This article originally appeared in the April 2010 Issue of INSIGHT
©2010 Collision Repair Industry INSIGHT All Rights Reserved
KMC On Demand(TM) and I-CAR have announced a memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership under which KMC will provide the training platform and I-CAR will provide technical course content to create a new online learning opportunity for the auto collision industry.
"This collaboration brings together two industry leaders to seamlessly integrate the e-learning capabilities of KMC On Demand and the training expertise of I-CAR," said Colm Keenan, Vice President of Knowledge Management for KMC On Demand. "We are very proud I-CAR selected KMC to partner on this initiative. We share with I-CAR a similar vision that every person in the collision industry has the skills to achieve a complete and safe repair by increasing access to knowledge-based training directly related to his or her role in the field."
Currently, I-CAR offers individuals the opportunity to attend instructor-led classes that cover vehicle-specific collision repairs and general collision concepts. These classes are complemented by a limited offering of online training. The KMC On Demand platform will enable KMC and I-CAR to offer the automotive industry a broader curriculum of online learning modules with improved access and functionality.
"Partnering on this initiative with KMC On Demand is a critical development in I-CAR's plans to deliver role- and segment-specific training in the both the classroom and online," said John Edelen, President and Chief Executive Officer of I-CAR. "The KMC technology will enable I-CAR to bring more of our existing and future training to the industry - when, where and how the industry wants to receive it."
Collision repair professionals and insurance appraisers will benefit from improved performance in the field as the KMC On Demand platform provides tools and resources to directly support learning and performance, bridging from the learning environment to the work site. Individuals and collision repair facilities will be able to maintain their I-CAR training recognition status and state continuing education credits, as both CE credits and I-CAR points will be awarded for completion of the appropriate coursework on the KMC platform.
KMC On Demand is a unique platform that combines cutting-edge knowledge management technology with vetted and customized insurance courses and performance support information that adjusters can easily reference. KMC On Demand is part of Crawford Educational Services, a unit of Crawford & Company.
I-CAR, founded in 1979, is an international, not-for-profit training organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety and efficiency of auto collision repair for the ultimate benefit of consumers.o
The Technology Standards Committee of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has announced the general release of the Internet Parts Ordering (IPO) standard, version 2.0. IPO is an industry standard for the messages and information flow required to locate and order automotive product online.
Citing the advantages of open standards in connecting closed business systems, AAIA says IPO has the potential to transform the aftermarket supply chain. IPO makes use of Web service technologies to enable business partners to connect their disparate computer systems through accepted industry standards. This means value and benefits can be realized more quickly without the need to perform complex, time-consuming, error-prone, point-to-point integration. Open standards, such as IPO, avoid the disruption of legacy integration and deliver results at a much lower cost.
"This version of the Internet Parts Ordering standard is significant in three important ways," said Scott Luckett, Vice President for Technology Standards, AAIA. "The volume of computer code that has to be exchanged in the course of a transaction has been reduced by more than 25 percent and the standard messages are composed completely with elements shared between the other AAIA standards such as ACES and PIES. Finally, IPO version 2.0 is the most thoroughly tested and documented specification ever published by the Technology Standards Committee. As a direct result, automotive IT development cycles will be shorter, re-use more standards-based code and deliver proven results."
Parts proliferation in the automotive industry is unrelenting and the slow-moving product in the tail end of the demand curve is growing. IPO is intended to allow aftermarket buyers to locate availability and complete special order transactions, online, between any business systems, in seconds. This has the potential to transform the aftermarket supply chain and convert slow-moving product from a liability into an industry asset.
The Internet Parts Ordering standard is fully documented with test code and schema compatible with all industry standard development tool sets. For more information, visit www.aftermarket.org and click on "Technology."
AAIA is a Bethesda, Maryland-based association whose more than 23,000 member and affiliates manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, service, tool, equipment, materials and supplies. Through its membership, AAIA represents more than 100,000 repair shops, parts stores, and distribution outlets.
Solera Holdings, Inc., a global provider of software and services to the automobile insurance claims processing industry, has acquired 100 percent of the outstanding shares of Market Scan Holding B.V. Market Scan is a leading data analytics and software company serving the Dutch insurance industry.
