Thursday, 24 March 2011 16:18

San Diego CAA Chapter Discusses I-CAR Course Restructuring

The San Diego chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) held their monthly meeting on March 15 at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego.

The San Diego chapter is encouraging members to share different efficiency techniques with the group at each meeting, which they call “Tips from the Top.” This month Paul Amato, owner of Amato’s Auto Body in San Diego, spoke about some tricks he uses around the shop to make things run a little more smoothly.

First Amato talked about those very  particular customers everyone is familiar with. Amato said he puts a red star sticker on the front and rear of a car when the owner is known to be very particular about their vehicle. This way it is easy for everyone involved in the vehicle’s repair to anticipate the customer’s expectations and reaction.

Amato also recommended that shops install an air dry system in their paint booths. “You cannot shoot water without a [good] air supply system,” said Amato.

His final tip was to use blueprint drawers that are long and shallow to separate vehicle clips. At his shop he makes the drawers community drawers so all body technicians are using the same clips. He separates them by make and color. This eliminates a lot of duplicate spending on clips and makes the clips easier to find.

“When you think outside the box, you’re going to make more money,” said Amato.

The night’s invited speaker was Gene Lopez, Southwest Regional Manager for the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).

Lopez, who recently won the CAA’s 2010 Darrell Mallot Award, spoke about I-CAR’s recent changes in front of about 30 attendees. I-CAR’s mission is to have everyone in the collision industry have the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve a complete and safe repair.

I-CAR recently restructured their courses and the requirements to be either a Platiunum Individual or a Gold Class Shop.

Lopez said I-CAR has spent the last 3 years getting feedback from the industry about how I-CAR can better meet their requirements.

“It is important to take programs relevant to your position,” said Lopez.

The new structure is also level-based, which helps to support continuous development. This way employees and shop owners aren’t just taking any courses to fill points needs, they are taking courses directed for what they will be doing every day on the job.

I-CAR has also revamped their website and their My I-CAR account options so employers can keep better track of their course progress.

There are only about 4,000 I-CAR Gold Class businesses nationwide. Lopez says this distinction can help businesses stand out.

“Be someone different than your competitors,” said Lopez.

The old course point standards for Gold Class businesses and Platinum Individuals can still apply until a business’s renewal date in 2011.

“We will make your technicians more efficient,” said Lopez.

He also mentioned that I-CAR is discussing making the program available to students at local community colleges. That way students are coming out of college with the type of training auto repair businesses are looking for.

For more information please visit www.i-car.com. If you are interested in learning more about I-CAR courses, please contact Gene Lopez at gene.lopez@i-car.com.

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