Monday, 20 November 2017 15:08

AkzoNobel Meeting Held in CA to Help Shops Become ‘Repairers of Choice’

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NAPG Attendees Share Thoughts on the Benefits of Attending Performance Group Meetings


Paul Cook, general manager of "A" Auto Body in Midlothian, VA, has attended the Acoat meetings for the last three years. Paul Cook, general manager of "A" Auto Body in Midlothian, VA, has attended the Acoat meetings for the last three years. 

“The desire to improve and grow as a business and to know where we stand in our improvement and growth is what made us want to start coming. It's nice to know other shops face the same issues we do. It's also great to be able to set goals to achieve as a company and know that our peers will hold us accountable at the next meeting. It really makes you focus on the business and improve it---not just for us, but for our employees and the customers. It has helped us focus on our processes and improve them so we are able to be more organized and streamline the repairs to be able to decrease our cycle time without making our quality suffer. They are also a great place to share new ideas, and to hear that what works for some may work for us as well. If at any time we have a question, we know we can call another shop in our group and they are there to help us and answer questions.”


Tim Doyle, collision center director at Lindsay Collision in the Washington D.C. area, has been coming to the Acoat meetings for the past 12 years. 


“I originally started when I switched to their paint and was looking for more business solutions. I soon realized how helpful they were for my business, and I never looked back. They have helped me grow from one store to four, and my flagship store produces over 650 cars per month. I would never have been able to process or handle that volume without AkzoNobel’s help. They have helped me with everything from pay plans, shop layout, equipment recommendations, processes and taught me about PCE (process-centered environment) all along the way. It’s always good to get away from your shop and learn from other people. We share financial information with the group and review the good, the bad and even the ugly, but we are all there to help one another. If one shop is struggling in a certain area, the shop that is performing the best shares what they do and we all learn from it.”


Jay Flores, owner and president of Tony’s Body Shop in Oxnard, CA, has been involved in the Acoat program for more than 20 years. He is currently mentoring another shop owner and encouraged him to get involved in the performance groups. 


“I tell him, ‘You’ve been in the dark and trying to run your business and learn things on your own. Now, you’re not in the dark and you get to associate with other good businesses.’ I was a small mom-and-pop shop and wasn’t exposed to other businesses. I decided to attend the Acoat program and what it did was inspire me to learn more about my business. I remember meeting shop owners earning $1 million-plus a month in sales. Over the years, my shop has grown because of my affiliation with the program. I’ve found that the performance groups tend to include shops from across the United States that are also looking to better their businesses. Shops are looking for answers because they are in the dark---they are in their little box, never leaving their towns and wondering why things don’t change. Sometimes we get tired of working in our industry and all the things that come with it. After attending the meetings, I get rejuvenated. I hear other people talk about their problems and solutions and I come back ready to work again and be successful.”


Gabriel Francis, sales representative for LKQ, was a first-time attendee. 

“As a first-time attendee, I think it was very beneficial. I had a chance to see how the groups operate. I had a customer with me and it was her first time too, so she had a chance to share her experiences with me. Also, I had the opportunity to see new products. I thought it was a great experience.”

Eric McKenzie, director of body shop operations, attended his first Acoat meeting in 2007 after joining Park Place Dealerships, located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 

“I came on the advice of several AkzoNobel employees who worked with me and recommended the meetings. The knowledge and insight that I learn from meeting with my industry peers twice a year have been invaluable. It is great to be around people who do the same things I do every day in other parts of the country and to be able to exchange best practices and ideas for improving each of our businesses. I have learned too many marketing ideas to count as well, such as ideas for production and personnel management, to name a few.”

Wes Steffen, owner of Elmer’s Body Shop in Elkhart, IN, said that at least one member of the family business has participated in the Acoat program since 1999.