At a time when dealerships are relying more heavily on service departments to maintain profits amid inventory shortages, Ford Motor Co. is attempting to streamline warranty processes to repay claims faster and keep repair work flowing. Most of the changes deal with bureaucratic red tape that frustrated service techs and delayed jobs.
In one instance, Ford removed the requirement for a tech to get prior approval from the factory before starting work on a warranty claim. Another change loosens rules on holding faulty parts that Ford could recall for examination, which took up shelf space and required techs to fill out time-consuming paperwork when Ford requested the part back.
"When you looked at the bureaucracy and complexity of what we were doing, it was kind of like a dog chasing its tail," David Abatsis, owner of Acton Ford in Massachusetts, told Automotive News. "The goal on Ford's part has been to keep a wrench in a technician's hand more than all this involvement with processing and documentation."
The changes, which have been rolled out in recent months and were based off dealer feedback and internal surveys, are not only meant to speed up repair work but to appease techs working in high-stress environments. It's part of an effort by Ford to retain workers in a field suffering from a shortage of available bodies.