Collaboration

Canada has shown that stakeholder collaboration is the way of the future in collision repair. (Photo: Huw Evans)

Working together can achieve great things.

We’re often told in business, that teamwork is what ultimately makes us achieve our objectives. And it’s true, when different people get together and bring their own skills, knowledge and wisdom to the table; the end result is often far greater than trying to just go it alone.

Yet casting the net wider, we’re often told that “it’s a dog eat dog world out there,” that we “need to be always one step ahead of everybody else” and “don’t give an inch otherwise they’ll take a yard.”

If I look at what’s happened in the Canadian collision repair industry over the last few years, it would seem that the way forward isn’t everybody for themselves in the marketplace, it is rather an emphasis on all industry stakeholders working together to achieve a common purpose.

The creation of a First Notice of Loss (FNOL) Assignment, whereby insurance companies and collision repairs have come together for a common objective is unprecedented in the industry.

If you’d asked most industry people a decade ago, they would have thought the idea was impossible. Yes, the relationship between insurance carriers was (and to a certain extent still is) challenging at times, but the ability for both parties to sit down, proactively and work out a proposal to streamline and improve the claims process is worthy goal by any yardstick.

It is also setting the tone for the future of collision repair, not only in this country; but around the world. The growing involvement of OEMs in the repair process and the desire to protect the brand means that the days of “us versus them” are behind us. Trying to lower repair costs, use cheaper parts or skimp out on training staff simply will not do anymore.

It is now in everybody’s best interests to ensure the vehicle is fixed properly, using the correct parts and the correct procedures. Make one mistake (which can be small as installing the incorrect grille emblem), and liability can open up and swallow you whole.

In this country, I really think we’ve shown ourselves to be a model for the collision repair industry worldwide and the ability for insurers, repairers, vendors, training partners and OEMs to work together should be seen as a shining beacon on how to get things done, properly and effectively. Three cheers for Canada!

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