Here’s to the New Year - BodyShop Business

Here’s to the New Year

As I sat on a plane headed for the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) several weeks ago, my thoughts turned toward what the upcoming event might bring. It wasn’t until I finally reached the show floor that I was struck with that overwhelming feeling of how we the BodyShop Business team were going to accomplish all that needed to be done at such a gathering. At NACE, it’s important for us to see and talk to as many of you, our readers, as possible while also fitting in time to see new products and keep up on the industry. During this year’s show, we were able to accomplish all of that, and we look forward to bringing you information and data on all the current industry trends during 2009.

It was during a demonstration of online repair data that the topic for this column struck me. Technology and our decisions on how or if we use it really drive the look of our future. When I think back to the way we did things when I started in this business 30 years ago, it amazes me that we ever got a vehicle repaired. But we did, because we utilized the technology available to us at the time.

I came in right at the advent of catalyzed paints. I remember that, at that time, many would opt for a good hand-rubbed lacquer job rather than use those new paints you had to wear a respirator for. Time has certainly proved to us that the change was good and probably better for our health, too. Today we stand on the brink of another major change in paint. Waterborne is here and it obviously isn’t going away.

While we’re reflecting on the past, let’s also take a look at measuring for a minute. Who remembers pulling a distorted job back into shape with chains and come-alongs anchored to rings embedded in the floor? Then, when we were sure that it was just about there, we might get the string and measuring tape out to be certain. Today, we have lasers and computers to make certain vehicles are straighter than when they were made. It has been a long time since I saw a vehicle dog tracking down the interstate. It seems that once again, technology has improved our process.

I could go on and on with more examples of technological advancement like online parts ordering, online data and tech information, gravity-fed paint guns, etc. The point still remains that technology is moving us forward. To remain competitive in the collision repair industry and all other industries, for that matter, it’s imperative to stay informed on the changes around us and make well-informed decisions on which technology is right for our individual businesses. It’s true that not all changes will fit into our individual situations. It’s important, however, for us to stay competitive with the market and grow with it.

We at BodyShop Business are committed to deliver to you that view of change and provide you with unbiased, complete information. During the upcoming months in 2009, we’ll provide you with editorial and data on all the trends in an easy-to-read, informative manner. I look forward to working with all of you during 2009 and I hope you have a prosperous New Year.

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