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A message from Farzam Afshar, CEO, VeriFacts Automotive, and the Guild 21 Board of Directors was next. Farzam emphasized that although Verifacts sponsors Guild 21, the Guild is an independent group of collision repairers, insurers and vehicle manufacturers that stand for sweeping innovation in the industry. The commitment is to create transparent customer focused solutions. The emphasis is to invent a radical new future where safety, efficiency and a cost-effective process are our guiding principles.
The speaker at this MaestroConference was Jeff Peevy, Senior Director of Field Support and Segment Development for I-Car. His topic was "Learning Culture, the Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage." He said he hopes to show that there is always a significant return on investment from training. To show this, he referred to three study groups where how to study and develop a learning culture were researched by I-Car. There were nine shops in Group One, eleven shops in Group Two, and twenty-eight shops in Group Three. The study focused on four metrics: cycle time, touch time, CSI score and supplement frequency.
Among the shops studied there were three differing degrees of "learning culture." The typical shop was essentially neutral, top-performing shops had a strategic learning culture, and the rest had a minimal (if any) learning culture. For shops with a strategic learning culture, the six-month average after training was a 28.9% reduction in cycle time, a 35.5% increase in touch time, a 4.8% increase in CSI scores, and a 12.5% reduction in supplement frequency. For shops with a typical learning culture, the six-month average after training was a 13.8% reduction in cycle time, a 49.2% increase in touch time, a 6% increase in CSI scores, and an 11.2% reduction in supplement frequency. For shops with a minimal learning culture, the six-month average after training was a 3.6% reduction in cycle time, a 1.9% increase in touch time, a 1.2% increase in CSI scores, and a 10% reduction in supplement frequency.
Another measure of the effectiveness of a learning culture was employee retention. There was essentially no turnover for strategic learning culture shops. The typical shop had a 14% turnover rate, and minimal learning culture shops had a 20% turnover rate. Where the best learning culture was established, personnel believed knowledge is a company asset and learning is the only source of sustainable competitive advantage. Management promoted and supported this belief throughout the organization. There was a learning expectation for all staff members and a commitment to strive for expertise in one's role. Knowledge was shared freely. Solutions were sought that involved the whole operation. And a common vision was created together. New personnel were recruited to support the learning culture.
By contrast, the attitude toward learning where there was little if any learning culture was essentially negative. Management would apologize if an employee were sent for training. With that negative attitude, 60% failed to even show up for training or to notify anyone of the failure to show. For those who did show, the negative attitude minimized any benefits. There was apparently no recognition that the industry is facing a technological tsunami that can be a death blow to shops that fail to keep up with the needed knowledge and expertise. And these days there is even a limited shelf life to technical knowledge as vehicles are undergoing constant change.
Jeff closed with a summary of the "Eight Practices of a Learning Culture."
- Believe that knowledge is a company asset and learning is the only source of sustainable competitive advantage.
- Promote and support this belief throughout the organization.
- Establish a learning expectation for all staff members.
- Commit to expertise within your roles.
- Share knowledge freely.
- Think of the whole operation when looking for solutions to challenges.
- Create a vision together.
- Recruit to support a learning culture.