Just when the leaves have fallen in other parts of the country and Old Man Winter is bracing to give everyone a butt whuppin’, the sun shines bright, the dice roll and the cars sparkle at the SEMA Show. If the amazing custom showpieces weren’t enough, everyone enjoys escaping the frigid temperatures and their normal work routines for a little vehicle love.
But let us not get too sucked into the dream of climbing into one of these beauties and tearing off the show floor and into the sunset with a stylish squeal of rubber. No, folks, there’s work to be done and learning to be had!
The learning comes in the form of the fourth annual Repairer Driven Education (RDE) track of seminars offered by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). This year, the classes have been organized into tracks so collision repairers can more clearly identify what courses are most aligned with their business needs.
“Each year, we wipe the slate clean and ask what seemed to get good feedback and what didn’t,” says SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “We treat each year like a new learning experience for the development of the programs. The fact that we have three delineated tracks this year stems especially from attendee feedback. There is so much great content, it’s hard to pick. One attendee told us there were different businesses there for different reasons, and he wished we would spell it out for attendees and say, ‘If you’re here for this reason, these are the tracks you need to go to.’ Anybody can pick whatever they want – it’s all a la carte – but if someone wants to follow the track we think will help them given the parameters of why they’re there, let’s line that out.”
Those three tracks are “Understanding Your Business,” “Enhancing Your Business” and “Positioning Your Business” (see schedule on the following page).
There will also be a slate of free sessions, one per day, including “Accessing OEM Repair Information” by Toby Chess; “Dispelling Collision Repair Technical Myths” by Mark Algie, Shawn Collins and Dennis Keicher, 3M; “How Did They Do That? Secrets of the Refinish Masters” by Dr. Jane Valenta and Dr. Gareth Hughes, PPG Refinish; and “Equipping Yourself for Industry Certifications” by Joe Blanton, Car-O-Liner.
Let’s not forget the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) will also be happening 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Nov. 6 and Thursday, Nov. 7. This event regularly features 200 to 300 collision industry people discussing and debating the latest issues and controversial topics. There will also be a reception Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
SCRS will also be holding an open board meeting Nov. 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Collision Repair & Refinish Stage in the North Hall. There will also be an RDE after-party on Thursday, Nov. 7 from 8 p.m. to midnight for those who bought a RDE Full Series Pass.
Repairer Driven Education Schedule
Tuesday – 10:00-noon
RD1F FREE Session: Presented by the SCRS Education Committee
Toby Chess, SCRS
Accessing OEM Repair Information
Tuesday – 12:30-2:30
RD1U: Damage Report Writing Case Study
Larry Montanez, P&L Consultants LLC
Designed for the beginning damage assessor or the seasoned veteran and technicians, this seminar will ask attendees to follow along with three case studies on a quarter panel replacement, bumper fascia replacement and cosmetic damage to the body side components of a vehicle. All required procedures, additional procedures, materials, included, non-included and additional items will be covered. All three cases are from actual repair claims (all personal info is removed).
RD1E: Learn 6 Keys to Developing an Effective Marketing Program
Bill Park & Dr. Byron Bissell, MpowerU
This workshop is for those owners/managers and those in the auto collision industry who see the “writing on the wall” that financial success in the auto collision repair industry is increasingly going to depend on capturing more of the market share, but feel they lack the core knowledge and skills required to create and implement an effective marketing program.
RD1P: The Future of Cars – Self-Driving Cars, Fact or Fiction?
Tim Ronak, AkzoNobel Performance Coatings
This is a presentation of the impact and future potential of technology on the overall automotive industry ecosystem. All facets of the industry may be transformed as a result of technology ranging from passive accident avoidance to active accident avoidance to complete autonomous vehicle operation. Three states currently have started to investigate the licensing potential of this technology, which has the potential to transform the industry and create significant new business opportunities.