"This acquisition represents an additional step towards unlocking the value of Solera's global claims databases which contain over 2 billion data points representing over 100 million repair claims and processing of over $200 billion in claims payments. Market Scan's core competency in data analytics, combined with its strong management team, will be a valuable contributor to the expansion of our product bundle in the Netherlands and other Solera markets," said Tony Aquila, Solera's Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
"We are very excited about the acquisition and the opportunity to add our data analytics capabilities to Solera's value proposition to insurance customers in the Netherlands and to extend the offering to other Solera markets," said Robert van der Plas, Market Scan's Managing Director.
Solera is active in over 50 countries across six continents. The Solera companies include Audatex in the United States, Canada, and in more than 45 additional countries; Informex in Belgium; Sidexa in France; ABZ and Market Scan in The Netherlands; HPI in the United Kingdom; Hollander serving the North American recycling market; AUTOonline providing salvage disposition in a number of European countries and Mexico; and IMS providing medical review services.
Used car dealership chain CarMax Inc. has reported that its fourth quarter earnings doubled as higher prices and increased customer traffic drove sales. It also plans to resume store growth, a sign of recovery from the worst U.S. auto sales market in decades.
Stronger sales and profits as well as increasing stability in the credit markets will allow CarMax to open between eight and fifteen stores over fiscal 2012 and 2013, according to CEO Tom Folliard. It also will open three previously built stores this fiscal year, which it had announced last quarter.
Over the past year, CarMax has curtailed its store growth in response to the economic environment, but has said it is committed to resuming its long-term plan of increasing its store base, which had been growing at annual rate of about 15 percent.
"While sales are not back to pre-recession levels, the positive trends that we've seen in our strong profitability have convinced us that moving forward with a measured plan for store growth over the next few years is the appropriate strategy," Folliard said in a conference call with investors.
CarMax, which currently operates 100 stores, earned $75.4 million in the three months ended February 28, up from $37.5 million a year ago.
The company said revenue rose about 25 percent to $1.83 billion from $1.47 billion a year ago, while sales at stores open at least a year rose 12 percent.
Used vehicle sales rose 13 percent as the company's average selling price rose ten percent. CarMax said its gross profit per used vehicle sold increased 1.3 percent to $2,067 and total gross profit increased 15 percent primarily because it sold more cars. It also lowered its reconditioning costs by $200 per car over the year.
The company's auto financing arm reported income of $58.9 million compared with $28 million a year ago.
To weather the weak automotive market and better position it for future growth, CarMax has been focused on lowering expenses, and improving traffic, execution, and gross margins. It had lowered its advertising spending and reined in store and corporate overhead costs.
Expenses for the fourth quarter increased 3 percent to $202.2 million versus a year ago.
For the year, the company earned $281.7 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with $59.2 million, or 27 cents per share, in the previous year. Revenue for the year increased 7 percent to $7.47 billion from $6.97 billion.
Effective immediately, BASF Automotive Refinish has made several appointments to the company's Sales Management Team.
Denise Kingstrom Fernandez is appointed Strategic Accounts Manager for BASF Automotive Refinish and, as such, assumes responsibility for managing its ColorSource program. She has been with BASF Coatings North America for eleven years, most recently as Business Development Manager for the BASF OEM Coatings General Motors account. Fernandez was part of the team responsible for BASF achieving the General Motors Supplier of the Year award for six out of the last eight years. Fernandez’s experience in working with large customers positions her well for her new role.
Keith Bell has been appointed Central Zone Manager. Previously, Bell held the position of Strategic Account Manager responsible for key distributors and MSOs. Going forward he will draw on that experience as he assumes the role of Central Zone Manager, and focuses on growing the BASF Refinish business in the Central United States.
Michael Kaufman is appointed Eastern Zone Manager. Prior to this, he managed the South East zone for BASF Automotive Refinish, and his role has been expanded to include entire East Coast from Maine to Florida.
John Moreau will re-join BASF as Western Zone Manager. For the past year, he was Vice President of sales for Thomas Concrete in Atlanta. Prior to that Moreau was with the BASF Construction Chemicals business for fourteen years.
Jim Smith is appointed Strategic Initiatives Manager. In this new role, he is responsible for implementing major initiatives within BASF Automotive Refinish. Prior to this Smith was the Western Zone Manager for BASF Automotive Refinish.
The Hertz Corporation, the largest worldwide airport general use car rental brand, and CARSTAR, the largest group of branded collision repair centers in North America, are rewriting the rules for vehicle rental in the collision repair process with the roll out of an entirely new vehicle rental program across the CARSTAR network.
