I recently had the good fortune of attending the first-ever HD (HeavyDuty) Repair Forum in Dallas, and it was a huge success. The event focused on those shops and/or providers that specialize in or are committed to the repair of collision-damaged heavy-duty trucks.
I was surprised at first by the number of attendees and the supplier participation. I guess I shouldn’t have been. It’s estimated that there are more than 12,000 shops doing some sort of medium- or heavy-duty repair, with 3,000 of those heavily focused on these types of repairs. Over half of those are solely dedicated to heavy-duty repair. It will come as no surprise that, while this is collision-based repair, there are some things that make it unique from light-duty repair.
When someone crashes their light-duty passenger vehicle, there’s usually a loaner in place and a lot of emotion around getting the repair completed. The insurer is hot to get the cycle time down, but the owner is probably lukewarm at best about getting the vehicle back. On the heavy-duty side, the landscape is very different. There’s an owner-operator or fleet manager who’s losing big dollars while that rig is sitting idle. Calling that situation emotional is probably an understatement.
Another observation is that repair information on the heavy-duty side is very sparse. This sector is lagging well-behind automotive in repair procedures, especially with the updated systems that are already available on trucks today. I was flabbergasted by terms such as lidar, Mule trucks, platooning and many more. There is much to learn about this segment of collision repair.
I met many great people, like Will Cicalla of Big Wheels Body Shop, Monte Lewis of Monte’s Repair Shop and Steve Wolfe of Diversified Body & Paint Shop.
I also participated in awesome presentations by manufacturers and system suppliers. The afternoon included discussions on cycle time, pre- and post-repair scanning, measuring, labor laws, balancing, heavy-duty welding, hybrid repair, telematics, ADAS and even financial analysis for growth.
In June, look for the NEW HD Repair special section in BodyShop Business. We look forward to working with the HD Repair Forum to bring you exceptional information on this segment.
Enthusiasm for the future of this group is very high. Let’s get all the misfit broken trucks off the island.