Tuesday – 3:00-5:00
RD2U: Cycle Time Reduction Workshop
Lee Rush, Sherwin-Williams
This workshop is designed to help collision facilities take advantage of 10 cycle time absolutes, and strategically formulate them into a sustainable program to drive cycle time improvements through the reduction of waste. By providing the participant with the operational tools necessary to implement these absolutes, they will be armed with the tools needed to change the way their companies operate.
RD2E: Modern Bonding and Riveting, Today and Tomorrow
Dave Gruskos, RAE
Understand the future of changing materials in auto industry construction. Learn why, where and how this will affect collision repair processes. Understand the modern applications of gluing and different riveting processes used in the modern fleet of vehicles.
RD2P: Strength Building for Being a Successful Businessperson
Bill Park & Dr. Byron Bissell, MpowerU
This workshop is for those collision repair specialist business owners/managers who understand that being a successful businessperson is a great deal more than owning or managing a shop or shops and who desire to strengthen their businessperson skills. Participants will be introduced to a unique perspective of what a businessperson is, which has been derived by the presenters from schema theory.
Wednesday – 10:00-noon
RD2F FREE Session: Presented by the SCRS Education Committee
Mark Algie, Shawn Collins and Dennis Keicher, 3M
Dispelling Collision Repair Technical Myths
Wednesday – 12:30-2:30
RD3U: Reputation Matters: How Your Online Reputation Can Help or Hurt Your Business
David Tulkin, Demandforce
You know intuitively that your online reputation is important, but how do you manage it? Which third-party sites are most important? How does social media and mobile play a part? David Tulkin, an automotive marketing expert, will give you a practical guide on how to build your best possible reputation and teach you how to leverage your shop’s most important asset: its reputation.
RD3E: X-Ray Estimating, An Ace Up Your Sleeve for Performance Improvement
Mark Mueller, PPG Refinish
Fifty percent of the average shop’s business has very little margin for error and can be a significant drag on cycle time performance. X-Ray Estimating is an approach that changes the estimating paradigm and can take repairs that spend days at the shop and, in some instances, allow them to be completed in a few hours. Shops that have been exploring this approach have experienced significant performance gains. The approach is similar to X-Ray Repair Planning with its objective of identifying all damage prior to production, but X-Ray Estimating is completed on vehicles that can be returned to the road while parts are acquired (and in many cases paint operations completed), allowing the customer to wait while repairs are completed.
RD3P: Insurer Scorecard Improvement Tactics
Steve Trapp, Axalta Performance Coatings, and Mike Anderson, Collision Advice
With many insurers and fleets relying on performance-based scorecards, this session provides repairers insights as to how to improve repair center performance so as to optimize the score achieved while balancing the need to make a profit.
Wednesday – 3:00-5:00
RD4U: Parts Procurement Best Practices
Mike Anderson, CollisionAdvice
In the average collision repair shop, parts are typically 38 to 40 percent of the average repair cost. In this seminar, Mike Anderson addresses every aspect of parts management, from accounting for parts on a profit and loss statement, how to make adjustments for work in process (WIP), and the best reports for managing parts from your management system. The seminar discusses how to utilize technology to get the right part the first time and includes an overview of free websites that allow you to see all of the same parts diagrams as the OEM dealers. Have you been looking for a proven method for getting the right part every time? In this seminar, you’ll learn not only what mirror matching means, but who should be responsible for it and exactly how to mirror match parts correctly. You’ll learn everything you need to know in order to implement these procedures in your repair center.
RD4E: Marketing to Consumers — Supporting Customer Pay Sales Efforts
Steve Trapp, Axalta Performance Coatings, and Robert Rick, RR Custom Solutions
With 35 to 40 percent of customers asking repairers to write customer-paid estimates and a historical 50 percent closing ratio on these estimates, improving sales skills for these more price sensitive customers is key. This course will review and practice the advisory sales process and how it uniquely applies to this segment of prospective customers. We will then discuss sales support tools that would be useful to help reinforce your unique value proposition to close more sales. Finally, we will reinforce follow-up strategies to help optimize performance. At the end of the course, we will create a personal improvement plan per attendee.