The program enables Hertz to stage vehicles at CARSTAR locations and replenish the onsite inventory daily based upon each shop's rental car requirements. CARSTAR shops are provided with car keys and shop employees are able to rent and return vehicles. In addition, Hertz offers options for on-site rental personnel support and full-fledged retail franchises to CARSTAR owners under qualifying circumstances. For consumers, this means the elimination of wait times and a choice of rental cars. For shop owners, this means higher closing ratios and more satisfied customers.
Robert Stuart, Hertz Senior Vice President, Global Sales, commented, "Working with CARSTAR has been a rewarding experience. Both Hertz and CARSTAR have a mutual and unwavering commitment to improving consumer experiences. Through the out-of-the-box thinking and true spirit of our partnership, we are rewriting the role of vehicle rental in the collision repair process. And, already, we are seeing an increased level in customer satisfaction."
Ernie Laky, CARSTAR's Vice President of Purchasing, commented, "Our new partnership with Hertz couldn't be going better, or be more exciting for us and for our franchisees. The benefits are unarguable. Three quarters of our Hertz users improved their customer satisfaction scores in 2009 versus 2008."
Dan Young, CARSTAR's Senior Vice President of Insurance, commented, "Our new partnership offers our insurance partners a meaningful route to higher policy holder satisfactions through their accident experiences, and to higher retention rates. Our Hertz users' customer satisfaction scores even outperform the already outstanding ratings for the CARSTAR system as a whole."
CARSTAR, with more than 395 shops in North America, recognized that dissatisfaction with vehicle rental was often responsible for one quarter of its shops unfavorable ratings by customers. Concurrently, The Hertz Corporation, with more than 1,750 off airport locations, had been developing a new model of operating to improve the overall collision repair process. Together, the two entities created the Hertz/CARSTAR car rental model for its repair shops.
CARSTAR is the largest group of branded collision repair centers in North America with over 395 locally owned and operated locations in 28 states and 10 Canadian provinces.
The Hertz Corporation, a subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., is the world's largest airport general use car rental brand, operating from approximately 8,100 locations in 146 countries worldwide. Hertz is the number one airport car rental brand in the U.S. and at 78 major airports in Europe, operating both corporate and licensee locations in cities and airports in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.o
Maintaining proper inventory stock levels is critical for maximizing profitability and growth potential. With this in mind, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes has unveiled its new inventory management tool, Lean Stock(TM) Inventory System, to help collision shop owners and managers improve productivity, product availability and consistency. With a greater control of inventory, shops will ultimately lower inventory dollars, better manage shelf life of products, and have less waste and increase profits.
The Lean Stock Inventory System provides both structure and definition by giving shops the resources to barcode entire inventory. The inventory manager scans the barcodes on the kanban trigger to place replenishment orders through the sherwin-automotive.com website. The order is promptly delivered, verified by the inventory manager for accuracy, and then restocked in a timely manner.
The system provides a simple, easy-to-operate mechanism for ensuring that inventories remain at optimal levels. With the Lean Stock Inventory System the technicians always have the correct products at their fingertips and shops can reduce their inventory costs.
Lean Stock Inventory System customers have reported immediate results in operating efficiencies. Jim Hill, owner of Master-Tech Paint and Collision said, “I am responsible for my own inventory. There is no need to overstock. The correct product arrives on time daily.”
The Sherwin-Williams Company, founded in 1866, is one of the world's leading companies in the manufacture, distribution and sale of coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial and retail customers. Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, a division of The Sherwin-Williams Company, manufactures and distributes a complete line of advanced technology paint and coating systems for automotive and fleet refinishing industries.
Mitchell International, Inc., a provider of information, workflow and performance management solutions to the Property & Casualty claims and Collision Repair industries, has released WorkCenter(TM) Total Loss 4.0, the latest version of the industry's most accurate, trusted and verifiable total loss vehicle valuation solution developed in conjunction with customer satisfaction and vehicle pricing expert J.D. Power and Associates.
As a part of its advanced feature set, WorkCenter Total Loss 4.0 presents detailed vehicle equipment data much like that contained in a build sheet and in the same "window sticker" terminology used by the manufacturers themselves. Sourced through R. L. Polk & Co., the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions, the detailed descriptions of options and packages are displayed on the Mitchell comparable vehicle and N.A.D.A. vehicle valuation reports.
