Encouraging Continued Education Through Your Trusted Distribution Partner - BodyShop Business

Encouraging Continued Education Through Your Trusted Distribution Partner

Sponsored by LKQ FinishMaster

In today’s collision repair industry, it’s crucial to acknowledge the fact that vehicles have undergone significant changes. These changes have been so extensive that they can no longer be compared to our parents’ or grandparents’ vehicles. We were used to straightening metal, sanding, and spraying paint, but now we have to be computer technicians, metallurgy experts, and researchers because vehicles are now comprised of many different substrates and advanced technologies. As a result, staying up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques is essential to ensure we can provide our customers with the best possible service. This is why all industry professionals must embrace a culture of learning, regardless of how many years of experience they possess, which can be a difficult task because we know how much time it can take away from responsibilities in the shop. However, continued education is a critical element for keeping up with the newer technologies introduced into the collision repair industry, and it can optimize shop efficiencies and increase revenue.

Continued education has always been prevalent, but as cars and equipment continue to evolve, training is more important than ever. Technology is advancing so quickly that it feels like we can barely keep up. The advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in vehicles are designed for the safety and protection of the driver. We need training on troubleshooting and restoring these systems to working order after a collision to avoid risking lives and taking on huge liability. But suppose you don’t have the skills in your facility to calibrate and repair ADAS systems per the manufacturer’s specifications. In that case, you will need to either a) train your staff and purchase OEM-approved calibration equipment, service information, and scan tools or b) outsource to a company like Elitek, which is an industry leader in mobile and remote ADAS calibration and diagnostics utilizing the latest OEM-approved calibration equipment and tools.

One way to promote continued education in your shop is to utilize your network! It’s about what you know AND who you know. Nurture the relationships with your vendors and non-competitive shops in your local market and stay in the know by attending industry conferences and seminars, many of which simultaneously offer industry workshops and classes during the event.

Body shops can leverage their relationships with trusted distribution partners to take advantage of their intricate network of industry connections. For example, LKQ FinishMaster has a national footprint of branch locations and experienced team members who can connect you with the right people and keep an eye out for continued education (CE) offerings. And remember the countless manufacturers and vendors they have established partnerships with, like 3M, AkzoNobel, Axalta, and PPG. These vendors can facilitate hands-on or virtual learning for your team. Many of these larger manufacturers have training centers or facilities for hosting seminars onsite.

Your local sales and tech reps are typically just a phone call or text away from helping you. Through their local network, they have the ability to organize training right at your shop. Many times, if you have a last-minute request, your local tech rep can visit your shop to demo new or existing products and show you how to use them properly.

Training is offered in-person, virtually, and even through a new approach of combining in-person with online sessions. Whether it’s at the local level or requires some travel, it’s simple to find in-person training offered through certification courses, manufacturers, body shops, and more.

If you find yourself with only a small window of time for CE, many training courses and certifications can be found through ASE and I-CAR. Both organizations have a variety of training options and/or certification courses equipped to keep collision repair specialists up to date on the latest vehicle advancements, equipment, and repair techniques.

It takes a village! Remember, you’re not alone, and there may be non-competing body shops you could connect with who have intel on training or CE classes.

Time is money, and shops are extremely busy and understaffed, making finding time for anything outside of work difficult. You may think spending your time on training versus production on the shop floor can hurt your shop’s productivity, but consider this: an I-CAR study found that after taking role-based training from I-CAR’s Professional Development Program, all of the participating facilities saw increased monthly revenue with half of those shops averaging a 5% increase and the other half averaging more than a 10% increase in revenue. Additionally, on average, touch time improved by 45%, CSI scores improved by more than 5%, and cycle time improved by 14%. But if crunched for time, fear not: some organizations offer combined in-person and virtual training sessions— virtual for parts of the training that don’t need to happen face to face and in-person for the training elements that require necessary hands-on training.

Take the first step in advocating continued education for your team by reaching out to your local LKQ rep or going to the following sites for more information:

LKQ – https://www.lkqcorp.com/contact-us/

Elitek – https://elitekauto.com/contact-us/

I-CAR – https://www.i-car.com/s/

ASE – https://www.ase.com/

Through your distribution partner’s expanded network, you can work with extensive resources to support the continued education and training your team needs.

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