By Jason Stahl
Tim Ronak, senior services consultant with AkzoNobel Car Refinishes, will be leading two Repairer Driven Education (RDE) sessions at the 2014 SEMA Show: “Surviving the Push for Refinish Reductions – Spot within Panel Survival Kit” and “Getting Paid For Investing in Facility, Equipment and Training.”
Ronak is passionate when he talks about getting paid for your investment as it seems the investment in collision repair keeps going up as a result of the new, sophisticated vehicles coming out.
“There is a lack of financial understanding out there,” Ronak says. “People say, ‘Well, OK, so this aluminum repair stuff will cost me $75,000 to retrofit my shop.’ And the insurance industry’s response is, if you don’t want to do aluminum work, then don’t invest in it. The premise is that you’re not going to get paid any more for that than you do for the current level of work you do. Well, that predisposes that you’re currently being fairly compensated for the work you’re doing.”
Body shops, Ronak says, need to create some type of profitability level that allows them to create a solid, sustainable working environment for an individual laborer. Ronak’s goal with his discussion is to give shops a formula to figure this out.
“The purpose of my dialogue will be for me to lay out some kind of plan or formula where people can type in their numbers and figure out – looking at the investment in training, equipment and labor – what they need to raise their labor rate to,” he says.
Ronak says the industry has been watching the slow erosion of its overall profit margins. Parts, labor and materials is all being squeezed, and labor rate increases are being outpaced by inflation.
“At the same time, the cost of insuring motor vehicles has gone up dramatically, so there is money in the fund to be able to fund our industry, which of course is largely funded through insurance-based activities.
“If you go backward and say we need to generate 75 percent labor gross profit in order to provide a sustainable and solid environment for any new labor resource, in that cost of labor we need to factor in training and facilities and what does that individual labor unit need in that facilities component for equipment, tooling and safety. One thing we’re not good at is determining how much our fixed expenses go up when we have to invest in new technology.”
As far as Ronak’s “Surviving the Push for Refinish Reductions – Spot within Panel Survival Kit” session goes, he will base his talk on a CD tool he built 10 years ago that showed collision repairers how to push back when insurers ask for modified panel refinish or arbitrary finish reduction because they contend only a portion of the panel is damaged.
Ronak says he believes the SEMA Show is the best place for him to be at to educate collision repairers on the rapidly changing industry.
“I donate my time to go to SEMA because I feel it’s really important to offer whatever knowledge I can to the largest group I can. I believe there are very few venues in our industry that allow for as broad an exposure to both industry education and support and the potential for an existing business to diversify its revenue stream. As the collision market starts to evolve, it will be critical for everyone to truly look at the personalization aspect of transportation as a viable revenue alternative. One of the best if not ‘the best’ is SEMA because it brings all the specialty equipment information as well as collision repair tooling and products and now the RDE series of collision- focused training under one roof. With change occurring in the collision industry along with the auto manufacturing industry, it’s almost impossible for a single individual to keep up with all of them – and the broadest opportunity to see all those changes in one place is SEMA.”
Ronak also believes the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has done a superb job putting together the RDE sessions, choosing the speakers and selecting the most relevant topics of today.
“I think the SCRS creating RDE was a stroke of brilliance,” he says. “It was something much needed in that it’s collision industry-focused, and it’s fantastic that the industry supports it the way they do. SCRS does a very good job of selecting the topics that are of interest to the industry but also in organizing the resources and the expertise from the industry to present on those topics.”
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2014 Affiliate Leadership Conference! The conference will be held 8:00am – 5:00pm Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 in Denver, CO. SCRS has also been working closely with I-CAR on a number of issues and have arranged to hold the next I-CAR Repairability Summit from 8:00 – noon on Thursday, October 2nd. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm participation at your earliest convenience, and see reservation information below. Reservations must be made by August 15th 2014 to receive the discounted pricing. We encourage you to make your reservations now.
