Business Tools

SCRS' RDE Session Presents International Perspective on Insurance Parts Procurement Programs at SEMA Show

David Newton-Ross
Rex Crowther

For collision repairers concerned about the impact of insurance-mandated parts procurement models and looking to gain more knowledge on the impact they have had in other global markets, the 2012 SEMA Show is a perfect venue to gather information.

As part of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists' (SCRS) Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series, registrants will be able to participate in an interactive presentation with Rex Crowther, editor of Panel Talk magazine in New Zealand, and David Newton-Ross, editor of The National Collision Repairer in Australia and The New Zealand Collision Repairer. The two-hour session entitled, "Bidding Wars: A Global View on the Possible Economic Impact of Insurer Involvement in Parts Procurement" will begin Thursday, November 1, at 12:30 p.m., and is being held in the Upper North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. To register for this RDE seminar or to find other seminars being offered, visit

While online bidding requirements for parts procurement have only recently entered the U.S. market, other countries, such as New Zealand, have dealt with parts tendering mandates by carriers for many years. This session will provide attendees with a global perspective on the economic impact of New Zealand-based bidding programs, procedural impacts the program has had on cycle times and estimating practices and changes the program has had on repairer/supplier relationships. It will also include a historical overview of the national rollout, changes made to the program along the way and market impact from inception to present day, including an oration of market response at various points throughout the past eight-plus years.

"Having seen firsthand the impact PartsTrader has had on the industry here in New Zealand and hearing how different both PartsTrader and State Farm are saying it is going to be in the United States, I struggle to see any advantage for repairers, or much real advantage for State Farm," shared Crowther who has been involved in the New Zealand collision-repair industry since 1967. "This makes me suspicious of the end game, as all repairers' margins are vulnerable through this program, and surely any insurer is out to maximize their profits for their stakeholders."

Crowther is no stranger to repairer reaction to the launch of programs such as these, as former owner of two Auckland, New Zealand-based repair facilities for 28 years. Crowther additionally served as the executive chairman of the New Zealand Collision Repair Association from 1999 to 2004, representing a membership base that performed more that 80% of the insurance-paid collision-repair work in the country. He has also served on the board of I-CAR New Zealand for the last 10 years and was chairman for two years prior to stepping down in April of this year. Since 2004, Crowther has been on the board of the Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO), which is responsible for all motor industry apprentice and advanced training.

Crowther is passionate about the collision-repair industry and keen to help people on their journey, from collision repairer to successful business owner. "The real winners of this program are the shoddy suppliers and the disorganized repairers in New Zealand because, from our experience, PartsTrader does not discriminate between the good and the average," he concluded. "While the program in itself can be a good tool for difficult-to-find parts, especially here in New Zealand with our huge recycled parts market, it certainly has a huge detrimental effect on relationships between suppliers and repairers when its use and parts margins are mandated. It is not unusual for a parts supply that previously would have taken 24 hours to receive, to now take three to four days, despite reports from the U.S. proponents who say it will improve the parts-supply process and efficiency."

A complete listing of the RDE sessions can be found at The 2012 Repairer Driven Education program is sponsored by supportive industry organizations, such as SEMA, PPG, GM Genuine Parts, BASF, Ford, LKQ, Sherwin Williams, AASP, PBES and CollisionHub.