CCIF Toronto 2015 : Big Impact

OEM panel discussed the impact of using OE parts and repair procedures on vehicle safety. (Photo: Huw Evans)

OEM panel discussed the impact of using OE parts and repair procedures on vehicle safety. (Photo: Huw Evans)

With high attendance and anticipation it probably wasn’t surprising that CCIF Toronto not only delivered the goods but even surpassed expectations.

From looking at the nametags on the registration desk it became clear that CCIF Toronto 2015 was an event many in the collision industry simply didn’t want to miss. People traveled from as far away as Edmonton, St. John’s and Vancouver to be make the trip to Hog Town. When all was said and done, 399 attendees—a record number—had pre-registered for the event and as things got underway it became crystal clear why.

Larry Coan, Damageability Product Concern Engineer, Customer Service Engineering, Ford Motor Company, provided valuable insights about the new 2015 F-150 Collision Repair Program.

With Ford essentially re-writing the rules when it comes to pickup design and construction, the task to ensure collision shops are properly equipped to repair the vehicle is critical.Coan noted that Ford has spent a great deal of time (starting in 2009) ensuring the industry has been kept up to speed.

To help make the repair process easier, Ford is providing instruction sheets to ensure technicians are able to get the necessary information they need, via I-CAR Canada’s RTS portal, while in the US a number of insurance company sites also feature access to repair instruction sheets.

Coan also highlighted significant changes in body and frame design on the new F-150, which will allow sectioning procedures that don’t require replacement of entire assemblies, saving time and expense for both shops and insurance carriers.

“Ford engaged US-based insurers during the development process, to make sure repair costs were held down, while standards remained high,” he said.

Skills Program:Growing, Evolving

While ensuring that shops and technicians are able to effectively repair vehicles like the new Ford F-150, the emphasis on industry training continues to grow overall, while the rate of change continues to increase as well.

And that’s why initiatives such as the CCIF Skills Program are proving so vital. Leanne Jefferies, director of the program, provided an encouraging update, which has seen the Nova Scotia competition remain on the agenda, following a solid response from repairers requesting assistance to sign up apprentices. Additionally, on-site Car Painting continues to grow. Attendees were shown a video of the Skills Canada National Competition, which this year, takes place in Saskatoon, Sask. (May 27-30). If anything, the growth of, and support for, the CCIF Skills Competition, shows how dynamic and progressive the collision repair industry has become.

Jefferies also provided an update on the fascinating Haiti Arise Technical Institute project. Through a partnership with Haiti Arise Ministries, CCIF and its American counterpart, CIC, have made a commitment to help provide a future for young people in Haiti, helping the Ministries rebuild its Technical Institute facilities, including a brand new shop for carpentry, mechanical and welding classes. Through its Buy a Brick fundraiser, CCIF and CIS are helping to ensure the project is completed. “By necessity, bricks are handmade in Haiti,” said Jefferies “I hope you will join us in this really great effort.”Getting back to the training side, Jason Bartanen, Director of Industry Technical Relations at I-CAR in the U.S., talked about the new Repairability Technical Support (RTS) portal, that’s designed to provide easy access to OE technical information and repair procedures so that collision technicians are able to find what they need, when they need it. “We encourage all OEMs to make repair procedures available,” he said, highlighting some of the real progress that’s been made in working with vehicle manufacturers to find the best solutions to ensure quality, efficient repairs.

Norm Kramer, Consultant, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, got the audience to take part in a Q&A voting session. Here, attendees were invited to point out what was wrong with a number of deliberately-staged collision workplace pictures and discuss why safe work practices are so important. “If you have sloppy safety standards, it’s not a question of ‘if something will happen’ but rather ‘when’,” he said. Kramer focused on a number of real life situations that resulted in disaster. “Shops need to understand that safety can be a profitable asset for the business,” he said.

Andrew King, Managing Partner at DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, provided an overview of the inaugural CCIF Business Conditions survey. He pointed out why it’s important for shops to get involved, namely, so they can understand how they are performing in relation to rivals and how to identify benchmarks. He also provided an overview of Canada’s continuing growth in new vehicle sales and the impact it’s likely to have on the collision industry. “Because of record sales and cars lasting longer, we are confident the fleet will continue to grow.” Translation? With more vehicles expected on Canada’s roads, collision shops need to be ready to fix ‘em!

Major disruption

George Cooke, President, Martello Associates Consulting, delivered one of the most thought-provoking presentations of the day. He talked about consolidation trends in the industry, advancing vehicle telematics and the impact that it is likely to have on the way insurance is purchased and used in the future. He noted that as vehicles become increasingly autonomous, the types of injuries resulting from traffic accidents are likely to change, as are the ways in which claims are handled. “It will have an impact on how and where those vehicles will be repaired,” he said. “It will also have an impact on both the expectations of the insurer and vehicle owner.” Cooke discussed the introduction of programs like Industrial Alliance’s Mobiliz in Quebec…and how newcomers could catch traditional insurers off-guard. “Look at what happened to Blockbuster and Netflix,” he said.

Marie Artim, Vice-President of Talent Acquisition for Enterprise Holdings, discussed the need for creating the right organizational culture and how to effectively select people who can contribute to both organizational success and their own. She noted that Enterprise has developed “…a commitment to grow talent”, continuing with, “Employee loyalty and satisfaction are largely measurements of the emotional connections between employees and something about their shared work.”

Larry Jefferies, CCIF Chairman, served as Emcee during the event and also provided a state of the industry update, as well as encouraging attendees to share their views on what the Association has been doing and suggestions for future projects.

The OEM panel discussion, moderated by David Adams, President of the Global Automakers of Canada, saw representatives from Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, discuss the merits of OE parts and repair practices and the significant impact they have on overall vehicle safety.

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