Close to 250 collision industry stakeholders attended the recent Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) which took place May 23rd and 24th in Halifax.
The event was highlighted by many firsts, including the first meeting for newly appointed CCIF Director for Caroline Lacasse. Other firsts included the selection and appointment of a new CCIF Chairman, Simplicity Car Care President, Paul Prochilo, who will replace current CCIF Chairman, Patrice Marcil, beginning in 2020.
The event agenda, which followed the previous evening’s traditional cocktail event, was rich with relevant content. In his opening remarks, Patrice Marcil welcomed meeting participants and congratulated Caroline Lacasse on her new role.
Training committee update
Marcil also provided an update on the work performed by the CCIF Training Committee and its commitment to support local technical training centres. He continued this theme by outlining the expectations of newly graduated collision repair technicians when joining the workforce including wages, group benefits, as well as their need to be welcomed, trained, and provided with growth opportunities within the organization.
The next speaker, Leanne Jefferies, a well-known figure within the collision repair industry, provided an overview of the Haiti Arise project, which is currently supervising the construction of a training centre in the country.
The next item on the agenda consisted of a panel discussion on human resources, led by Annabelle Cormack. She believes that direct collision repair shop involvement in local training centres is among the most effective approaches when it comes to recruitment.
The panel also focused on collision industry worker expectations—stressing the importance of favourable automotive aftermarket working conditions, which need to be improved in order for the industry to remain competitive.
Attendees listened closely to CCIF Steering Committee Member Peter Sziklai’s presentation, which attempted to clarify some of the issues regarding collision repair shop accreditation and certification. Sziklai discussed the need for qualified shops to ensure that they are performing repairs according to industry standards and said this must be a core objective of accreditation and certification.
He invited shops to invest time to make sure that they have all of the available information required before undertaking a shop accreditation or certification program so they can determine the benefits of implementing such a process for their particular shop.
Jeff Peevy, from the Automotive Management Institute, Farzam Afshar, from VeriFacts Automotive, and trainer Dave Giles, each delivered their own view of the various technological challenges which shops will be facing in the near future. Subjects discussed included automated estimating, the impact of car sharing, connected vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems and the consolidation trend of stakeholders developing these technologies.
A presentation by Tyler Brunatti, from Podium, was also included in the CCIF meeting agenda. He shared some new approaches that participants could use to better communicate with their customers while encouraging them to increase their social media presence.