RD4P: Competing in a Consolidated Marketplace
Tim Ronak, AkzoNobel Performance Coatings
This session will focus on the details of the current consolidation activity within the collision industry. Publicly available information will be shared regarding the pace and growth of consolidation within the U.S. market. Individual organizations need to look at how other industries have reacted to consolidation. A discussion on some industry trends regarding vehicle construction techniques, integrated technology and CAFÉ mile per gallon rules are creating an environment where some niche business opportunities may exist to not only survive but thrive in the consolidating world.
Thursday – 10:00-12:00
RDE3F FREE Session: Presented by the SCRS Education Committee
Dr. Jane Valenta and Dr. Gareth Hughes, PPG Refinish
How Did They Do That?! Secrets of the Refinish Masters
Thursday – 12:30-2:30
RD5U: Social Media Strategies for Your Business
Mark Claypool, Optima Worldwide
This in-depth workshop will cover why effective social media participation is a crucial component to your overall Web presence. Which platforms should you be participating in: Google+? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? YouTube? Yes to all of these, and each is different from the others and requires an understanding of how to make the most of your time and efforts in managing your corporate social media. In two quick hours you’ll be well-versed in what it takes to build your brand online, get people to “join the conversation” and differentiate your business from the competition.
RD5E: Maximizing Efforts Through Blueprinting and Shop Layout
Tim Morgan, Spanesi Americas
This training session will offer attendees a look into the changing design of today’s repair strategies through implementation of blueprinting, shop layout and flow. Focusing on damage detection up-front helps dictate the needs the vehicle will have throughout the complete repair process. We will analyze the impact of shop layout and flow to adjust the current movement of vehicles in the facility, along with the equipment and process evaluations to make the facility meet more efficient demands.
RD5P: Succession Planning: Is Your Shop Ready for the Next Generation?
Erica Eversman, J.D., Vehicle Information Services
This presentation is designed to ensure that shop owners consider issues for legacy and estate planning purposes. Shop owners need to consider how to best transition from direct responsibility for shop management to a behind-the-scenes or non-existent role. The session identifies considerations such as moving forward after the unexpected death of an owner, tax planning, and succession planning for least disruptive and financially advantageous transitions.
Thursday – 3:00-5:00
RD6U: Collision Center Parts Management
Tim Ronak and Scott Wheeler, AkzoNobel Performance Coatings
This is a detailed review of the overall impact the organization of parts management has on the collision repair business. The focus is on minimization of cycle time-related delays due to incomplete or poorly processed parts orders causing interruption in the workflow. The seminar features proven ways to minimize cash tied up in parts inventory through more effective ordering and return strategies, along with management of payable invoicing. Effective parts storage strategies are also illustrated, including newer lean-based strategies utilizing mobile part storage solutions, many of which can be found at the SEMA Show. Attendees will receive a sound overall parts management strategy, and will be provided with several takeaway forms and tools that can aid in implementing the program.
RD6E: Elevating the Customer Experience
James Berkey and Dave Mitchum, PPG Refinish
In a perfect world, you believe that your employees are the best in the business. You’re confident that your customers are receiving “best in class” customer service. But are they? Are they being greeted promptly…respectfully…with a smile? And that’s just the beginning! How would they rate the experience of the entire process? Was it so great that they would never consider another shop? Or, would they just say, “I’m satisfied?” What would you say if you were told that “just satisfying” your customer is worthless? Satisfied means you did your job – nothing more, nothing less. Merely satisfying your customer is not going to bring them, or their family and friends, back. The reality is that many owners and managers assume that their shops are the best when, in fact, they are just another “me, too.” Our research has shown that as much as 50 percent of customers have had a negative experience at the first point of contact. Fortunately, Elevating the Customer Experience provides a practical approach to customer satisfaction that will “rock” your customers, as well as your competition. Discover how creating “memorable experiences” can provide a true competitive advantage by making extraordinary customer service the centerpiece of your marketing strategy.