For those who have not attended, the Affiliate Conference before, it is a day-long roundtable discussion that features candid exchange of ideas, information and activity review from the leaders of state and regional collision repair associations across North America. It serves as the opportunity for associations to help exemplify efforts that have made positive impacts on represented marketplaces, and to share warnings of efforts that had unsatisfactory results. The object of the conversation is to actively learn from each other’s’ experiences, and to expand the level of communication and networking within the national network of associations.
The I-CAR Repairability Summit is to identify and prioritize the top 5–10 structural repairability issues & gaps facing the collision repair inter-industry & identify processes to resolve. The outcome of this I‑CAR led meeting may:
- Shape future Repairability Summits
- Provide direction for I-CAR Repairability Technical Support staff
- Identify potential collaboration projects to optimize structural repair methods
- Identify future best‑practice development opportunities
- Provide a mechanism for OEM linking pin project identification
- Provide inputs for future OEM ISAC discussions
Both events are being held at:
DoubleTree by Hilton Denver
3203 Quebec Street
Denver, CO 80207
To book via phone, call: (303)321-3333 and reference Society of Collision Repair Specialists, or
We have negotiated a discounted room rate of $109.00/night that includes breakfast, and features a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.
Please RSVP to email@example.com to confirm participation at your earliest convenience, and secure your room prior to August 15th 2014.
We hope that you can join us.
Article details ways repairers may be able to manage how “data pumps” access file information
Many repairers are unaware of the breadth of data being extracted from their servers, where it is being extracted from, what settings they could employ to better control the flow of information, or even how that information may be used beyond its intended purpose. For years, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has alerted its members about the potential risk and liability associated with inadequate control over estimate data and business information.
As one recent example, SCRS was notified of growing concerns relative to the collection of data through participation in the PartsTrader parts procurement program. As the program rolled out across the nation, more questions began to arise when end-users noticed key identifying information from non-State Farm estimate files populating their PartsTrader dashboard. The repairer concern surrounds the amount of non-voluntary information being provided through the data collection process which could offer valuable information surrounding market volume and shop volume, raising further concerns over the potential of violating agreements with non-involved carriers by sharing information with an unrelated third-party.
SCRS researched the issue with PartsTrader and each of the estimating system providers to identify the means and extent in which the data is being accessed and collected; and inquiring if repair facility end-users have options to restrict non-required data from being collected, accessed or shared. As a result of that research, SCRS issued an article outlining the resulting responses from each of the technology organizations. The article concludes that:
- Technology has increased the ability to communicate information amongst businesses; however, the increase of applications that indiscriminately extract data in the background for unknown or unintended purposes is a concern for repairers who have obligations to protect data generated by their business.
- There are advancements being made, or already in place, from some estimating system providers which allow collision repair facilities to maintain better control over the data files being exported from the estimating systems to other data collection sources.
- The solutions and options for each estimating system vary, so it is important to compare capabilities of the software programs relative to features that allow greater control over unwanted data transfer, and to make any necessary profile changes in line with individual business practices.
From Aaron Schulenburg, Executive Director, SCRS
If you are looking for examples of how the DEG works, look no further than the inquiry below where the labor time was adjusted from 3.0hrs to 8.9hrs. The shop who sent this is loving the results in comparison to the very minimal effort involved in filing inquiries.
DEG Resolution Notice to Shop
Your inquiry was submitted to CCC by the DEG and we have been able to assist with a resolution. After researching the inquiry and corresponding with your Information Provider, CCC has proposed the resolution listed below which is scheduled to be added to the October 2013 update. If you have any questions regarding this please feel free to contact the DEG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Estimated UM Release Date: 10/17/2013
Estimated DVD Release Date: 11-2013
MOTOR Publication Fix Date: 01-2014
Proposed Resolution: MOTOR stated:
After reviewing the OEM service information, the estimated work time applied to the Rear Panel Assembly has been adjusted to 8.9 hours from 3.0 hours, with a labor footnote that states, “LABOR: Time is after spare tire panel is removed. Time is after all necessary bolted-on parts are removed.” An estimated refinish time of 2.2 hours has been applied to the Rear Panel Assembly.
