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Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips photoStacey Phillips is a freelance writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has 20 years of experience as an editor including writing in a number of businesses and fields.


She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com. 

Monday, 11 May 2020 15:55

Sherwin-Williams Ecolean University Announces Free Virtual Courses to Support Industry During COVID-19

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Craig Wise, manager of business consulting services for Sherwin-Williams, talked about workshop optimization during one of the company’s free virtual courses. Craig Wise, manager of business consulting services for Sherwin-Williams, talked about workshop optimization during one of the company’s free virtual courses.


When the COVID-19 situation was first becoming more prevalent in the U.S., Sherwin-Williams realized the importance of offering educational content to the industry.

“As we looked at the trends in the industry and the massive changes happening with the COVID-19 situation, we realized shops needed access to information and training very quickly,” said Ted Williams, global director of business services for Sherwin Williams. “We recognize that business operators are going to need to be much more efficient as the industry returns to work and turn that efficiency into profit.”


As a result, the company implemented a virtual series of online courses in March open to the entire industry, as part of its Ecolean University program. They have held 16 free live webinars in April, with more than 32 hours of educational content, focusing on operational processes and best practices for collision repair facilities. These include a broad range of topics such as damage analysis, estimating, the millennial takeover and global industry perspectives. Another 11 sessions are planned in May.


The sessions typically run an hour and a half to two hours. All of them are recorded and available for replay online at ecoleanuniversity.com.


“We want to look at the longevity of the collision repair industry and help it grow. In times of crisis, our industry has to think big and support each other,” said Williams. “The need for information, education and support is universal.”


Prior to holding virtual classes, the company regularly delivered educational content to customers through their Ecolean University program. This involved holding two-and-a-half-day training sessions several times a year, as well as full-day sessions in regional markets across the country.


“Thousands of hours have gone into building this content, and we made the decision to open that up and offer it for free,” said Williams.


Some of the current online courses are based on the content previously delivered in person, while other courses have been recently developed by their consultant team.


“In a normal, pre-COVID-19 situation, these consultants, averaging 25-plus years of experience each, spend three-quarters of their year on the shop floor, in order to keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry,” he said.


Over the years, Williams said the company has recognized collision centers have become busier and busier. As a result, he said it has become more difficult for them to send their employees out of the market for training.

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