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ADP Drop in Refinish Times to Be Reversed with November Update

While the company has not made it clear why they lowered the refinish times to begin with, they have made it clear that the changes will be reversed in November.

A widespread and significant drop in ADP refinish labor times discovered in recent weeks will be corrected in ADP's November CD update release, which the company says will be on its way to ADP customers this week.

"The operational issues with the refinish times in the October CD are revised in the November CD," Scott Jenkins, senior director of estimating solutions for ADP, said. "The November CD is consistent with the September CD. If the user did not load the October CD, they were not impacted. We are instructing our customers to load the November CD immediately upon receipt."

The October CD included many decreased refinish labor times of 10 percent or more. Refinish times for 2000-2004 Ford Taurus hood, for example, dropped from 3.9 on the September ADP CD to 3.4 on the October CD. Times for a 1999-2004 Pontiac Grand Am fender dropped from 2.4 to 1.9, and the front door time for a 1999-2004 Chevy Cavalier dropped from 3.1 to 2.8.

Although some have looked for some sort of intent behind the widespread reductions, ADP, while avoiding using the term "mistake," maintains that the problem was an "operational issue," not an attempt to shave labor times. "Some of our clients have experienced an operational issue regarding refinish labor on hoods, doors, fenders, roofs, decklid/tailgates and back doors," Peggy Adams, operations manager for client services for ADP, wrote in an email response to questions about the October CD. "When the November CD is loaded, our clients will need to deselect the 'Using Original Labor' box in the 'Open Estimate' dialogue box when updating an estimate or supplement created with the October CD. Consistent with ADP's ongoing commitment to quality, we have insured the November CD contains the most accurate, detailed, vehicle-specific data in the industry. We apologize to our clients for any inconvenience we may have caused."

"The Shoplink Update shipped with the November CD will contain additional details," Jenkins said. "We are asking our clients to please contact our Client Services team for any questions or further assistance. ADP's Client Services team will be happy to address individual situations with our clients."

The issue has resulted in a flurry of email activity between shops and industry organizations since it came to light in early November. Part of the concern was fueled by the fact that various ADP personnel were giving conflicting - or, at a minimum, ambiguous - responses to questions about the labor time changes. An ADP tech support employee, for example, told one ADP shop customer in the Pacific Northwest that the revised times were based on "new time studies" ADP had done.

Another shop owner reported receiving a similar explanation: That time studies using "new equipment readily available in the market" showed that paint operations took less time.

"He would not specify which new equipment was being used, or which vehicles or repairs were being studied," the shop owner said. He did, however, say "that since not all facilities are currently equipped with these new technologies, ADP is...reverting back to their old labor times until the majority of the market has updated their equipment."

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers/New Jersey (AASP-NJ), which was among the first organizations to bring the lower times in the October CD to light, is pleased that the drop in times is being corrected. But the association feels shops who have used or continue to use the October version of the ADP database deserve compensation because of the inaccurate data.

"AASP-NJ is strongly recommending reimbursement from ADP to its members for the subscription cost of its Shoplink product, prorated for the amount of time that the October release was in use and until such time that a repaired database is made available," the association said in a written statement. "AASP-NJ is also seeking reimbursement for measurable damages resulting from artificially low estimate totals that cannot be recovered at a future date."

"ADP shouldn't be able to just dismiss this as a 'software defect,' correct it and move on," Charles Bryant, executive director of AASP-NJ, said. "There has been money lost, and we intend to pursue all channels to get it back."

Click here for a list of vehicles affected by the October CD update

UPDATE: There was a reduction in refinish times that affected approximately 10% of the vehicle files on our October CD.

After conducting comprehensive internal investigation and audit, ADP concluded that changes made to refinish times on the October CD were not supported by sufficient industry data as required by our operating policies and procedures.

All of our clients, including our Canadian clients were immediately notified and corrections were made to the November CDs which were distributed via overnight delivery.

