Cover Story: SEMA Show – Pedal to the Metal

SEMA Show – Pedal to the Metal

The SEMA show is once again ready to squeal down the track with an arena full of education sessions, cutting edge collision equipment and networking opportunities.


It’s November once again, and that can only mean one thing: SEMA. This year’s show in Las Vegas is back and better than ever and we can barely contain our excitement.

The SEMA Show offers an up-close look at the hottest new cars, automotive equipment and industry celebrities. As the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world, SEMA brings together the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products in one spectacular event. Attend educational seminars, product demos, social events and networking opportunities, all in one location.

Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg explains that the SEMA show has an air of excitement unlike any other tradeshow out there.

“Quite frankly, the show itself, there is an energy and a spark that surrounds the SEMA Show that just doesn’t exist at any other venue that I’ve ever been to,” said Schulenburg. “I think that’s one of the things that I love the most about it is it’s so inspiring to take in the information and to learn about how to better your business when you’re in an environment that makes the industry fun and exciting, and I think it just makes everybody more receptive to the information that they’re getting. I think the show as a whole is just something that’s really special for the industry.”

This year’s Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series, which SCRS puts on, is filled with new speakers and new content addressing issues that shops are facing on a daily basis.

“There’s always new stuff in store for the program,” said Schulenburg. “We have a number of new speakers this year. Most of the programs being offered are new, and there’s still a couple of areas that are under development, but we’re really excited about the number of individuals that are coming in that we haven’t had participate in the program before.

“I think that we have a number of really cool pieces. There’s a lot of other first-time presenters as well. That’s one of the things that’s breathed a lot of freshness into this program: new folks bringing new ideas, all of which are really relevant to today’s marketplace.”

The Collision Industry Conference (CIC) will also take place Nov. 1-2 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., in conjunction with SEMA, at the Westgate Las Vegas Hotel, hosting collision professionals who will be discussing the hottest topics and trends in the industry. A reception will be held on Nov. 1st at 6:30 p.m.

Schulenburg says there isn’t any event that has a more comprehensive agenda of events or things specific to collision repairers than SEMA.

“I just don’t think that there’s anywhere else where you can go and get that energy, get that diversity of content, and yet the specificity of the collision repair programs that are there. It’s just a really well put together package and I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to anybody who has attended who hasn’t gotten the value they were looking for out of participating.”

Repairer Driven Education Schedule

Tuesday, Nov. 1

9:30-11:30 a.m.

  • RDE1 Family Business Succession – The Family Component Lee Rush, Sherwin-Williams It is estimated 70 percent of family businesses will not survive into the second generation and 90 percent will not make it to the third generation. These owners cannot be held completely responsible for these succession failures. Professional advisers to family-owned and operated businesses need to acknowledge that they are in part responsible for these failures. Too much attention is being paid to the wealth management of succession and too little attention is being paid to the people component – the family component. By providing the participant with the tools necessary to develop a sound “succession plan,” they will have the ability to effectively manage the family component that has proven to be the major stumbling block for family businesses in the succession process.
  • RDE2 Developing New Talent in a Shrinking Workforce While Reducing Labor Cost Charlie Whitaker, Valspar Today, more than ever, body shop owners are faced with the challenges of delivering a quality product and service in a timely manner, yet remain profitable in a market of rising cost. To make matters worse, we are faced with the shrinkage of a quality workforce. So how do we deliver a quality product in a timely manner and remain profitable? People! More importantly, the right people! Through this class, owners and managers can expect to take away methods of attracting quality employees while not having to sacrifice on our hiring standards.
  • RDE3 The Future Landscape of Accident Repairs Dave Gruskos, Reliable Automotive Equipment, Inc. With the growing use of accident avoidance systems, 80 percent of all repairs are limited to one to three non-structural panels. So how will shops investing in delivering OEM-quality repairs contend with insurers seeking fast-track, low-cost repair solutions? How can you optimize your opportunities, and what preparation is necessary to tap into future trends? Learn about future automaker programs that will work with the collision repair facility to build a bridge in order to increase consumer satisfaction.

