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Does Electronic Pencil Whipping Take Place?

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March 23, 2020—Dan Risley, vice president of quality repair and market development for CCC Information Services, shared in a recent Guild 21 webinar how an electronic quality control sheet can lead to a little less pencil-whipping from collision shop technicians.

Risley says the quality control piece of the repair from the 70s, 80s and early 90s, is significantly different than where the automotive industry is at today. 

"Technology has shifted so much in today's car that if you're not taking those additional measures to document a proper repair, you're putting yourself in harm's way and you're putting the consumer in harm's way," Risley says in the webinar. "Documenting the repair helps to enforce a proper repair and standard operating procedures."

By having a system to document repair procedures gives the shop operator the chance to step back and have an oversight of the business. 

Yet, in order to achieve proper documentation, shop operators need to be aware of how pencil whipping can affect the process. 

What is Pencil Whipping?

Pencil whipping is the art of a technician, customer service manager or customer service representative, taking a pencil or pen to a quality control checklist  and running it down the list to sign off one time at the bottom indicating that all the quality control measures were taken.

How should a Quality Control checklist be checked off?

An employee should sign or initial every step of the QC sheet and note some items of observations as they go along.

What happens when the Quality Control checklist moves to an electronic platform?

An electronic checklist can prevent some of the pencil whipping. Each individual is given a specific role, responsibility and task. Based upon their login from their phone, they're able to check off the items they'e doing on that particular job.  To take it further, Risley recommends going to the next level of documentation. 

The technician should take photos of the repair in process like taking pictures of sectioning and welds being done. While the picture of the weld might not show the integrity of the weld, it shows the number of welds done on a particular job and if they were put back. Pictures of the OEM repair procedures that the technician elected to follow is also valuable documentation, Risley says in the webinar.

"I think when you add documentation to the process, there's going to be a cultural shift industry-wide where you have to do it," Risley says. "It's not a matter of I want to do it, it's a matter of I have to do it."

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