Research Shows Effects of Supply Chain Issues on Repair Shops

Oct. 6, 2021

IMR Inc., a full-service automotive market research firm, has released its latest insights on the effects of supply chain disruptions on independent automotive repair shops. 

In August 2021, IMR Inc. interviewed 500 independent automotive repair shops, nationally representative by location in the U.S., to get insights on whether supply chain disruptions were affecting their business and customers.

Since the start of the pandemic, 100% of shops reported that it is taking them longer to complete vehicle service and repairs, and 50% of shops state they are "frequently" having disruptions in getting the parts they need to service vehicles, another 34.3% of shops say they are "occasionally" having a disruption in getting the parts they need. 

When asked about the most common reasons for an increase in the time it is taking to complete vehicle repairs and service, shops reported delays in parts deliveries (45.7%), parts distributors being short on drivers (41.4%), a shortage of technicians/unavailable for work (25.0%), and difficulty in finding qualified technicians (14.3%).

Location was also shown to be a factor that contributed to the increased delays in vehicle service and repair turnaround time. Rural shops reported fewer issues with delays in parts deliveries (36.2%), but cite a greater issue with a shortage of technicians (29.3%). Urban and suburban shops report having fewer issues with parts delivery delays at 22.2% and 21.6%, respectively. Urban shops have been the most affected by distributors being short on drivers at 51.1% compared to suburban (37.0%) and rural shops (37.0%).

Even though shops are still experiencing delays in receiving parts on time, 87.8% of independent repair shops still report “rarely” or “never” purchasing from suppliers that are new or different from their regular/primary suppliers. As noted in a prior Insight on e-commerce purchasing published in August 2021, shops’ use of publicly available e-commerce websites to source parts has declined since the height of the pandemic in 2020.