AkzoNobel Collision Industry Experts Event Focuses on Business Strategies for Repairers

Attendees learned about four-day workweeks, choosing the right OEM certifications for their shops and more.

AkzoNobel-Collision-Industry-Experts-Event-CA-2024
AkzoNobel team members and industry speakers shared insight about topical issues during the May 9 Collision Industry Experts Event.

Approximately 280 shop owners from 180 cities and 28 states gathered May 9 at the AkzoNobel Collision Industry Experts Event (CIEE) in Orange, CA.

Throughout the day, attendees had an opportunity to network with colleagues and attend educational sessions led by AkzoNobel team members.

To be successful in a competitive environment, Dan Carranza, AkzoNobel’s national sales director, Vehicle Refinishes USA-Mexico, stressed the importance of continuous learning and working on the business.

Dan CarranzaDan Carranza of AkzoNobel welcoming shop owners.

“It’s the work you are doing when the lights are off, outside of 8-5, attending functions like this and honing in on your craft,” he said.

Highlights from Educational Sessions

Amy Durbin, Vehicle Refinishes key account manager and former North America talent acquisition manager, discussed small business human resources (HR) best practices and recommended managers “know what they need to know” daily to do the right thing. She said HR compliance doesn’t have to be complicated and imparted some basic compliance principles.

Business services consultant Tony Adams talked about implementing a four-day workweek. He explored the pros and cons of how a shop owner can decide if it is the right fit for their facility. Kena Dacus, owner of Dacus Auto Body & Collision Repair in Kansas, also shared her shop’s experience implementing this atypical schedule for employees.

Tim Ronak, senior services business consultant, assisted shop owners and managers in navigating the OEM selection and application process. This included exploring the best opportunities for OEM certifications, which ones make financial sense for the facility, and how to get started. He also reviewed current tools to capitalize on OEM certification options.

To help create raving fans at a shop, Rick Fifer, services development manager, talked about the value of managing customers’ expectations and the opportunity to shape customer perception before conducting the initial damage review. He also discussed the impact a shop’s initial damage review and scheduling process have on cycle time and customer satisfaction.

Senior Services Consultant Jeff Baker shared information on how to supercharge staff engagement to maximize profit flow with “Gamification.” He also explored using interactive tools to improve a business’s process, sustain change, improve employment engagement and enhance key measurements.

Collision coach strategies were shared by Jim Lovejoy, senior services consultant. Lovejoy explained why increased awareness of coaching is important, identified attendees’ preferred coaching style, and provided a step-by-step process for coaching employees in three standard situations.

New refinishing processes were discussed by western technical manager Ryan Brown. As vehicle technology evolves, Brown said refinishing systems may impact composite materials. He provided tips on quickly reviewing and identifying the correct refinish process and product to do a proper repair.

Michael Giarrizzo and Pam Giarrizzo from DCR Systems talked about streamlining a business’ process to focus staff and boost profit. During the session, attendees learned techniques to streamline and clearly document and communicate the shop’s process while optimizing staff and equipment. The presenters also reviewed how to identify process waste.

Industry Speakers Provide Insight

Carranza shared the one word he has used -- inspire -- to transform his team, business culture and personal life, based on the book “The One Word That Will Change Your Life.” He also explained his vision of how one word can positively impact the collision repair industry into a “Do Something Industry.”

Debby Robinson, executive director of the National Auto Body Council (NABC), talked about becoming a community collision repairer of choice. She shared insight into creating a community outreach program based on a business’s strategy, time and resources, the area’s needs and employees’ personal interests.

From his experience working with shops, OEMs and software companies, Collision Advice President Mike Anderson discussed what a collision repairer’s business success looks like today vs. what it will look like tomorrow. This included moving to a four-day workweek, trends with OEM insurance and certifications, and how environmental, social and governance (ESG) may impact the industry.

All photos by Stacey Phillips Ronak.

Stacey Phillips Ronak

Columnist
Stacey Phillips Ronak is an award-winning writer for the automotive industry and a regular columnist for Autobody News based in Southern California.

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