I thought for those who missed out on this event, as well as those who attended, I would give you a few of the reasons on why Capricorn stepped up and took the lead in arranging an industry-wide event, instead of hosting an event for our Members and Preferred Suppliers exclusively.
Capricorn has automotive repairers at the centre of its existence and culture, especially the sustainability of both our Members and Preferred Suppliers businesses. Whilst Capricorn has in excess of 21,000 Members across all sectors of the automotive repair industry, we have a very significant membership within the collision repair industry, and this sector is the second largest component of Capricorn’s business.
There are currently within Capricorn, around 1,400 collision/panel Members in Australia, and nearly 500 in New Zealand. This has Capricorn at around half of the regularly reported number of shops in Australia, and over 60% in New Zealand.
In a number of forums held with both Members and Preferred Suppliers, commentary was that the industry appeared to have less lustre and certainly a lot more angst, on both repairer and supplier fronts. Industry developments of consolidation and rampant increases in technology affecting both repairability and equipment, are key issues that like a squeaky wheel, never seemed to go away, and each time they rise to the fore, these issues were often worse than before.
There’s certainly not a golden answer, but we believed that there was a place to start. That starting point was to create an event featuring a keynote speaker, qualified from within the industry, who has integrity, passion, and knowledge. They would also have the ability to challenge the significant issues, as well as highlight the opportunities which would allow industry stakeholders to become sustainable within their businesses now and into the future.
Enter Mike Andersen and what a dynamo he proved to be! Mike has an incredible grasp on the operations and knowledge of the collision industry. With his background encompassing shop ownership, insurer and assessor bodies, as well as being heavily involved in the OEM vehicle manufacturer field of parts and technology, Mike was able to provide in-depth information which was equally relevant here as it in his home base USA.
Mike had everyone captivated, entertained and was certainly educated on how life in a panel shop can be. If repairs are done with safety first at the forefront of every repair, and the ability to drive continual change with stakeholders based on new levels of trust between repairers, assessors and insurers. This also includes being able challenge the times and rates held within insurer driven estimating systems and deliver an improved outcome for the repairers. The 200 delegates soon boomed Amens to his points and statements, and “that dawg don’t hunt” being the term he uses to show disagreement was only used a few times when the room reflected on poor practice.
David Newton-Ross (former editor of National Collision and Repair Magazine), led our panellists through a number of topics raised within Mike’s presentation, as well as from audience interaction. A fair amount of discussion was led by Mike Killen, (Killen’s Smash Repairs), on the inaccuracies of times captured within systems and from Mike’s information, we will be exploring working with both providers and solution architects to improve this matter. Very valuable discussions were led by Geoff Gwilym (VACC), Jason Trewin (I-Car Australia), Rod McDougall (QBE Insurance), Andrea McCarthy (Panel Works) and Carly Ruggeri (Euro Panels).
Under a more active discussion, Carly Ruggeri and Andrea McCarthy spoke to the issues of insurers dictating/forcing rates as well as issues in parts supply, and very soon the term of “The race to the bottom” was as hot a topic as was the discussion on the need for safe, quality repairs using OEM repair methods and times.
It is our intention to bring Mike back to Australasia as we look to host our next Futures Collide conference again with the wider industry. As well as host informative and educational sessions across the various states for our Members and Preferred Suppliers.
Capricorn has also commenced with bringing new Preferred Suppliers of products and services for our collision members into the network. There are also some very exciting opportunities being worked on right now, so as they say….
Watch this space!