The recently formed Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence (ALARISE) recently became a new affiliate association of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).
According to SCRS, Alabama had gone approximately five years without an active association when a group of shops in the market area began to discuss the prospects of forming a new association.
In March of 2011, collision repairers in the marketplace began to work together with a number of interested paint suppliers and parts vendors, as they worked towards forming an organization that could best serve the needs of the Alabama collision repair industry. The effort to work toward the formation of an active association was the result of an industry conference held in February, 2012 featuring SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg as the keynote speaker. In addition to expanding on the importance of collision repairers working together to get things accomplished, and what it really meant to be an industry professional, Schulenburg discussed the topical subject of insurance mandated parts procurement programs.
The topic galvanized those in attendance. “Everyone in the room understood the challenges facing the industry, but hearing about the parts issue showed the magnitude of those challenges and made clear the importance of a unified industry voice in overcoming them,” said Steve Plier, acting president of ALARISE. “We started moving forward to organize an association, completing the basic and necessary paperwork filing with the state and hammering out our bylaws.”
Along the way, SCRS provided helpful feedback and information. “We basically used them as a model for our emphasis and approach,” said Plier.
As a result, the emphasis of ALARISE is to advance industry improvement and professionalism, underscoring education, not just for collision repair shops, but for the consumer. While the association endeavors to expose members to effective business principles and processes, and is looking into developing apprenticeship programs that will help address an acute technician shortage in the state, it understands that working to improve the image of the industry in the eye of the customer is every bit as important.
In December, ALARISE released a consumer awareness commercial on local cable television channels emphasizing the right of the vehicle owner to select a body shop. “We need to focus our message with the consumer in mind, making clear our commitment to them,” explained Plier. “Our potential customers have to see us for what we are—a legitimate industry willing to do whatever it takes to provide a high quality product and the best possible service. SCRS will be a great help in this area because of their high visibility and great reputation. We are extremely excited to be affiliates.”
SCRS looks forward to helping facilitate the continued growth and development of ALARISE. “This is a monumental moment in the formation of this new association in Alabama,” stated Schulenburg. “The collision repairers of Alabama and their customers will be well-served by this energetic, forward-thinking group; and I think they will receive tremendous value from the networking opportunities they will have with our other affiliates. Their vision, and creativity in addressing the issues that affect our constituents, make them a welcome addition to SCRS.”