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Meet Matt Phillips, the Man behind the Collision Parts Database

—August 13, 2015
Meet Matt Phillips, the Man behind the Collision Parts Database

At the core of Mitchell's philosophy is providing easy and direct access to our expert editorial staff. We interviewed our content specialists to find out what makes Mitchell Estimating, also known as UltraMate unique, why it’s great working at Mitchell, and where the collision industry is going.

We’re continuing our series with Content Specialist, Matt Phillips!

What did you do before you came to Mitchell?

Before coming to Mitchell, I had different positions within the automotive industry. I started out working as an auto repair technician at a young age, through high school, through college, and kind of got my feet wet in the industry.

Then after that, I got into the dealership side of things, and started working in parts and service departments. I ended up getting very interested in parts information and processes, worked my way up as parts manager and was looking for a new challenge and a new direction. So when the opportunity presented itself at Mitchell, I was excited about taking on this new and challenging type of endeavor.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry from when you started?

Vehicle technology is constantly changing. Way back when, you were lucky to have maybe an engine control module. Now, there are often several different modules and computers equipped on today’s vehicles. It’s very important that we are able to identify them, know exactly where they go, how they work. Vehicles are now equipped with various sensors, radars, cameras, and the technology is constantly changing. We're definitely staying on top of everything related to safety technology.

What type of information is used in the creation of the Mitchell data?

matt phillipsThere are a lot of different types of information that go into our data. We start with our EPCs, the electronic parts catalogs. We have access to over 50 OEM catalogs. We use those, for our graphics and to build our data, part numbers, and pricing, but we're doing daily pricing update as well. We have access to OEM service information, Chrome Data, and various other sources of licensed information, but we also examine consumer-related information like sales brochures, press releases, owners’ manuals…anything that can potentially help give us more accurate and thorough data.

What's your favorite thing about being on the editorial team?

The best thing about being on the editorial team is really just what we learn, day in and day out. Pretty much every day, I learn something new. I work with a lot of very bright, smart people. We're constantly working together to find out what's the best way to go about each and every service. We proof, we proof, and we proof again, every service. We want perfection out of everything. Our graphics, we thoroughly proof those as well. We're just looking to put out the best possible product. We put in a lot of hours, hundreds of hours on each individual service, through and through, to make sure everything is correct and everything is up to par.

Why is it important to customers to have accurate and quality data? How does that help their businesses?

Well, I know from being on the other side of things, if you're not getting the correct parts or labor information, it can delay a job by days, if not weeks. So we definitely take that into account. We've all kind of been on the other side of things and have worked at dealerships or shops at some point. When you're not getting the correct parts or labor information for a job, you're not getting correct estimates.

So we all take that into account for each service we write, and we want to make sure we get everything right the first time. If not, we'll go back and revise it. We're constantly updating services and looking for the newest innovations and technology to become available.

I'd say pretty much 100% of our job consists of making sure the data and pricing information is accurate.

How do you stay current?

Most of us naturally love automobiles. We've been in the industry for many years. I personally subscribe to several different automotive magazines, and am always reading industry-related online articles. We're always looking for the next piece of information, the next real piece of technology that comes out on the market. Car shows are very good because you get to see the vehicle close-up, take pictures, and get a good first-hand understanding of the vehicle. We use all of that data to build our new services.

Obviously with the Technical Repair Center, we're able to come down here if we have any questions when we need to look at something in person. You can't beat that. Looking at a picture is one thing, but to have the opportunity to come down here and get an up-close perspective is just . . . You can't beat that. That's shown throughout our services. We have a firsthand approach. We're able to see exactly what's on that vehicle.

What is the Technical Repair Center?

We have a lot of relationships with a lot of different OEMs, dealerships. We're able to actually bring brand-new vehicles in here and measure dimensions. We're able to see exactly what's equipped on the vehicle, and that's invaluable information. To look at pictures is one thing, but to bring it in here and actually see it, measure it, learn the exact location of all the components on it, that's really, really invaluable. That's another aspect that really separates us from our competitors.

What do you personally get out of coming to work every day?

What I get out of being here every day is just working with a great group of people, very bright, sharp group of people. I learn a lot. I learn a lot from being here every day, and I look forward to it. You can't really get this throughout any other job within the automotive industry.

I've worked at dealerships, shops, and you kind of fall into that routine every day. But here, we're constantly, every single day, looking for that next advent of technology, that next thing that's going to happen. We really have to stay on the cutting edge and look for the next thing that's going to be up ahead.

Want to learn more about how Mitchell Estimating can improve accuracy and profitability for your auto body repair shop? To schedule a demo call 1-866-639-7075.

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