According to the “Guide To Estimating,” the following items are not included:
1. Isolate vehicle in separate dedicated aluminum clean room.
2. Set up clean room vacuum in clean room for aluminum extraction.
3. Repair/straighten of collision damage to mating flanges on vehicles.
4. Prime matching flanges on vehicle.
5. Set up fixtures and measure.
6. Applying etch primer.
Once again, we would like to thank you for taking the time to bring this inquiry to our attention and would like you to know that your efforts to help improve the collision estimating data are very much appreciated. We hope you will choose to continue to use www.degweb.org for any inquiries you may have in the future.
The DEG is a not for profit organization and welcomes any donations and contributions. We will use the funds to help the collision industry correct the inaccuracies and deficiencies in the estimating databases. Visit our website to learn more and to donate.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation and Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) are working together to invite SCRS member businesses to help provide their local high school and college-level collision students with a professional appearance by sponsoring Cintas technician shirt and pant work uniforms for this upcoming fall school year. The objective is to connect associations and collision repair businesses across the country with their local collision school programs. The more engaged the local industry is with the school, the better prepared the collision students will be to enter the industry after graduation, and have an appreciation for the role the local industry played in their personal success.
Ideally, sponsors would be identified and uniforms ordered before the end of September so they would be available for the fall semester.
SCRS members can sponsor a package of 20 work uniform sets for $1,000, which includes a pair of Cintas work pants and technician shirts. The sponsoring member business will have the company’s logo prominently featured on the front chest of the shirt, along with a Collision Repair Education Foundation patch. SCRS will be featured on the back of the shirt, making the connection to students at an early age of the value of industry involvement. Industry members interested in learning more about this sponsorship opportunity, identifying their local collision school programs, or have questions, should contact Brandon Eckenrode at Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org or phone 847.463.5244.
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has issued a position statement regarding insurer mandates. The position statement is as follows:
In representation of collision repair businesses across the United States, The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) takes exception to business mandates that property and casualty insurers impose upon collision repair businesses; particularly those that specify required vendors, business platforms or internal processes that must be followed in order to be included in, or avoid being excluded from, certain lines of work. As an example, insurer mandates surrounding parts procurement platforms may inhibit independent collision repair businesses from utilizing parts vendors with whom they have an existing relationship, providing insurers with greater influence and control over the parts supply chain.
SCRS believes this control falls outside of the scope of the insurance business. Some insurers are stipulating agreement to these terms, as a condition of being recognized in Direct Repair Programs (DRP). SCRS supports efforts that rightfully seek to eliminate such intrusion into the collision repair business, and enforcement of existing laws, regulations and codes that currently prohibit such actions. It is the opinion of SCRS that voluntary agreements cannot include stipulations which violate existing laws, rules and regulations. SCRS believes that collision businesses are capable of establishing successful vendor relationships and internal processes that will best accommodate the needs of the consumer, and that service providers will continue to respond to the market with increasingly creative solutions that drive performance for their customers and the respective market entities. We believe that solutions with tangible value propositions will be utilized and supported by the marketplace without the undue influence of insurer mandate.
As an example of the concerns addressed by the position statement, SCRS used the elimination of the “fax-only” option in the PartsTrader electronic ordering system that State Farm’s Select Service repair facility participants are required to use. The elimination of the fax-only option effectively requires suppliers to fully participate in the electronic parts marketplace or lose business from Select Service repair shops.
According to the press release announcing the new position statement, SCRS explained, “The rules of the game are changing and it is apparent that maintaining the relationships and negotiated deals of participating repair facilities is only a priority, so long as all involved submit to do business in the manner prescribed by State Farm Insurance, and other carriers with similar programs. Today these mandates address parts sourcing and ordering, but there is valid concern that they open the door to future market manipulation and influence over other similarly critical collision businesses purchasing habits as well.”
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced that, for 2013, the Repairer Driven Education series (RDE) presented at the SEMA Show will be enhanced with the addition of three designated educational tracks designed to help those with a particular focus attend a series of course selections that all speak to a purpose.
