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GFS is proud to announce the launch of the paint booth educational resource site, the Finishing Academy.  GFS has always placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of best practices in the operation and maintenance of your paint booth. This resulted in the development of the Finishing Academy, a place for new painters and spray booth operators to learn the mechanics of how booths work, and the essentials needed to produce perfect paint jobs in a contaminant-free environment. It also serves as a refresher for veteran painters looking to brush up on their knowledge of contamination control and proper usage of paint booth equipment.

The Finishing Academy currently contains three training ‘modules’, titled ‘Spray Booth Basics’, ‘How to Finish in the Money’, and ‘Building the Perfect Shop’.

Visit http://finishingacademy.com or http://globalfinishing.com for more information and to explore the new site (see attached image).

Questions: info@globalfinishing.com

Glassbytes is reporting that USAA has announced that it may now require inspections of windshields involved in glass claims prior to authorizing work on the vehicle.

According to company spokesperson Rebecca Hirsch, inspections began in December and are now taking place in five states. The inspections are conducted by representatives of Safelite Solutions, which administers the company's glass claims program.

"Basically we started this program because we received feedback from our members that some of them felt like they were coerced or pressured to make glass claims when in reality there may not have been any damage to their glass," says Hirsch. " … We enacted this to protect our members from any fraudulent activity."

Currently, the program is in the pilot stages, she says.

As a direct result of feedback from industry participants, Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) has announed it will return to a rotating pattern beginning in 2011. The 2011 exposition will be held Oct. 6-8 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., which also returns the show to a Thursday - Saturday date pattern. Education will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 5.  ASRW includes the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) and the Congress of Automotive Repair & Service (CARS), both sponsored by the Automotive Service Association (ASA).

Ron Pyle, ASA President, briefly mentioned investigating potential changes at the closing press conference of the 2010 event. Subsequently, ASRW solicited feedback and opinions from the industry through a series of surveys which stated, "you decide." Participants were asked to provide input on all aspects of the show, and included attendees, exhibitors, and prospects.

"The surveys elicited much more of a response than we were expecting and we are grateful to everyone who took the time to respond," stated Pyle. "We spent weeks pouring through all the feedback we received from the surveys to grasp what the industry wanted from this show - starting with the location, days of the week, and time of the year."

The Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, issued the following alert in December, 2010, regarding dealers and the use of aftermarket parts:

Auto Warranties, Routine Maintenance, and Repairs: Is Using the Dealer a Must?

If you own a car, you know how important it is to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. But can a dealer refuse to honor the warranty that came with your new car if someone else does the routine maintenance or repairs?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says no. In fact, it’s illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads, and inspections. Maintenance schedules vary by vehicle make, model and year; the best source of information about routine scheduled maintenance is your owner’s manual.

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus™ Network recently held its annual Vision Conference at the Marriott Sawgrass resort in Jacksonville, Fla. The conference provided more than 90 leading collision facility owners and managers with world-class training, top industry speakers and group breakout sessions, all with a focus on succeeding in a difficult economic climate. 

“Collision facility owners and managers that attended this conference already outperform the market by almost 10 percent. We’re pleased that Sherwin-Williams can assemble such a successful group of collision industry leaders and be a resource to assist them in continuing to meet their numerous challenges,” said Adam Chafe, Vice President Global Marketing for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes.  “Not only are the top collision centers faced with fewer repair opportunities, increasing performance demands and higher operating costs, but in order to be successful, they must stay ahead of the curve and help drive the culture of the new collision repair industry.”

The A-Plus Network is made up of an exclusive group of collision repair specialists who reflect the industry’s highest standards.  They are part of the Sherwin-Williams leading value added program that combines comprehensive business solutions to help them improve customer service, employee growth, insurance relationships, process refinement, productivity and profitability.

The conference agenda featured many outstanding industry leaders and speakers from the collision repair arena:

•Richard Rule, Senior Consulting Partner, The Ken Blanchard Company, opened the session with an extensive session on creating legendary customer service in  your organization

•George Avery, Estimatics Consultant Property & Casualty Claims, State Farm and President of the National Auto Body Council, provided an overview of NABC’s Recycled Rides program. He also discussed changes and challenges in the collision repair industry and what DRP relations might look like in the future

•Chris Andreoli, Corporate Claims Manager , Progressive Insurance, reviewed Progressive’s current position and collision repair market strategy, including its extensive Concierge program

•Leslie Upham, Director of Commercial Development, Thatcham Organization, presented in-depth analysis and trends within the collision repair industry in the United Kingdom, and how its issues and regulations could affect and assist shop owners and managers in the U.S.

•Tom Hablitzel, President, Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes, reported on the status of the Company, global challenges Sherwin-Williams and its customers face, and where the collision industry is headed in years to come

After keynote speakers were finished, a number of breakout sessions were held in tandem with peer-to-peer discussion groups during the three-day event. The discussion groups gave attendees the chance to review financial performance, discuss lean implementation, build marketing plans and define their goals.

“This conference was intended to support and educate our Vision Group Members as they formulate their 2011 business plans, giving our members the competitive edge to succeed in this challenging environment. The conference is just one of several meetings our Vision Group Members attend and all are designed to keep their businesses at the industry forefront,” added Chafe.

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes began the A-Plus Network Vision Group Program in 2000 and now has two independent owners groups, one manager’s group and two dealership collision center groups. These groups consist of both single and multiple shop owners and managers. Square One Systems, Inc., one of the premier independent “20-Group” providers in the industry, administers and moderates the A-Plus Network Vision Groups.

A-Plus Network members not only benefit through their Vision Group participation, but are also assisted by the program’s many business-building opportunities. These include specialized marketing and management programs, industry leading business training through A-Plus Network University, insurance relations programs, loyalty benefits and specialized programs and services from outstanding contributors.

For more information about the Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus Network, its features, advantages and benefits visit www.sherwin-automotive.com; or call 1-800-SWULTRA (1-800-798-5872).

FinishMaster has donated $52,000 in supplies to three collision programs through the Collision Repair Education Foundation. The donated kits contain an assortment of supplies such as masking tape, adhesive, paint remover, and other items. The schools receiving these donations include: Ivy Tech Community College (Terre Haute, IN), Kennedy-King College (Chicago, IL), and Northcentral Technical College (Wausau, WI).

“FinishMaster is proud to support the Collision Repair Education Foundation and their charter to train and educate the next generation of PBE technicians,” said J.A. Lacy, President and CEO of FinishMaster. “We know our donation will be useful to the technical schools as they prepare for the next semester.”

“FinishMaster’s continued support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation through school product donations assist schools in a time when many instructors are facing budget cuts and might not have the needed supplies to instruct their students,” stated Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director, Scott Kruger. “These supplies help instructors and their collision programs in many ways and the end result is a better educational experience for the students by having the proper hands-on instructional tools. I would like to thank FinishMaster for coming to the aid of the future of the industry once again through their support and donation.”

“I would like to thank FinishMaster and the Collision Repair Education Foundation for wholeheartedly supporting Northcentral Technical College’s (NTC) students,” stated NTC Dean of Technical and Trades, Victoria Pietz. “You have gone above and beyond expectations in providing valuable insight into the development of NTC’s two-year auto collision program, finding ways to help us create a state-of-the-art lab. Without the industry’s support, the continued advancement of auto collision education would not be such a success. It is Northcentral Technical College’s goal to do our part in providing an educational program that works toward continually improving and supporting the needs of the industry with a qualified workforce.”

For additional information about FinishMaster visit www.finishmaster.com.