Simplifying the ADAS Opportunity

Originally published by Body Shop Business, June 10, 2024

ADAS Blueprinting, Comprehensive Invoicing, Finding the Right ADAS Tech

This is the third of five parts discussing how your shop can capitalize on the ADAS calibration opportunity.

This article discusses the importance of ADAS Repair Blueprinting, how best to draft your invoices using OE repair and service requirements, and what type of person makes an ideal ADAS technician.

The first two articles of this series focused on the urgent need for auto repair shops to establish a strategy for servicing ADAS-equipped vehicles.

The need for such a strategy is twofold: the sheer number of vehicles on the road with ADAS (180 million in North America) and the increasing array of mechanical and collision repairs and services often affecting those systems, requiring ADAS servicing or calibration.

The strategy a shop chooses whether to perform the work in-house or sublet calibration work to another shop, calibration center, or mobile provider, depends on multiple factors, including its size and layout, the training and current workload of its technicians, and quite simply, its business plan.

Ideally, if a shop has the space, the technicians, the funds for equipment investment, and the desire, they should consider bringing ADAS calibrations in-house. In addition to the simple financial rewards, which can be significant, in-house calibrations allow a shop to operate more efficiently, recouping the time associated with scheduling and moving the vehicle and ensuring the quality care that comes with key-to-key, in-shop service control.

For those shops wanting to keep their calibrations in-house and perhaps offer calibration services to surrounding collision and mechanical shops, we wanted to share some insights from a collision shop owner and now successful ADAS calibration provider to explain how he navigates: ADAS pricing, billing, and finding qualified technicians.

ADAS Blueprinting

Fundamental to every Autel tool is its OE-level diagnostics functionality, extensive vehicle coverage, and communication prowess, so whether you are a mechanical or a collision shop, if possible, always start with an all-systems scan.

All of the Autel tablets identify the ADAS systems on the vehicle for the technician during the Pre-Scan. Next, a visual inspection is performed to identify camera, radar, and lidar components that may need to be calibrated.

But the software platform adasThink has proved to be a vital tool for collision shops. adasThink uses the collision estimate to produce a report identifying the safety and convenience systems on the vehicle, as well as the OE-required ADAS calibrations and procedures to repair that vehicle. Gary Machiros, the owner of Angie’s Service Inc. in Newbury, Massachusetts, uses the service at his shop, where he performs about 50 calibrations weekly. The software uses a collision estimate report, such as one generated by CCC, to identify the safety systems that need service based on the repair plan. Working by the estimate line items detailing what repair needs to be performed, adasThink will list what procedure—reset, initializations, ADAS calibrations—the OE requires. The adasThink report links to ALLDATA for detailed procedures and the OE position statements documenting under what conditions the manufacturer requires these additional services.

Invoicing based on OE-Requirements

Machiros said that just as adasThink is valuable for blueprinting the repair, it is equally helpful in drafting the repair invoice and working with insurance adjusters. When drafting his invoice, he refers to the language on the adasThink report and includes the OE position statement when needed. This information is the perfect backup if an adjuster questions a calibration or service.

The OEM requires a procedure based on the knowledge of the people who built the car and the engineers who designed it… I need to do what the OEM wants me to do. I am not going to take on any of the liability because I didn’t do a procedure. This has to be done. This is a safety issue,” — Machiros said.


Finding the Right Tech: Read, Comprehend, Execute

Finding automotive technicians is a widespread industry challenge. Indeed, a recent study found that the U.S. will need over 100,000 new automotive technicians per year through 2026 just to keep up with demand.

Machiros says the technician skillset needed to perform ADAS calibrations differs from that of a collision and mechanical technician.

In his hiring, he looks for someone who is motivated and likes to learn. “Today, you really don’t need to be a technician to calibrate cars. Can you read, comprehend, and execute? Do you have some computer skills? I would really like to see them be lifelong learners. I could find someone with no automotive experience and teach him or her to perform a complete ADAS calibration,” said Machiros.

Stewart Peregrine, a Senior Executive of ADAS Sales at Autel, says the software and tooling Autel offers have been optimized to make performing calibrations systematic and easy for the less experienced technician to pick up. “Part of that optimization was simplifying the calibration instructions, moving away from the language used by engineers at the OEM level to one that is easier to understand. This change enables an inexperienced technician to get up and running quickly and nearly eliminate the possibility of mistakes. I also recommended our two-day ADAS training class to anyone considering or already performing ADAS calibrations. It offers classroom theory and hands-on experience. The response has been exceptional,” Peregrine said.

In the next part of our series, we will take a deep dive into shop requirements regarding layout, flooring, lighting, and workflow to enable you to create an ideal environment for a successful ADAS calibration shop. Thanks for reading. We invite you to continue your research by visiting the ADAS pages and to schedule a conversation with one of our ADAS experts.

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