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

  • FREE1 Lessons from Beyond the Repair: Highlighting the Importance of Proper Repairs with American Honda This session will take a look at the importance of following OEM repair procedures, and how damage can be multiplied in the repair when that doesn’t occur. The vehicle in this case study was part of a post-repair inspection process that highlighted the failed initial repair. When the consumer’s vehicle was first delivered, the owners immediately noticed misaligned panels and gaps that suggested serious problems with the quality and safety of the repair. What they ultimately found was far worse than they could have imagined. There are valuable lessons to be gained from this story, and an opportunity to avoid replicating similar mistakes by understanding the resulting outcome.

12:30-2:30 p.m.

  • RDE4 Today’s Marketing Landscape: Reaching People, Not Demographics Frank Terlep, Summit eMarketing Sherpas In today’s world, a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing does not work. This is especially true when it comes to marketing to different age groups and buyer personas. When dealing with different age groups, genders, income levels, etc., you need to be flexible and understand the psychology and habits of each customer. As small business owners, collision repair professionals expect a rapid and high return on their marketing investment. Today, the most successful sales, marketing, and customer service results are generated by understanding your potential customers’ buying persona, utilizing the right tools, technologies, and techniques for each persona and then measuring the results of your efforts through each personas’ buying cycle.
  • RDE5 Maximize Quality Control to Minimize Re-work and Liability Dennis Keicher, 3M, and Shawn Collin, 3M In this two-part quality control program, attendees will take a look at repair procedures that can produce large headaches if not done properly, and ways to avoid failures through proper application.
  • RDE6 You Charge How Much Per Hour?! Tim Ronak, AkzoNobel Automotive and Aerospace Coatings NA This session explores the rapidly declining labor GP% due directly to the required additional costs of investment in equipment, facility and training for repairers to remain capable of safe repairs. Strategies will be explored to understand the pricing mechanisms at your disposal to offset these rising business costs to justify a return on that capital expenditure.

3-5 p.m.

  • RDE7 Case Study of the Procedures for Steel Quarter Panel Replacement Larry Montanez, P&L Consultants
  • RDE8 Competing with Consolidation: 5 Ways to Make More Money and Outmaneuver Your Biggest Competitors in 2017 Brad Mewes, Supplement The collision industry is consolidating. Are you prepared for what the future holds? In this session, you will discover concrete ways to make more money and outmaneuver your biggest competitors in 2017.
  • RDE9 The Millennial Takeover – Your 5-Year Survival Guide Mark Claypool, Optima Automotive Few shop owners/managers know the things that motivate Millennials, what their value system is, how they learn differently than any others you’ve ever trained before or how to retain them once they land in your shop. In this dynamic, hands-on workshop you’ll learn how to “adapt to attract” and “explain to retain” them in our industry’s workforce.

Wednesday, Nov. 2

9:30-11:30 a.m.

  • RDE10 Structural Repair and Materials for 2016 and Beyond Ken Boylan, Chief Automotive As automotive construction and technology evolves, so do the methods and materials that are used to repair vehicles. In this course, we will explain the current and future trends our industry is facing with new materials and joining technologies that are associated with them. Both fusion and non-fusion technologies for steels that are 10 to 100 percent stronger than today’s metals, super lightweight and very strong composites that are being developed for automotive uses, exotic materials being developed and hybrid joining technologies are all topics of discussion.
  • RDE11 Repair Plan Like You Mean It Michael Giarrizzo, Jr., DCR Systems LLC This session will focus on how shops can improve their repair planning processes. Many shops claim to be repair planning, but when challenged, they can’t quantify how it has improved any business metrics. Part of the reason is that they aren’t measuring their repair planning efficiency, but a bigger reason is because they aren’t repair planning properly and, therefore, are not achieving the potential and desired results.
  • RDE12 Selling and Marketing in an Increasingly Competitive Marketplace Steve Trapp, Axalta Coating Systems The attendee will get some insight to industry market data on what drives consumer decisions to select a location or business to get their vehicle repaired. We will then show data on what influences their purchasing decision.

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

  • FREE2 Accessing and Utilizing OEM Collision Repair Procedures and Documentation Chris Caris, OEM Collision Repair Roundtable This session will give insight into the array of OEM documentation available to the collision industry, in the form of technical bulletins, repair manuals, position statements and consumer oriented collision information. Come learn direct from automaker representatives where to find information that can help you both perform and document your repair process.