Supplying an easily understood, readily accepted description of vehicle equipment allows carriers to assure policyholders that all the equipment on their total loss vehicle was taken into account for the valuation. This results in increased customer satisfaction along with improved first call settlement rates for insurance carriers.
Jesse Herrera, Senior Vice President, Product Management and Marketing for Mitchell International, said, "With the addition of vehicle equipment option package data, we believe WorkCenter Total Loss 4.0 is now the industry's most comprehensive vehicle configuration offering, underscoring Mitchell's commitment to vastly improving often hotly contested and opaque claims settlements involving vehicle equipment and option packages. This advancement also further streamlines the total loss valuation process by making the most up to date, accurate and trusted vehicle valuation data instantly available to consumers, estimators and insurers."
In addition, WorkCenter Total Loss 4.0 will ease the job of the estimator because all of the manufacturer standard equipment will display automatically via Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) decode. The estimator will only need to review and select vehicle packages and optional equipment, improving accuracy and reducing cycle time.
WorkCenter Total Loss is a statistically-driven, fully automated single solution that can optimize the total loss claims settlement process and fully support the highest customer satisfaction initiatives. The solution combines Mitchell's superior claims processing solutions with J.D. Power and Associates' data analysis and superior pricing capabilities, resulting in an intuitive and powerful methodology for insurance carriers. It is available via the web or as a stand-alone, desktop application.
Mitchell International enables millions of electronic transactions between more than 30,000 business partners each month to enhance partner productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
Erie-LaSalle Body Shop & Car Care Center of Chicago, Illinois has received the Education Foundation’s Industry Leadership Circle donor recognition designation through their $1,000 contribution to the Foundation. Individual repair facilities achieve this donor designation by donating $1,000 or more annually to the Education Foundation. This donation will support the Foundation’s Collision Repair Education Campaign fund which allows the Foundation to provide its annual student scholarships, school grants, and the recently created Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant.
Robert Gottfred, President and owner of Erie-LaSalle Body Shop & Car Care Center commented, “With technology advancing as rapidly as it is, it is certain that our industry’s future leaders will need up-to-date technical education and training. The I-CAR Education Foundation has always been committed to the advancement of our industry through their support of the future of the industry. We at Erie-LaSalle are proud to support the I-CAR Education Foundation and their efforts to assist the industry’s schools and students. These educational programs are the gateway to intelligent, professional repair and claim service--the ongoing goals of all our industry.
I-CAR Education Foundation Executive Director Scott Kruger said, “I commend Erie-LaSalle for supporting the Education Foundation and joining our efforts in supporting schools' collision programs and their students. The Industry Leadership Circle donor recognition designation is meant to highlight industry organizations and individuals who are committed to investing in the future of the industry. Local repair facilities, like Erie-LaSalle, can and should get involved with their local schools. This local involvement by repair facilities assists not only young industry professionals near them who may be their future staff members but also helps to enhance the industry’s educational system nationwide.”
Collision repair associations leaders from around the country met in Secaucus, New Jersey, in March to share ideas and discuss state legislative or regulatory successes and efforts. The “2010 East Coast Resolution Forum,” an event sponsored by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) of New Jersey, was held in conjunction with AASP-New Jersey’s NORTHEAST 2010 trade show.
Here’s a round-up of some of the news and discussion from the meeting:
Iowa: Janet Chaney of the Iowa Collision Repair Association reported on the progress of a proposed state law the group supports that would in essence allow Iowa shops to transfer the expense of sales tax on paint materials they purchase to insurers or customers. Chaney said currently shops pay the sales tax on such purchases but are not reimbursed for it by insurers. The bill (HF 2530) would exempt shops from sales tax for wholesale materials purchases if sales tax is billed and collected as a line item to the shops’ customers. An Iowa House committee had approved the bill, though it failed to make further legislative progress before lawmakers adjourned the session.
New Jersey: Charlie Bryant of AASP-New Jersey said state regulators have told the association that companies conducting mobile repairs – such as those doing lot repairs at dealerships – are not covered under the state’s shop licensing law. He said the association is working to change that, in part by pointing out that even photos on some of those companies’ websites show them doing more than just minor damage repairs. Representatives from other states at the meeting told Bryant they have successfully addressed mobile repair operations by speaking with environmental regulators, the fire marshal, and even land zoning agencies (when a dealership was not zoned to have a body shop at its location).
