John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn 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 john@crashnetwork.com 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018 11:42

Retro News: Keynote Speaker at Trade Show 5 Years Ago Said Industry Was Headed Toward Catastrophe

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In 2013, Mike Anderson offered a keynote address at NACE, warning that efforts to reduce cycle time and severity could push the industry toward a “catastrophe like the Space Shuttle Challenger.” In 2013, Mike Anderson offered a keynote address at NACE, warning that efforts to reduce cycle time and severity could push the industry toward a “catastrophe like the Space Shuttle Challenger.”


20 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (October 1998)


Jack Gillis of CAPA perhaps best summed up a demonstration of non-OEM parts at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in October when he said, “Not one of our better days.”


The demonstration, arranged by the CIC Parts and Airbags Committee, involved installing several non-OEM parts, including a hood and fender that bore the CAPA-certified sticker, on an undamaged 1994 Toyota Camry. Fit and other problems with the parts were obvious, and after the demonstration, Gillis said neither of the parts would be listed as certified in the next Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) directory.


The fender, he said, had been decertified earlier in the week because of more than 20 complaints, including one the week of the CIC demonstration that was the second complaint after the manufacturer had supposedly fixed earlier problems with the part.


- Test fits of parts continued at CIC meetings over the next two years; OEM parts generally were found to score higher in attendees’ evaluations of fit and finish, but occasionally non-OEM parts were rated as equal to---and in one case, better than---the OEM. Gillis retired from CAPA earlier this year.


15 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (October 2003)

In a special two-year study of the auto body repair industry, the California Department of Consumers Affairs’ Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) documented that in nearly half the transactions it studied, consumers were charged for parts and labor they didn’t receive.


The BAR inspected 1,315 vehicles that qualified as part of a pilot program mandated by legislation. Of those, 551, or 42 percent, had parts or labor listed on the invoice that were not actually supplied or performed. The average dollar amount of overbilling was $811.93.


“We’re disturbed by the pattern of problems we found in some shops,” said BAR Chief Patrick Dorais.


– As reported in Autobody News. While the “42 percent” statistic received a lot of attention, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) noted (in the article) that the vehicles inspected were not randomly selected among all those repaired in California, but rather were vehicles brought to the BAR by owners concerned about possible fraud. “Considering the way the sample was skewed by the BAR’s methodology, it is more surprising that 57 percent of the repaired vehicles showed no problems at all,” Chuck Sulkala of the NABC said at the time.

10 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (October 2008)


The estimating system providers are being very responsive to questions posted on the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), according to Aaron Schulenburg, the administrator of the system.


The website (degweb.org) is designed to provide a single, simplified way to question labor times or missing or incorrect information in any of the major estimating systems. The DEG, which was created and is jointly operated by SCRS, ASA and AASP, posts and tracks the inquiries and responses.


“The information providers are doing a great job of providing strong responses that are useful and informative,” Schulenburg said. “And they are doing it very quickly.”


One example: Inquiry No. 713, a concern about the Audatex labor time for a right front side rail reinforcement on a 2007 Mercedes Benz SL 550. Two days after the DEG submitted the inquiry to Audatex, the labor time was increased by more than six hours.


Schulenburg said 2--4-day responses by the system providers are not uncommon.


But some in the industry have questioned whether such prompt responses will continue if competition among the estimating system providers is reduced by the proposed merger of CCC Information Services and Mitchell International (CRASH 6/9/08). That’s an issue more than one source told CRASH Network they raised with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when the regulator spoke with them during its continuing review of the proposed CCC-Mitchell merger.


– As reported in CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com), October 20, 2008. Schulenburg left the DEG just two months later to become executive director of SCRS. The DEG has now processed more than 12,000 inquiries. CCC and Mitchell called off their merger plans in March of 2009 after a federal district court judge granted a FTC request for a preliminary injunction to halt the merger pending a FTC’s administrative trial that was slated for later that month.


5 Years Ago in the Collision Repair Industry (October 2013)


NACE organizers on Friday said it would be about a week before final attendance figures would be announced, and though the number would be down from 16,000 last year, it would meet their projections for this year’s event.

The trade show, held in Las Vegas just three weeks before SEMA, included 170 exhibitors, down 28 percent from last year and the fewest since 1985. But the MSO Symposium continued to prove popular, attracting nearly 300 MSO representatives, and exhibitors said they appreciated that the welcome party and a dozen free informational sessions were held on the show floor.


Also widely praised was the opening keynote address by industry trainer and consultant Mike Anderson. Among his messages: A study following the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster found that a culture at NASA of “relaxing safety standards to meet financial and time constraints” set the stage for that failure.


“If we continue to let certain things dictate our industry, we’re going to have a catastrophe like the Space Shuttle Challenger,” Anderson said.


In some ways, he said, insurer pressures to cut cycle time have forced the industry to improve.


“But if we keep focusing on cycle time and … severity because we’re afraid about the costs being too high, if we start focusing on the wrong things, we’re going to have a catastrophic event just like NASA did,” Anderson said.


– As reported in CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com), October 21, 2013. Since 2014, the trade show has been renamed NACE Automechanika and has been held in Detroit, Chicago, Anaheim and Atlanta. It is slated to return to Atlanta in 2019.