Today’s collision repairer faces more challenges than ever before in remaining successful, relevant and profitable. With the need for valuable, pertinent information on the rapidly changing landscape at an all-time high, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) presented its first-ever OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center in conjunction with the 2014 SEMA Show. The full-day event provided an invigorating look into the future of the industry, with information on technological developments in repair materials, procedures and equipment as well as several panel discussions featuring shared insights from the vehicle and equipment manufacturers’ and shop owners’ perspectives.
Doug Richman (Technical Committee Chairman of the Aluminum Transportation Group [ATG)]) and David Rigg (Project Lead with the Auto/Steel Partnership [A/SP] Advanced High-Strength Steel [AHSS] Repairability Project) shared important updates on materials and substrates of the present and future. Richman, who is also Vice President of Engineering and Technology for Kaiser Aluminum, displayed statistics and projections from the 2015 Ducker Worldwide Survey of Automakers on the impact of aluminum-intensive vehicle design in the repair process. Rigg provided an overview of advancements in steel as a continued critical substrate in collision repair, and also shed light on the processes and goals of the A/SP AHSS Repairability Project.
Four informative panel discussions kept the conversation lively throughout the course of the day, while also engaging attendees in thought-provoking discussions on the future of the industry. “Automobile Developments: How Automotive Manufacturing is Driving Change in the Repair Industry” and “Equipment Development: How Vehicle Design and Materials Relate to Equipment Longevity and Design” offered a glimpse into the automaker and equipment manufacturer perspective on how repairers can best prepare for the changes ahead in materials, tools and equipment used in the repair process. And just as the evolution of materials continues to impact the repair industry, a marked focus on specialization is also driving a shift in the future of how many shops do business. With that in mind, SCRS presented “Marketplace Development: How Specialization is Shifting Collision Repair Business Practices” and “OEM Certification Development: The Programs Behind OEM Partnership” to explore the OE certification process from both the facility and automaker standpoint, respectively.
“I always enjoy gaining the perspectives of other repairers who do what we do,” shares SCRS Chairman Ron Reichen, who participated in the “Marketplace Development” discussion. “It felt almost like a 20 group on stage, and just serves to continue that mindset of continued communication. [Fellow panelist and SCRS Secretary] Kye Yeung put it perfectly when he noted that the certified repair facilities really do support one another, and work together to benefit promotion and protecting of the vehicle brand with the intention of helping the entire industry grow.”
“It’s evident that there is a passion amongst the manufacturers as well as a lot of repairers out there,” notes Mark Allen (Specialist – Collision Programs & Workshop Equipment, Audi of America), who sat on the “Automobile Developments” and “OEM Certification Development” panels. “These professionals want to perform the repairs the right way. My fear is that the appetite is not currently industry-wide, but events like the Collision Repair Technology Summit serve to get the message out and hopefully change that for the better. Today’s discussions have presented the attendees with a message to carry out to their colleagues on the importance of doing the repair the right way. It’s now time to continue to spread that message.”
“This is the beginning of a very long conversation, and one we intend to be part of from start to finish,” noted SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg in his address to the crowd. “This does not end here today; not with the Society, not with any of you sitting here today and certainly not for our industry. As the technology continues to evolve, so to should the discussion. This is the first of many Collision Repair Technology Summits.”
About SEMA and the SEMA Show: The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details available at www.semashow.com or www.sema.org or contact Customer Service at (909) 396-0289.
About SCRS’ RDE Series: REPAIRER DRIVEN EDUCATION (RDE) series will feature 4 days of seminar offerings, many of which are uniquely designed and being offered only at the 2014 SEMA Show. Each of the courses has been individually selected or crafted by SCRS because the content specifically focuses on information that is relevant to the diverse array of marketplace perspectives within the collision repair industry. Register at www.semashow.com/scrs or contact Customer Service at (866) 229-3687.
About SCRS: Through its direct members and 44 affiliate associations, SCRS is comprised of 6,000 collision repair businesses and 58,500 specialized professionals who work with consumers and insurance companies to repair collision-damaged vehicles. Additional information about SCRS including other news releases is available at the SCRS website: www.scrs.com. You can e-mail SCRS at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.