it, but the system will document with date and time stamps and store a record of your viewing of the repair procedures with the completed file documentation. You work within Mitchell’s cloud-based tools and there are no third-party applications or extra steps required to process a job.”
Rozint said Mitchell didn’t at this time offer per-estimate pricing for repairers who already had an estimating system. But he said his information provider would offer a package deal to Mitchell newcomers entering the Mazda certified program. The bundle would include Mitchell Cloud Estimating, Connect Communications, Integrated Repair Procedures, Repair QA, and AutocheX CSI surveys.
As for shops forced by insurers to use CCC or Audatex and confronted with the specter of rekeying, Mazda had this to say:
Mitchell makes its estimate data available via EMS and BMS format for export to other systems, carriers and information providers Mitchell is committed to working with industry partners—including other information providers—to enable program estimate data to flow seamlessly to other systems. This data exchange requires cooperation from all parties involved.
General Motors launched its own certified program in 2018 in partnership with Mitchell and carrying a similar estimating system requirement. In April, the OEM announced it would be estimating-system agnostic and VeriFacts would take over administration.
The GM and Mitchell certified shop collaboration included a system where updates to GM official repair procedures could reach Mitchell within a week — with GM suggesting this to be a far faster turnaround than shops experience with other third-party repair procedure aggregators. Mitchell in April said this feature continues despite the end of its formal certified network association with GM.
We asked Mitchell if this kind of speedy repair procedure updating would be an element of the Mitchell-Mazda partnership.
“We are working to continually speed and improve our repair procedure processing for Mazda vehicles,” Rozint wrote. “At this time, we don’t have a specific target metric for Mazda.”
While the information provider’s estimating software will be a requirement, Mazda won’t mandate certified collision repairers use Mitchell’s scan tools. Numerous Mitchell scan tools satisfy the OEM’s diagnostics equipment requirement, but Mazda also allows shops to use official OEM factory scan tools (no surprise there), the asTech, the AirPro or an unspecified Opus IVS device or devices instead.
Mitchell, May 4, 2021
Featured image: Mazda is launching a certified auto body repair program. (Provided by Mitchell)