Thursday, 19 March 2015 00:00

Putting First Things First

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If you are anything like me you are probably wondering, “WOW, where has this year gone already!?”

It’s amazing how quickly time can slip by and then you realize you haven’t really made the progress on the goals you have set for yourself or worse yet haven’t set aside the time to create goals in the first place. You no doubt have been very busy working in your shops, it is the “nature of the business.”

Back in 1999, a court decision in a class action lawsuit resulted in a $1.2 billion judgment against State Farm – at the time one of the largest judgments ever levied against an insurer. The ruling changed the way many insurance companies dealt with non-OEM parts for years, and despite the fact that the judgment was later nullified, the “Avery vs State Farm” lawsuit even today is seen as the basis for State Farm’s limited use of such parts.

But now, 18 years after that lawsuit began, the lawyers who represented the vehicle-owners in the Avery lawsuit are still fighting against the overturning of that judgment by the Illinois Supreme Court. The amount they are seeking from State Farm this time is considerably larger: triple the damages of the Avery case plus more than a decade of interest, all adding up to more than $8 billion.

“Tell them once and then tell them again,” an old ad executive told me years ago, long before the Internet, web sites or applications existed. And it still pertains today, because although marketing and advertising change almost daily, the main concept behind branding is still the same.

Several years ago, Jim Young, 55 of Memphis, TN began a startup called My Business is a Wreck, a company he has described as a small team of passionate industry professionals delivering robust, reliable applications to the automotive industry.

Friday, 20 February 2015 00:00

New Century Marketing Basics

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Global changes are reshaping the nature of marketing today. In the earlier part of the 20th century, efforts to reach a prospective customer were referred to as "advertising." Promotion, product packaging and publicity were all considered parts of advertising. Gradually these became four separate specialties.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 00:00

Cycle Time Success Using Little’s Law

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“Get The Keys!” is the usual mantra at most collision repair shops these days. That is completely understandable given that the only way we can profit from that vehicle’s damage is if we get the keys first. If you are a fortunate enough collision center to have plenty of work coming in, that thinking could be a problem. That problem is Little’s Law and it plays a huge role in your performance.

Thursday, 19 February 2015 00:00

Make More Money Using Theory of Constraints

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Most of you readers have heard about Lean thinking, Lean manufacturing, or simply Lean. But have you heard about the Theory of Constraints (TOC)? I know some of you have, but as with Lean, the concept may still be a little unclear to you. Although there are both commonalities and differences between Lean and TOC, I believe collision repairers can benefit from understanding and applying both ways of thinking to their repair businesses.

Geico has received the “2015 Excellence in Safety and Pollution Prevention Award” from S/P2, an organization created to help the automotive service and repair industry meet OSHA and EPA guidelines.

Bob Medved of S/P2 presented the award to Geico’s Joe Lacy at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in Palm Springs, CA. Medved said Geico “excels at safety and pollution prevention,” providing S/P2 training for its entire claims staff, and requiring at least one person at each of its direct repair shops complete the training and testing.

In accepting the award, Lacy acknowledged that in the past he “wasn't a very safe person,” and that he was “no stranger to emergency rooms.” But having a doctor with a scalpel inches away when he had metal in his eye convinced him to become more focused on safety.

“I don’t ever want to do that again,” Lacy said.

Each year, S/P2 provides training and testing of more than 100,000 students, instructors, shops and claims staff nationwide through industry-specific online safety and pollution prevention training. For more information, visit

New testing announced at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) earlier this year indicates that not all spraysuits are created equal in terms of preventing penetration of isocyanates.

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is preparing for a busy month in March with several conferences and their annual Hill Day and State Legislative Summit. Their series of events includes the Greater Midwest Auto Recycling Expo, the ARA Annual Hill Day, the ARA State Legislative Summit, the International Automobile Recycling Congress, and the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association’s Annual Convention.