John Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for a preview of what lies ahead for the collision repair industry? Look no further than some key statements made in 2010 that likely will continue to reverberate in 2011.
As it has for 28 years, the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) served as an annual meeting place for the collision repair industry when it was held in Las Vegas in mid-October.
A number of automakers in recent weeks have issued bulletins, launched programs or made announcements that could impact collision repairers —whether at dealerships or independent shops. Here’s a wrap-up of this recent news from the OEMs.
Concerns about data privacy prompted the formation this spring at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) of a taskforce focused on the subject. At CIC in Chicago in July, Tony Passwater, an industry trainer and executive director of the Indiana Auto Body Association, said that the new taskforce that he chairs has in recent weeks been discussing and finalizing its objectives.
John Edelen said that three years ago when he stepped out of retirement to take on the role as CEO of I-CAR, someone well-known and respected in the industry asked him why he would “waste his time” with an organization like I-CAR that was “no longer relevant.”
If the industry developed a formal set of “repair standards,” what then?
Organizers of the annual International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS), face a difficult assignment: bringing together two days of presentations on industry issues that will be of interest and value to a diverse group of attendees—insurers, repairers and industry vendors—hailing from about two dozen different countries.
Much of what gets written and talked about regarding “lean” in collision shops focuses on recommended changes in the office and body department. But streamlining in those areas will only lead to backlogs if some lean-thinking isn’t done in the paint shop as well.
The fallout in recent months from concerns raised about non-OEM bumper and structural parts raised by industry trainer Toby Chess was clearly on the minds of the parts manufacturers and distributors gathered in Indianapolis, Ind., this spring for the Automotive Body Parts Association’s 30th annual meeting.
On its surface, the proposal seems fairly straight-forward.
Organizers of the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) say that even just weeks before the 26th annual event in November they were concerned that, given the economy, attendance could be down as much as 20% from last year.
Owning a collision repair business shouldn’t just be a way to provide yourself with a job. It also should be an investment—with the “dividends” of a paycheck or other benefits as you go, but with the real pay-off at the end: When you “cash out” by selling the business, whether that’s to a family member, an industry consolidator, a trusted employee or other investor.
CCC Information Services continued to come under a barrage of criticism at the most recent Collision Industry Conference (CIC) for a change the company has made its Pathways estimating system.
In the last 12 months, approximately 21,500 collision repair technicians—about one in every 9 currently working in shops—left the trade. That doesn’t mean they left to go to work for another shop; that means they are no longer turning wrenches.