Monday November 29
Canadian Collision Industry Forum October ReportMike Bryan,Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) Administrator, has sent INSIGHT the following report:
What finer Canadian city to inspire passion than Montreal, so it was fitting for outgoing CCIF chairman, Glenn Hickey, to show his passion for the collision repair industry at the large CCIF gathering on October 16th. He was excited that the CCIF had come so far and was thriving as a unique forum for all industry stakeholders. But he had deep concerns for the future of the industry in terms of profitability and the supply of skilled labour in both technical and management areas.
“Why would any bright young person consider a career in the collision repair industry if they can see no prospect of earning $40-$50,000 a year to feed and house a family within a few years?” he asked.
Hickey noted that while material and parts costs continue to rise, pressure from insurers to cut costs was squeezing shop profitability in an industry already suffering slim margins. He called for stronger partnerships between collision repairers, insurers, and suppliers - and greater effort from all of them to understand each other’s needs. Collision repairers should do all that they can to reduce costs for their insurer customers, but insurers would need to acknowledge the efforts made by an industry that must continually invest in training, equipment, customer service, and new technology.
You could feel the energy at this third CCIF held in Quebec. You could feel it in the meeting room where simultaneous translators worked furiously to keep up with the forum’s dynamic presenters. You could hear and feel the buzz, too, during the breaks.
“It’s great to listen and learn from the presentations and to have my say in the open forum session and break-out groups,” commented one participant, “but I get so much extra value from conversations with people during the social breaks. How often would I get the chance to meet suppliers, insurers, recyclers, aftermarket parts people, rental car companies, OEMs, and software providers in a positive, open meeting like this, if it wasn’t for CCIF?" commented one shop owner.
Indeed, CCIF has broken down barriers between stakeholders and across Canada’s vast geography. Appropriately, CCIF Montreal provided the opportunity for an update on the industry in Quebec.
Michel Bourbeau, president of the Professional Collision Repairers Association of Quebec (CCPQ), shared his goals to bring self-regulation to the Quebec collision repair industry. A code of ethics, complaint mediation, shop classification, and standards of excellence would benefit consumers, insurers and the industry itself.
Bourbeau introduced Michel Pagano, an instructor at the Professional Skills Training Centre of Verdun, together with his students, Michel St-Onge, Catherine Leger and Jean-Sebastian Boyer. The students expressed their passion for the industry and how they could not wait until they were fully integrated as licensed technicians.
From the number of requests made for further information, the presentation made by Sheri Miller and Mylene Vallee of Student Connections, struck a chord with many shop owners. Student Connections was established by the federal government to help small and medium size business make greater use of the Internet. The organization operates all across Canada, providing students at affordable rates as consultants to guide companies in the planning and designing of web sites and in the everyday use of the Internet as a business tool.
Incoming CCIF chairman Larry Jefferies thanked and congratulated Glenn Hickey for his commitment and drive in directing and growing CCIF over the last three years. Without a doubt Hickey had made strides in uniting the industry from coast to coast, raising the profile of aftermarket and recycled parts and embarking on an image building strategy. He had consolidated CCIF’s role as a catalyst and left Jefferies in a strong position to capitalize on the relationships built and to use CCIF’s unifying influence for strengthening the industry.
“There is a great opportunity for CCIF to join with other industry stakeholders in making some bold and ambitious moves that will benefit all parties,” said Jefferies. “Come to CCIF Toronto on January 16th and get involved in some truly exciting a ground-breaking initiatives.”
The Canadian Collision Industry Forum meets again on Saturday, January 16th at the Marriott Airport Hotel in Toronto. The 2005 schedule is rounded out with meetings arranged for Surrey, BC on April 16th;, Fredericton, NB on June 18th; and Regina, SK on October 15th.
CCIF Administrator, Mike Bryan, expressed thanks for the tremendous sponsor support that CCIF has attracted in 2004.
“In providing the funding for CCIF to exist and grow, sponsors are playing a key role in uniting the industry. Their support is facilitating the growth of relationships between stakeholders as they learn to work more closely together as partners," Bryan commented. "With sponsor support CCIF will continue to strengthen its position as a catalyst and a conduit between the industry’s grassroots and its other stakeholders.”
Special thanks are due to the following sponsors who made CCIF Montreal possible:
For further information on CCIF or to register for its January 16th meeting, contact Mike Bryan at 905.726.9027 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
©2004 Collision Repair Industry INSIGHT