RD6P Panel: If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Lessons Learned Selling My Body Shop
Friday – 10:00-12:00
RDE4F FREE Session: Presented by the SCRS Education Committee
Joe Blanton, Car-O-Liner
Equipping Yourself for Industry Certifications
Friday – 12:30-2:30
RD7U: Protect Your Business – Understanding That Insurance Coverage Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
Paul Hulsebusch, Sonora Insurance
Insurance can mean different things to different people; there are so many variables to consider when trying to determine the correct path for your corporate insurance program. Insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. You have to consider buying decisions, internal exposures, risk appetite, loss experience, business changes, state laws, federal laws, case law, economic trends, catastrophic insurance losses, employee changes, costs and other factors. You have a collision repair business to run; how can you find the time to make sure you are selecting the insurance programs that are right for you and not just getting the coverage someone else thinks is right for your business?
RD7E: Want Higher Rates? Obtain Payment For Necessary Repair Procedures
Erica Eversman, J.D., Vehicle Information Services
This presentation will aid collision repairers in understanding that working collectively with others in the repair industry is beneficial. This program is designed to highlight repairers’ successes in increasing rates received for labor and materials and obtaining payment for necessary repair procedures. Participants will be provided with information and materials to understand how working together with other repairers can be done in a legal manner that reduces costs and creates a network of knowledgeable resources.
RD7P: Creating a Parallel Universe: Reinventing the Collision Repair Industry
Scott Biggs, Assured Performance Network
Forewarned is to be forearmed. This program will give you both good news and bad. It will allow you to better understand profit, prosperity and business survival in the decades ahead. This presentation will take a futuristic look at the industry and take a deep-dive exploration of trends that are shaping the collision repair industry now and in the future. You will see alternative versions of the future based upon the secret, and not so secret, plans and agendas of insurers, MSOs and OEMs. The program will compare alternative futures for the industry based upon totally different realities. The contrast will allow you to see how the tactics and strategies of various organizations will set the industry on a course toward one reality or another. The choice is yours, and you choose the road forward.
Show Floor R&I Demos
Members of the SCRS Education Committee worked with the United Application Standards Group (UASG), which represents hundreds of professional graphic installers across the U.S., to present show-floor demonstrations on proper ways to approach R&I of vehicle components for the application of wraps and graphics. The presentations will be held in the UASG booth on Wednesday from 3:30-4:15 p.m. and Thursday from 12-12:45 p.m.
Collision repair experts will highlight how repair technicians properly remove and reinstall items on a Dodge Challenger. This workshop will demonstrate the necessary tools and the proper processes for removing items such as mirrors, moldings, door handles, emblems, etc. If you’re able to remove obstacles from the vehicle, installers can eliminate additional cuts and patches to your wrap, ensuring your finished product looks like paint. This is a great opportunity to interact with technical professionals who can help you enhance your reputation as one who goes the extra mile to make your wraps look great!
UASG members will design different wraps and compete to see which four designs will be chosen. This year, rock ’n roll will be the theme of the designs. The winner’s designs will then be produced and installed on the Dodge Challenger during the installation demonstrations that go on in their booth each day.
Check out guitar great Carlos Santana and his host of talented accompanists as they play an intimate selection of their most popular hits. Rumor has it that this is the first time the classic lineup of Woodstock fame has been reunited since the ’70s – so watch as history is made!
Nov. 6-8 at the House of Blues Mandalay Bay
Though he’s approaching 70, Rod Stewart’s proving that he’s still got it with the recent release of his new album, “Time” – and he still has that fantastic hair. Catch one of the greatest classic artists of the ’80s belt out hits such as “Maggie May” and “Forever Young.”
Nov. 6 at Caesars Palace
Evil Dead The Musical
If happy-go-lucky musicals aren’t exactly your cup of tea, then perhaps watching singing demons dance on stage is more your style. The show combines elements from Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness to tell a hilarious, quirky tale that even the biggest horror film buff can sing along to.
Nov. 8 and 9 at the V Theater Miracle Mile Planet Hollywood