This article is from the November / December issue of the Collision Repair Association's magazine, Panel Talk. It is reprinted here in its entirety with the kind permission of the editor.

Collision Repair Shops Survey

By Neil Pritchard, General Manager, NZ Collision Repair Association

In 2006, CRA and Vero Insurance established a joint initiative to survey repairers to gain an understanding of important issues facing repairers today.
164 repairers responded to the survey and some of the results were published in a series of articles in PanelTalk, official journal of the CRA.
Answers to the question “how do you source parts?” were as follows:


Not surprisingly there were multiple answers given and looking more closely, we see that almost everyone sources parts themselves some of the time. The use of parts brokers is largely confined to Auckland and parts of the South Island. Nearly 3/4 of repairers use some form of electronic sourcing which is dominated by Partstrader 60%, eSpares 25% and PartsLink 15%. Bear in mind these percentages do not reflect any weighting – they only show which systems have been used.

Opinion seems to be divided as to whether or not the use of on-line parts procurement is a good or a bad thing. 2 questions asked:

As expected, more saw disadvantages than advantages although many replies pointed out both sides. Here are the most common replies.


In response to questions about what the impact has been, opinion is again split. Many think there have been improved efficiencies, while many think the cost of administration has increased and that the quality of parts has deteriorated. One of the most commonly reported effects is reduced margins. It is generally agreed that the competitive nature of on-line systems has meant that parts have reduced in price. Clearly this will mean fewer dollars in parts margins; however, blaming on-line parts procurement systems for reduced parts margin percentages misses the point.

If we allow work providers to dictate the percentage we are permitted to charge, then it does not matter how we source the parts. Sure parts margins have reduced, but let’s not blame the use of on-line procurement systems, put the blame where it should be………