Most people in the auto collision industry agree that the collision industry was born around 1946.
It was during this time that service men and women were returning from the European and the Pacific theater of operations. A lot of these men and women did not have existing jobs to return to, so they would start their own business. Oftentimes, it would be an auto and collision repair business.
During the 1960s, each shop was on its own. Shop owners worked independently with little to no input from other shop owners, associations or industry leaders. No one knew what was going on in the industry, because there was no means of communication.
It seems as though the HD collision market is facing similar challenges the industry faced over 70 years ago. However, there are a few distinct differences.
First, at the time, there were fewer HD shops than auto shops. Unlike the auto shops that seemed to be at war with everyone, the truck shops seem to want to work together. The size of the market and the desire to work together should help push the industry along at a quicker pace.
Chris Sterwerf is an industry leader who argues that HD shops work better together. Shops should cooperate and speak up when needed, he said.
“Shops must paint a clear picture to vendors, equipment providers, OEMs and information providers on what is needed to make sure these behemoths operate safely,” said Sterwerf, chief finance and operations officer for Fairfield Auto and Truck Service in Fairfield, Ohio.
Sterwerf, chairman of TMC’s Heavy Duty Collision Repair Guideline Task Force, mentioned that in the past, HD shops rarely shared information with competitors.
“Car shops tended to collaborate with shops out of their market area,” he said. “HD 20 Groups and the HD Repair Forum are now helping to connect the dots to give HD shops the megaphone that has been needed for decades.
Technology is pushing the HD collision industry along and it won’t wait.