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HDRF Webinar Episode One Covers State of HD Collision Repair

The HD Repair Forum (HDRF) kicked off the first of six free webinars on July 16, focusing on automated trucking information and the state of the heavy-duty collision repair industry.

Automation

Richard Bishop, president of Richard Bishop Consulting, kicked off the event with a presentation on automation in heavy-duty trucking titled, “Robots on the Road: Outlook for Automated Trucking.” The information shared provided attendees with a look at the evolving technology on today’s
truck. Truck manufacturers are incorporating advanced driver-assistance systems at an accelerated pace, and partnerships like Navistar and TuSimple’s recent announcement are another confirmation of that
fact. Semi-autonomous vehicles will be in shops’ bays sooner than later and repairers need to be prepared.

Bishop’s message to attendees was that their businesses need to continue to
evolve and embrace change. Preparing for the future starts with understanding trends and building a foundation within a business to adapt to the change. Investing in tooling, training and equipment will ensure the business will be able to insure, estimate, repair and service modern vehicles.

Following Bishop’s presentation, John Webb, president of TenPoint Complete, shared a subset of the results from the HD Repair Forum’s inaugural collision industry survey. Additional results will be
provided in a future webinar.

“The goal of the survey is to provide benchmark data on the HD collision repair industry with the intent of expanding its content annually,” said Brian Nessen, CEO of the HDRF. “The results included some surprising information on the current state of HD collision repairers.”

COVID-19

Approximately 87% of repairers surveyed stated that despite the pandemic, they felt positive about their business and prospects for the future. Conversely, 13% of respondents said their business was severely impacted by the pandemic. Although not shared on the call, this is in stark contrast to the automotive collision repair industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Frame Repair

Another interesting statistic pulled from the survey includes what the HDRF characterizes as “great news” for progress in the industry: less than 60% of the shops surveyed repair frame damage within their facility. The HDRF believes this is stat reveals a promising opportunity to educate the industry on the added value on-site frame repair can provide. As it relates to cycle time, it also highlights a problem and potential smoking gun within the
industry: could part of the reason for elongated cycle times be a by-product of sublet repairs, since so many collision shops do not have the ability to repair frame damage in house?

Electronic Estimating

Another surprising statistic coming from the survey is the number of HD collision shops that do not use an electronic estimating system. The HDRF states that this is alarming because most developed and mature industries have already adopted this type of technology. These statistics, the HDRF says, could be an indication that the industry is lagging with a lot of opportunity for growth and improvement.

How Many Shops?

The HD Repair Forum continues to grow its reach and identify shops that offer heavy-duty collision repair. However, survey results indicate the challenge it and many others have faced in knowing how many HD collision repair facilities exist: only 17% of the shops surveyed don’t know who or where their competition is.

“We are committed to providing relevant and timely information to the heavy-duty collision repair industry,” said Nessen. “Our webinars are a natural extension of the annual event held in Fort Worth, Texas.”

Episode two of this six-part series is scheduled for Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. CDT. To register for free, click here.

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