There is no simpler truth in the auto rental industry than “rental car revenue is predicated on rental car availability.” No one understands this wisdom—or pressure—better than the commercial fleet managers chartered with the daily maintenance and damage repair of tens of thousands of rental vehicles. These multi-tasking pros experience firsthand the mantra that each day a vehicle is down is a day of lost revenue.
So what would you, or your damage manager, say if you could eliminate a full day of a vehicle’s collision repair without adding incremental overhead or expense?
To achieve this goal, car rental companies have been using an online software program called CollisionLink from OEConnection for the electronic ordering of original equipment (OE) crash parts from participating dealership suppliers.
The Goal: Cut Vehicle Idle Time
Jerry Bernacki is vice president of vehicle maintenance for Avis Budget Group. Responsible for the maintenance and repair of more than 350,000 Avis Budget rental vehicles that generated more than $4.7 billion in annual revenue in 2008, Bernacki knows the relationship of vehicle downtime to lost revenue.
Avis Budget, similar to other rental vehicle organizations, outsources its collision repair to participating body shops while retaining management of the damage evaluation process. On any given week, Avis Budget’s 102 airport damage repair facilities each manage a complex web of parts availability, vehicle drop-off and pick-up and repair due dates for 100 or more inactive vehicles spread among 10 to 15 body shops.
Relying on phone and fax for shop communication, Avis Budget personnel generate the estimate while body shop personnel typically order the parts upon vehicle pick-up. As a result, a damaged vehicle could sit idle—with the clock ticking—for more than a day before the required parts arrive and repairs begin.
Online Technology Transformed Booking—Why Not Repair?
From Bernacki’s perspective, there had to be a better way. Online technology had already revolutionized the entire car rental experience, so why couldn’t a similar process be used to automate the movement of “Collision Part A” to “Body Shop B”?