We’re a week away from the Collision Industry Conference and assorted industry events this week in Pittsburgh, and it’s time for procrastinators to finalize travel plans.
Those still on the fence about attending the summit, which provides a means for shops, insurers and other stakeholders to study and reach agreement on industry issues, might be swayed by the content and a recent announcement from PPG.
The Pittsburgh business icon has offered everyone free airport shuttles to the Sheraton Station Hotel, the venue for CIC, SCRS’ Repairer Roundtable and other industry events. Look for the PPG Elite Coach & Limousine table near the Avis counter.
Shuttles from Pittsburgh International Airport to Sheraton Station Square travel every half hour between 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Monday, April 17; between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 18; and between 8 a.m. and noon Wednesday, April 19.
CIC runs 1-5 p.m. April 19 and from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 20, and PPG will offer shuttles from the hotel back to the airport at noon, 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. April 20.
“Attendees will not have to rent cars or take Taxi/Uber service to hotel if they use the shuttle service,” PPG wrote. (Or a Pittsburgh self-driving Uber.)
It’s good PPG removed the stress of hotel transit, because there’ll be plenty of other important things to occupy one’s mind this week
Here’s some of the highlights from the CIC agenda:
Wednesday, April 19
If you’re facing a tech shortage at your shop, it might be worthwhile to hear Collision Repair Education Foundation director of development Brandon Eckenrode speak at 1:15 p.m. April 19, less than a day before his organization hosts a career fair on-site at the Sheraton.
Shops who had hoped to man a booth at the event — expected to draw 150 local vo-tech collision repair students — are out of luck. It sold out a little while ago, he said.
Details of future spring career fairs can be found on CREF’s site, and Eckenrode plans to announce the fall lineup by NACE. Pricing varies from market to market, but Eckenrode said Tuesday that CREF typically sells a booth for around “sweet spot” of $500. (Not a bad deal if you can fill a vacancy and do thousands more in revenue).
Following Eckenrode, shops at 1:30 p.m. might learn how to improve the technicians they do have with a presentation by Jeff Peevy (AMI) and Gene Lopez (Seidner’s Collision Center) of the Education and Training Committee. The two men are expected to share feedback from technicians, other employees, OEMs and suppliers.
At the January CIC, Peevy presented results from a survey of 159 respondents that found technicians only training an average of 11.7 hours a year. That data represents the best third of the industry, he and audience members predicted — suggesting that the rest of the industry doesn’t even reach those levels.
Lopez said that in California, the location of the January CIC, insurance agents are required to train 32 hours.
“We’re somewhere around 10,” he said.
Next up at 2:15 p.m. is the Governmental Committee, which will feature special guest speakers from the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance and National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This could be a good way for shops who’ve raised concerns over inadequate insurance agency oversight to be heard and hear perspective from the actual regulators.
At 4 p.m., it’s time to hear about scanning and diagnostics — a subject that remains a hot topic nearly a year after the start of 2016’s chain of OEM position statements. The Emerging Technologies Committee, helmed by Michael Quinn (Certified Collision Group) and Jake Rodenroth (Collision Diagnostic Services), will present first, followed by “The Skinny on Scanning” with Technical Committee Chairmen Toby Chess (Kent Automotive) and Kye Yeung (European Motor Car Works) at 4:45.
CIC Day 1 ends at 5:30 p.m., with a reception at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 20
April 20‘s CIC kicks off in spades at 8:15 a.m. with Definitions Committee Chairmen Chris Evans (State Farm) and Barry Dorn (Dorn’s Body & Paint) reopening the contentious 2015-16 question of revising the minimum requirements for a “Collision Repair Provider.”
On Tuesday, the committee urged Collision Industry Conference participants to review the final version of the definition and prepare for a vote next week during the April 20 presentation.
“They encourage all participants to carefully review the final draft and be prepared to vote on whether CIC retains this work product and updates it as needed, or alternatively, decides to sunset the work product altogether,” Evans and Dorn wrote.
“While the committee volunteers have put a great deal of time and effort into the document, we recognize it is a CIC work product and, in the end, there is no pride in authorship that suggests the committee feels either way if it should stay or go. We are comfortable that with proper advance preparation the CIC body will make the best decision for its constituents.”
The final draft mandates all repairers must have the tools, training and equipment demanded by the automaker and adhere to OEM repair procedures.
Dorn and Evans will also describe their committee’s 2017 initiatives.
Following them, Kristen Felder (Collision Hub) and Roger Wright (Vector Squared) of the Marketing Committee will at 9 a.m. present their efforts to get the industry more involved with the CIC, which in 2016 was criticized for being stale.
OEM instructions will also be the topic of the Insurer-Repair Relations Committee discussion at 9:20 a.m., as committee member Mike Astalos (formerly of Direct Group) presents what CIC describes as a “Deeper Dive into Repair Procedures.”
Adjusters who refuse to reimburse shops billing for clearly needed and required OEM repair procedures and position statements have been a frustration. Conversely, shops foolishly, ignorantly or recklessly disregarding OEM procedures leave insurers skeptical of the shops who are doing the job correctly. It’ll be interesting to see where the committee goes with the topic.
At 10:30 a.m., Frank Terlep (eMarketing Sherpas) of the Open Systems, Data Access and Sharing Task Force will lead what ought to be an interesting “Understanding the Effects of BMS Data for Collision Repairers” discussion.
The benign title belies what likely will be a dissection of CCC’s Secure Share, which later this month will begin a yearlong process of transitioning from the EMS to BMS data standard. This has raised cost and control issues for repairers and their business partners. Find out more here.
Collision Industry Conference Definitions Committee Co-Chairman Chris Evans speaks Jan. 12, 2017, at CIC. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
PPG’s headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., is shown in 2016. (bgwalker/iStock)
At the January CIC, Education and Training Committee co-chairman Jeff Peevy presented results from a survey of 159 respondents that found technicians only training an average of 11.7 hours a year. (Provided by Collision Industry Conference)