Thursday, 07 December 2017 23:33

Industry Associations Pledge 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

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Most folks view New Year’s Eve as a time to reflect on the recent year and make resolutions for the next as they strive to improve themselves or their lives. 

Collision repair industry associations have also begun preparing for 2018 by beginning to focus on their goals for next year and how they can help their members, advance their organizations and improve the industry for everyone. Several association leaders shared their 2018 New Year’s Resolutions with Autobody News

In 2017, a lot of associations focused on membership growth, bringing educational value to members and pursuing legislative initiatives to improve the industry. Industry professionals can expect to see these endeavors continue into 2018, though industry leaders anticipate taking their efforts to new heights.

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) spent a great deal of this past year on legislative endeavors, and plans to continue these initiatives into the New Year. 

ASA Executive Director Dan Risley shared, “ASA resolves to be represented, engaged and vocal in as many meetings, conferences, hearings, summits and alike in Washington D.C. and around the country that will influence the future direction of this industry, specific to new vehicle technology (telematics, (ADAS) advanced driver assistance systems, autonomous vehicles and the connected car).”

ASA-MI President Ray Fisher noted, “Many folks see legislation as a negative, and I understand that, but what I don’t understand is when someone does not take the opportunity to remove ‘gray areas’ that legislation may provide and turn it into a positive.  I would like to see our industry professionals here in Michigan understand what has been done for them over the last few years by ASA Michigan by being supportive as a member and seizing the opportunity to be properly reimbursed according to the law.  In 1974, the State of Michigan enacted the Motor Vehicle Service & Repair Act to protect consumers.  We updated the law in 2016, but the law actually stipulates that the technician is the expert here in Michigan, and often times during negotiation, tactics are used that may go against the law here in Michigan; I want to see the repair industry abide by the law.  

“For example, if you performed an operation on a vehicle, such as ‘Pre-Scan’ and/or ‘Post-Scan,’ the MVSRA requires that you have that documented on your final invoice, no exceptions.   In accordance, these procedures vary by vehicle manufacturer and so too does the time necessary to perform such functions.  I mentioned earlier about being a member, but if we are not around, who will do it for you?  Happy New Year and let’s start it off together as the professionals that we are!”

Tony Ferraiolo, President of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC), agreed that legislation is imperative, but the CT association will place a lot of emphasis on educating legislators in its state. 

“We are working on educating the state agencies, legislators and representatives on the importance of OEM repair procedures and recommendations, and to recognize who should make repair decisions,” he said.

The North Carolina Association of Collision and Autobody Repair (NCACAR) is a newer association that has been making a huge difference in its area and hopes to gain momentum in 2018. 

According to NCACAR President Brian Davies, the association wants to “make a statement in our industry by submitting (and passing) legislation in the state that has a positive effect on the collision repair industry. One of our main goals from the beginning was to become one of the strongest associations in the U.S., and I believe this would help put us with the greats.”

Increasing membership is another important goal for many associations. 

Risley noted, “ASA also resolves to grow our membership in 2018 by delivering the most relevant and current tools, resources, information and training to the collision and service repair industries.”

Petra Schroeder, Chair of the Women’s Industry Network (WIN®), said, “Our 2018 goals are all about our members. Increase membership, increase actively engaged members, create a connection to lapsed members, expand our local presence, create member connection tools and broaden industry events’ presence. All of this will be supported by a complete change of our technology platform to manage WIN’s day-to-day operations, so that our valued Board and committee volunteers can focus on strategic outcomes.”

Many associations also see a lot of value in encouraging cooperation amongst shops and other industry partners. 

ASA-MA/RI Executive Director Stephen Regan hopes the affiliate chapter will be able “to convince as many industry stakeholders as possible that cooperation will bring more success to all of us, rather than competition and confrontation.  If we spent more time seeking common ground through cooperation and less time seeking individual advantages through denial of repair information or insurer steering, for instance, we would all be better off for it.”

Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) President Burl Richards agreed, adding, “Every shop should share their successes and failures with others.  That in itself will lead to strengthening our industry and educating all of us on a daily basis.”

With these associations at the helm of changes in 2018, the New Year should be exciting for everyone in the industry. My personal resolution for 2018 is to attend as many industry events as possible and meet more industry professionals face-to-face, but if I don’t make it to your area, I’d still love to hear from you with feedback and suggestions to make 2018 the best year yet! Happy New Year!