12:30-2:30 p.m.

  • RDE13 Marketing to Your Referral Sources – The Business of Acquiring Business Leads Frank LaViola, Collision Industry Marketing The focus of this class will be to help collision repairers grow their business through a targeted marketing plan. The class is for both those that do DRP business and those that don’t. The times of hoping a car drives into your driveway or an assignment is received needs to be looked at as icing on the cake. Business growth will only come to those who pursue it relentlessly.
  • RDE14 Address Problems in the Shop Before They Happen Mike Jones, Discover Leadership Training This presentation is focused on the people on your team, their behavior, how they interact with each other and the effectiveness of the communication between them so things get done right the first time to increase productivity.
  • RDE15 2020 The Future of Staffing – How to Find, Train and Pay Qualified People Mike Lanza, Sherwin-Williams Fast-forward to the year 2020 and beyond. What will it be like relative to the world of staffing? While no one knows for sure what 2020 will bring until it’s here, it is important to look forward and prepare for the possibilities. What will be different? What trends might drive your staffing needs, requirements and considerations? What challenges and obstacles will our industry face? What sectors of staffing will likely be “hot” and not so hot?

3-5 p.m.

  • RDE16 How to Find “Open Capacity” in Any Body Shop – Uncovering Your Hidden Factory Mike Lanza, Sherwin-Williams What is increasing capacity? Let’s start with a simple definition. Capacity is the maximum amount your collision center can produce. Capacity is increased either to meet an actual (immediate) increase in customer demand or an anticipated (future) increase in customer demand. Discover your untapped potential in your current facility by uncovering your hidden factory and moving your business toward perfect production.
  • RDE17 Who Pays for What? Interpreting the Results for Your Business Michael Anderson, Collision Advice Have you ever heard from an insurance appraiser, “You are the only one who asks to be paid for that?” Find out the truth of who pays for what, based on quarterly surveys conducted by Mike Anderson of Collision Advice and the CRASH Network. Each survey asks shops how often they get reimbursed or paid for not-included operations from the top 10 insurance carriers.
  • RDE18 What the Collision Industry Needs to Know, Today Tom McGee, Spanesi This session will provide you with an understanding of the who, what, where, why, and how to success and survival in today’s collision industry. Constant changes in vehicle technology, repair planning, equipment strategy, staffing, and marketing are all impacting stress levels, repair quality and profitability.

Thursday, Nov. 3

9:30-11:30 a.m.

  • OEM1 Collision Repair Technology Summit Moderator John Ellis of Ellis & Associates, who previously served as global technologist and head of the Ford Developer Program As vehicle technology and function advance to meet consumer expectations for safety, convenience and luxury options, and the role of diagnosing accident and repair-related failures in the systems becomes more complex, restoring the functions, calibrating sensors and documenting the restoration of the technological elements in the vehicle becomes a pivotal part of the repair process. Moderator John Ellis of Ellis & Associates will lead a two-part panel to explore the responsibilities expected of the collision repair providers and solutions available for the industry to fulfill those tasks.

12:30-2:30 p.m.

  • OEM2 Collision Repair Technology Summit Mark Voss, engineering group manager, Body Structures Advanced Composites, General Motors Co. Voss will lead an exploratory discussion on the role composites will play in advanced vehicle construction. The presentation will explore current and future use cases of advanced composite materials, the process and advantages the material presents to automakers, how it is and can be used, and repair considerations.

3-5 p.m.

  • OEM3 Collision Repair Technology Summit This session will include collision repairer-moderated panels that will feature training instructors and curriculum developers from some of the most prestigious automaker training academies, to discuss the programs available to the industry, both at a technical level as well as an industry awareness level. In-person trainers have a unique insight into the existing challenges our technical staff have as they enter the training room doors, and the skills they acquire after they leave. The conversation will address proficiency expectations, preparatory steps collision repair facilities can take in order to achieve better results with technicians, and, in addition to exploring the technical staff training and testing processes, the discussion will also look at training targeted at raising awareness beyond the repair shop floor. The panel discussion will provide interactive opportunities for audience members to participate in the discussion.