Detailed instructions on how to process supplements together with a complete list of vehicle files affected have been published on our website ( A dedicated Client Services team will assist clients with their individual needs and concerns.

ADP is committed to providing quality client service. We have enhanced our database operations processes with additional safeguards to ensure that we deliver reliable estimating tools to our valued clients

(courtesy of CollisionWeek)

Info on data base labour complaints

The labor time in the estimating guides can be a little bit like that old joke about the weather: Everybody complains about it, but nobody does anything about it.

The Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Estimating Committee hopes to change that through a website for inquiries about the estimating databases.

"We see this as a constructive approach to encourage the industry to come forward when they see instances where there is flawed or incomplete information [in the estimating systems]," said March Taylor of Auto Body Hawaii, co-chairman of the CIC Estimating Committee. "I encourage all repairers to look at this website, and when they see problems in the databases to step forward and let the industry know. Changes will happen."

Indeed, some of the early postings on the website have resulted in positive changes for repairers. Thanks to an inquiry from an independent repairer posted at the committee's website, for example, both Motor Information Services and Mitchell International nearly doubled the amount of labor time their systems show for removing and replacing a front door hinge pillar on a 1995-2001 BMW 740.

"That puts a lot of money on your estimate that you're legitimately entitled to that you were losing in the past," CIC Chairman Lou DiLisio said, in praising the committee's efforts. "Times are being changed based on the inquiries sent in."

In addition to changes in labor allowances, the database providers (ADP, Mitchell International and Motor Information Services) are making other changes in response to inquiries, such as adding footnotes or other information that will be helpful to estimators and technicians.

In addition to being able to review previous inquiries and responses the website also has an email link for those wishing to post a question. Such inquiries are reviewed by the Estimating Committee and submitted to the appropriate estimating database providers, whose responses are then posted.

"We encourage people submitting inquiries to send them directly to the estimating database provider as well," said Massachusetts shop owner Chuck Sulkala, a member of the committee, adding that each of the providers has a "request for review" process. "But what this website offers us is the opportunity for everyone to see in a common format in one location that an issue has been raised, and what each of the providers' response has been. We hear from all the providers that they get very few questions about the databases. Well, we now have a public forum for everyone in the industry to see when an issues is raised, when it was resolved and what the providers had to say. And if a change was warranted, it's there."

Not all types of estimating questions are accepted; for example, the committee cannot make recommendations about choosing an estimating system or respond to questions about software problems. But any questions about information within the estimating databases are fair game.

To check out all of the results, visit the "database inquiry" section of the CIC website ( But a few examples:

  • One inquiry submitted questioned the labor time allowed for reinstalling a spoiler on the deck lid of a 1998-2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue, pointing out the that process involves, among other steps, creating a template in order to correctly drill eight mounting holes of different sizes and configurations. After review, Mitchell increased its labor time for the operation, while Motor and ADP noted that "drill time" is not included in their labor allowance.
  • An inquiry was made about removing and replacing a lower door hinge on a 1998-2001 Volkswagen Beetle. The questioner pointed out that this process requires removing the wheel and fender liner and partially removing the fender. After review, ADP added to its labor time for this operation; Mitchell added a footnote indicating its labor allowance was "with door and fender liner removed [and] includes loosen fender for access"; and Motor also added a footnote that its time was "after fender is removed."
  • In response to an inquiry about labor time to remove and replace the cab corner on a 1995-2001 Toyota Tacoma, two of the database providers increased their time allowance, and the third said it was performing time studies to determine if a change was necessary.

"I really believe this is a major turning point in our industry," Sulkala said of the website inquiry system. "This is for the entire industry whether you're a repairer or an insurer. We think that by helping improve the estimating databases, this is going to help everybody."

NOTE: This editorial expresses the opinions of its sole author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Autobodyonline, or any of its subsidiary companies, clients, or supporters. Thanks to for this information