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PPG MVP Business Solutions Conference Offers a ‘Journey to Excellence’

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“Same old, same old” is history. It’s time to accept change as the new normal. Performance and productivity are the new benchmarks for the industry. These were some of the messages attendees received at the PPG MVP Business Solutions Spring Conference held recently at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, Calif. The conference, based on the theme “Journey to Excellence,” drew more than 250 PPG-affiliated collision center owners and managers who came from across the United States and Canada to learn how to succeed in the industry’s current highly demanding and rapidly changing climate.

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“It’s a challenging environment today for collision centers, and the traditional paths to success just are not as effective anymore,” said Jim Berkey, PPG Automotive Refinish, director, MVP Business Solutions, in his opening remarks at the conference. “It doesn’t matter how big or how good you were under the old rules. When those rules change, everyone goes back to zero.”
 
Keynote speaker Greg Smith built on Berkey’s thoughts. Smith, CEO of Chart Your Course International and a recognized authority on change and talent management, discussed the importance of collision centers setting a business course that could address the need for continuously adapting to changing business models. According to Smith, being successful today requires a high-energy workplace that increases performance, generates more profits and delivers exceptional customer service. One factor in achieving this is keeping morale and motivation high to avoid employee turnover which, in turn, compromises quality and productivity.

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“You need the right leadership to get staff to do just about anything,” he said. “People are not your most important asset, the right people are.”

Smith also presented “Hire the Best, Forget the Rest!” a seminar offering insights into hiring and retaining the right people.

Other speakers included Michael McMillan, with a presentation entitled “Pink Bat: Turning Problems into Solutions,” in which he showed how situations perceived as problems are often unrecognized solutions or opportunities. Teamwork expert and author Tom Heck’s seminar, “The 7 Qualities of the Leader as Coach,” centered on employee motivation, the changed nature of the current multigenerational workforce, and the need for a new leadership approach for teams and individuals working together.

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The conference also heavily emphasized lean production with interactive workshops that provided participants with practical applications for increasing performance levels in their collision centers. Workshop topics included The Lean Journey in Collision, Load Leveling and Value Stream Mapping.

In The Lean Journey in Collision workshop, Berkey portrayed the journey as tough, but rewarding. He offered a road map to lean implementation and discussed leadership and training, implementation planning, X-Ray Repair Planning, 5S and workplace organization. The Value Stream Mapping and Load Leveling workshops were led by MVP Business Solutions senior managers Mike Gunnells and Mark Mueller, respectively. Value stream mapping helps identify changes that obtain cycle time improvement and aligns the organization around the right changes in the process that capitalize on eliminating the greatest sources of waste in the process. Workshop participants used their own shop data to develop a map to recognize improvement opportunities and gauge performance. The Load Leveling session addressed the negative effect variation in work volume and mix have on the repair process and the positive impact that load leveling systems are having in collision centers today.

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MVP Value Added Programs senior manager Norm Angrove and John Martin, manager performance learning, leaders of the 360º Marketing Systems team, spoke about marketing opportunities that go beyond traditional channels. They discussed strategies for effective multigenerational marketing, the use of social media, and more.

“Marketing is part of the journey,” said Angrove. “Marketing today is different than it’s been, and it will continue to evolve. And relevant marketing is one of the most important tools for the journey.”

Attendees’ reaction to the conference was positive, according to PPG.

Tom Tracy, president and owner of Tracys Collision Centers, Lincoln, Neb., said, “PPG did a great job putting this conference together. It showed me how committed PPG is to helping its customers. If you’re serious about succeeding, PPG is serious about helping you.”

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PPG MVP Business Solutions

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