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

  • FREE3 Color Matching and Styling: More Than Painting by Numbers Bill Eibon, director, Technology Acquisition, PPG OEM Coatings As you finish repairing, restoring or customizing a car, when you enter the paint booth, only one thing should be on your mind: If it doesn’t match, it doesn’t matter. For the collision center: Where in the world did the OE manufacturer come up with their color palette, and how do I match it? Come learn the complexity involved in formulating and matching the new colors. Come learn the latest details of OE styling trends as well as the challenges these newer colors present to a collision center.

9 p.m-12 a.m.

  • SCRS RDE Sky Villa After Party After a long and fulfilling week of traversing booths on the show floor and attending educational classes to better your business, you’ve earned a remarkable evening of luxury, Las Vegas style! Located in one of the famed Sky Villa suites at the Westgate Hotel, this after-hours event gives you the opportunity to relax and network with some of the collision industry’s most influential leaders and educators, all while taking in the views of Las Vegas in some of the most recognized high-roller suites in the city. Better yet, you can avoid the cab lines altogether by spending your evening within walking distance from the adjacent SEMA Show floor. Access to the event is through the VIP elevators in the Central Hall of the Westgate Hotel lobby.

Friday, Nov. 4

9:30-11:30 a.m.

  • RDE19 Scheduling and Workflow Solutions Thomas Hoerner, BASF The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the scheduling process (or lack of) and how balancing vehicle intake affects work-in-process (WIP), cycle time and touch time. During the workshop, you will see first hand in a workflow simulation how balanced scheduling improves workflow. Discussions include calculating WIP caps, providing scheduling considerations to break the Monday to Friday repair plan and how too much work kills productivity. When we conclude, we hope you find takeaways that you can begin implementing quickly and see performance benefits.
  • RDE20 Managing Collision Centers’ Technical Training Needs of Today and Tomorrow Patrice Marcil, Axalta Coating Systems The objective of this session is to review the technical training needs in today’s collision centers and how the instructor/classroom model is no longer keeping up. The session will look at different ways, from eLearning modules to virtual classroom and blended learning, to train and maintain a high level of technical competency and efficiency while addressing the costs, time and travel constraints of today.
  • RDE21 Optimizing the Consumer Experience Michael Callahan and Will Shen, CCC Information Services Maintaining strong customer relationships is crucial to your success. This session will demonstrate best practices and techniques to optimize the customer experience.

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

  • FREE4 Documenting Commonly Performed, and Often Overlooked Collision Repair Estimate Items Ron Reichen, Precision Body and Paint Estimating systems are used by many business in the collision repair industry to capture the operations being performed on the shop floor. Too often, there are common repair steps that are either overlooked, or assumed to be included in associated labor operations. Not leaving non-included operations on the table starts with a solid understanding of the estimating systems and how they address these items. This session will include representatives of some of the leading information providers who will help highlight how their system operates.

12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

  • RDE22 Competing with the Talking Car – Virtual Steering Steven Feltovich, Sherwin-Williams Connected car technology may lead to fewer or less severe accidents, and it will certainly revolutionize the way the collision repair industry manages accidents when they occur. Vehicles involved in accidents will communicate directly with insurers, detailing the accident and severity of the damage. The car will be automatically connected with emergency and towing services, providing exact location of the accident. This session will explain the various emerging technologies and vehicle changes that will directly impact collision repairers and their customers. Additionally, it will provide ideas on how to use these technologies to continue to be competitive in the collision repair industry.
  • RDE23 Advanced Vehicle Systems: Are We Ready? Jake Rodenroth, Collision Diagnostic Services This presentation will introduce the role that diagnostics play in a collision repair environment. The content will cover a variety of advanced vehicle systems and how a shop should react when these systems are encountered. Due to the nature of how these systems work, they often have an effect on repair vs. replace and part type selection. The goal of this content is to educate all collision repair stakeholders on the need, role and outcome of collision diagnostics.
  • RDE24 Case Study of the Procedures for Steel Quarter Panel Replacement Speaker: Larry Montanez, P&L Consultants This program will discuss the procedures required to replace a steel quarter panel. We will discuss the similarities of quarter panel replacement of a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Audi A5, and we will also discuss the slight differences. We will also discuss the additional not-included procedures and materials required to perform a proper repair following the OEM procedure.


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