Pennsylvania: Steve Behrndt of the Pennsylvania Collision Trade Guild expressed concern about a towing-related legislation in his state that he believes could have profound impact on collision repairs. Behrndt said the bill (HB 2041), which has been passed by the Pennsylvania House and has been introduced in the Senate, prohibits a tower from obtaining a signature authorizing repairs, or from refusing to release a vehicle to an insurer when paid for towing and storage, seemingly overriding current state law requiring permission from the vehicle-owner. It also requires a tower to notify the insurer of a vehicle, if known, the whereabouts of the vehicle within 24 hours of the tow. Behrndt said all these provisions will make it easier for an insurer to get a vehicle into a shop of its choice.
“We call this legalized wreck-chasing on behalf of the insurance industry,” Behrndt said. He cautioned those from other states to watch for similar legislation in their state being promoted as s pro-consumer towing-related bill.
Massachusetts: Peter Abdelmaseh, executive director of AASP of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, said proposed state legislation related to shop rates is among the projects on which three shop trade groups in the state have been working together. The bill would establish three levels of shop classification, opening the door for higher rates for shops with better levels of equipment and training.
“We believe in Massachusetts that the standards need to be attached to some economic benefit,” he said. “Otherwise, our people will be out making investments with no return”
Connecticut: Lisa Siembab of the Connecticut Collision Repair Specialists said that in addition to industry education and community service, that association may also focus this year on what it sees as a consumer disclosure issue related to some dealerships taking in collision repair work even if they don’t operate a body shop. She said some dealers have gone so far as to have doors labeled “Body Shop” within the dealership.
“The consumer is being led to believe that they indeed have a body shop when in fact they do not,” Siembab said. “We have a problem with that. We think the consumer needs to be fully informed that their vehicle will be leaving the premises to go to a body shop to be repaired. Consumers aren’t being told this.”
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has announced the opening of nominations for the fifteenth annual PRIDE Awards, which recognize those in the collision industry who selflessly donate their time, energy, and financial resources to worthy causes outside the industry.
The PRIDE Awards have been in existence since NABC’s formative years and are emblematic of its core mission: bringing positive attention to an industry that had traditionally suffered from less than flattering public perception. A ground?breaking concept at the time, the PRIDE Awards’ continuance speaks to their ongoing relevance.
“The PRIDE Awards are part of NABC’s DNA and an integral part of its history,” stated NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala. “They helped establish NABC’s profile in the public eye and have effectively focused the consumer’s attention on the many good men and women in our industry who play a part in making the world a better place.”
The award process is undergoing refinements this year in an effort to encourage the submission of nominees and heighten the award’s profile. A PRIDE committee, headed by PRIDE Co-Chairs Janet Chaney and Bob Keith, will facilitate the submission of nominees and help drive the project’s momentum until the awards presentation takes place at the Collision Industry Achievement luncheon during the SEMA Show.
In addition, NABC corporate members will be actively engaged in soliciting nominations for the first time, significantly expanding PRIDE’s outreach. To make nominating a candidate easier than ever, a revised, improved nomination form can be submitted online, available from the NABC website. To nominate a deserving person online, go to www.autobodycouncil.org and click on PRIDE AWARDS > Nomination Form. Printing a PDF version of the form, located on the same webpage, continues to be an option.
“These changes are designed to broaden PRIDE’s search for nominees and keep the award in the forefront of everybody’s thoughts,” said Chaney. “The award may be a longstanding fixture, but it continues to evolve. This is part of NABC’s heritage and legacy and that’s something of which we can all be proud. Please help us find the industry’s unsung heroes in 2010.”
The PRIDE Awards seek out and recognize individuals and/or groups who distinguish themselves by performing selfless acts of kindness or other humanitarian deeds outside their role in the collision industry. Any individual, business organization, or group employed in a collision industry related segment, such as collision repair facility, vehicle manufacturer, supplier/vendor, educator, insurer, independent appraiser, or trade association is eligible to be nominated.
To see a complete description of the nominating procedure, eligibility and other important award?related information, please visit www.autobodycouncil.org and click on PRIDE AWARDS > Nomination Form.
NABC is a non?profit organization dedicated to enhancing the image of the collision industry. The organization’s ongoing and continued success is a direct result of the efforts and support of its sponsoring companies and membership. For membership information call 888.667.7433 or visit www.autobodycouncil.org.
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