“The track program was actually a proposal from one of our previous attendees,” said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “It was suggested that with so many education options in our program, they wished there was a way to determine which selections therein that spoke most to what they were looking to gain. It is really important to us to use attendee input and feedback as a primary driver for program development, and it made so much sense to create sub-categories in the manner suggested.”
SCRS has created three categories of educational topics:
- Understanding your business: This track is designed to provide thorough training around fundamental components of running a successful collision repair business. The topics extend through estimating and blueprinting, workflow and cycle time impact, profit center management, marketing and online reputation management. Quite simply, if collision repair business owners and operators better understand the core of their business, they can better manage its success.
- Enhancing your business: This category focuses on business development and improvement such as production techniques, office efficiency, processes and documentation, creating a turn-key business, mechanization, automation, equipment and systems. If attendees want to target specific customer bases or types of work, increase your ability to get paid for necessary operations, and be prepared for current and future technologies they are going to need in their repair business, this is the track that will give them the tools, resources and knowledge to accomplish that.
- Positioning your business: Most business owners today are asking themselves one of two questions; how do I compete? Or, how do I sell my shop for the most value? This category is going to present solutions to both. It includes focused strategies for competing against consolidation, growth strategies, preparation on how to sell your business or purchase your competitor, and how to make your business as valuable as possible, whether you plan to continue to operate it, or to market it to others. It includes a glimpse into future technology trends as well as potential business trends based on varying market shifts, and all of it is going to be relevant to your business.
Though all RDE courses can be purchased a la carte, based on attendee interests, the tracks are designed to help attendees select appropriate courses to meet those interests. The full list of all the sessions offered in each of the tracks can be found online at www.semashow.com/scrs.
“Our single greatest objective since day one has been to deliver education which provides tangible information which can be immediately implemented when our attendees return home to their business,” shared Ron Reichen, SCRS Chairman. “In essence, we seek out subject matter that is well-delivered and relevant to what repairers want, and need, to know. We want topics that are so relevant and urgent to the changing landscape of the industry, they simply can’t afford to not attend.”
On Monday, July 22nd, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) will hold an open board meeting from 3:00 – 5:00pm in Boston, Massachusetts. The meeting held in the Hancock Room of the Westin Boston Waterfront, will be open to anyone wishing to learn more about the association’s activities. The two hour meeting will include updates from SCRS staff and committees, outlining current and future work initiatives the association has undertaken on behalf of its membership.
The meeting will also include a detailed presentation from the SCRS Education Committee, led by committee member Toby Chess. The topic will focus on repairing aluminum using stud welding and dent pulling equipment technologies which meet prescribed heating limitations. The presentation will feature the premier of a multimedia instructional video and in-person discussion which will walk through step-by-step methodologies that can create profitable repair scenarios in your collision business.
“It is critical for collision repair businesses to understand the repair options that are available in the industry,” shared SCRS Chairman Ron Reichen. “Paul Val, Toby Chess and the Education Committee have put together a presentation that demonstrates how certain repair procedures and equipment can produce extremely beneficial results that aid the consumer through cost effective repair methodology, while still producing high quality, profitable repair work.”
SCRS will also welcome Molly Broduer, Vice President of the SCRS affiliate association, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers Massachusetts (AASP-MA). Broduer will give a brief update on current activities taking place in the state and an overview of efforts underway by the state association.
It is not necessary to register to attend the SCRS Open Board Meeting.
Collision repair attendees are also encouraged to attend the Repairer Roundtable, being held the following morning, Tuesday, July 23rd from 8:30am – noon. This meeting is a continuation of the ongoing series of repairer forums. This event is limited to collision repairers and direct representatives of collision repair businesses. To attend, please register at email@example.com, and identify topics that you believe are important to be discussed during the working session.
October 28 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
November 4 - November 7
April 17, 2015 - April 18, 2015
May 4, 2015 - May 6, 2015