How well are automotive workshops positioned to face the challenges of the future? This is a question that has been discussed time and again in recent years, and is dominated to a large extent by two issues: electromobility and digitalisation. One thing is certain: automotive workshops can hardly avoid either of these topics. But it is also clear that digitalisation in automotive workshops is no longer a future concern. Workshops are already getting heavily involved and are becoming more and more digital.
The regular surveys by the "Qualität ist Mehrwert” (Quality is added value) (QiM) industry initiative show good indications of this. An example: In 2018, 68 percent of the workshops surveyed admitted to being only moderately prepared for the challenges of the future. In 2021, 69 percent said that their workshop was "very well positioned" or even "perfectly positioned" in terms of digitalisation.
When looking at spare part procurement, it is clear that digitalisation used to be a bugbear but has long since found its way into everyday workshop life. A large QiM study on digitalisation in automotive workshops shows, for example, that 98 percent of workshops order spare parts online. And more than two thirds (67 percent) order "mainly online".
Therefore, spare parts procurement is one of the most widespread digital processes in automotive workshops. And, by the way, this does not have to mean lower quality: 93 percent of independent workshops continue to rely on brand-name spare parts. Automotive workshops are also doing well in diagnostics: 85 percent say they are well or even very well positioned when it comes to diagnostic systems.
Workshop owners began recognising the advantages of digitalised processes long ago, whether that is digital marketing, online customer contact and appointments or diagnostics: digitalisation can simplify processes, increase customer loyalty and boost new business. If it were not for a few challenges.
59 per cent of the workshops that QiM surveyed said that the large amount of time required was a challenge. As obstacles, 58 per cent mentioned the investments required and over 40 per cent mentioned a lack of expertise. No wonder, then, that the digital transformation is a clear matter for the management in most cases: in independent workshops, owners drive the topic forward in 78 per cent of cases.
This is probably also due to the investments required for the digital transformation. Here, as expected, authorised workshops are putting their foot on the gas more than independent workshops, but the latter have also made firm plans for the relevant investments: 78 percent of respondents said they would invest in the next two years, while the figure for authorised workshops is 92 percent.
The focus here is on workshop equipment (66 percent). Investments are also made in staff training (48 percent), customer communication (41 percent) and accounting (24 percent).
Therefore, most workshops have accepted the challenge of digitalisation. And that does not come as a surprise. After all, workshop owners have been asking themselves about what the future looks like for workshops ever since their business was founded.
More than 800 workshops took part in the 2021 digitalisation survey for workshops, including authorised workshops, independent workshops, automotive workshops and commercial vehicle workshops. "Qualität ist Mehrwert" dug deep into the results and analysed the responses. In this white paper, you will find the complete survey and further information.