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Tuesday, 20 November 2012 21:24

Repairer-Only Meeting at SEMA 2012 Provides Forum for Unfiltered Discussion

In a packed, standing-room only venue, the second in a series of repairer-only meetings was held Nov. 1 at the 2012 SEMA Show in the LVH Hotel Conference Center. Assured Performance Network (APN), the OEM Roundtable, and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) sponsored the event.

This special event for representatives of collision repair businesses was designed to provide a place where collision repairers could engage in candid conversation about the challenges facing their industry, without any undue influence from opposing agendas. The unanimous feedback at this event, and other recent assemblies of repairers, was to hold a ‘repairer only’ forum-assembly in conjunction with other industry events on a quarterly basis starting with Palm Springs events in late January.

 

According to Scott Biggs, CEO of Assured Performance Network, “Repairers have overwhelmingly expressed their interest to make the repairers only forum-assembly an ongoing organized event to ensure there is always a place for repairers to express their opinions openly and without filters and interference.”


“There was a lot of emotion and passion as repairers articulated their concerns and discussed solutions,” said Jordan Hendler, Executive Director of the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association. “This was a great start to bring repairers and repairer groups together to talk specifically about repairer issues and how to collectively resolve some long-standing problems.”

The forum is not a replacement or competition for participation in other inter-industry events. While the Las Vegas gathering had no set agenda, the open discussion agenda provided for lively and passionate discussions covering a wide range of topics.

Insurer-mandated parts procurement programs dominated conversation, but a variety of other issues surfaced during the course of the two-hour event highlighting the mounting frustration felt by repairers.

“We attended the first two repairer meetings and were overwhelmed by the experience of the repairers that attended,” said Eddie Okahara, President of Oka’s Auto Body, Hawaii. “This type of meeting, where repairers attend to share common challenges from the perspective of one repairer to another, is refreshing. This industry changes so quickly, and it is a great benefit to talk with others that are involved in the day-to-day business of repairing and refinishing vehicles safely based on the manufacturers specifications; rather than former employees of repairers, retired owners, or people that have moved on to teaching or consulting and are no longer directly involved as we are.”

SCRS was an integral part of the forum’s formation. “I was impressed with the turnout at this event and the level of participation from all that were in attendance,” said SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark. “Every major organization, including SCRS, has a forum to discuss their issues. This style of repairer-only meeting that is not organization specific seems to provide a great opportunity to allow repairers the time and place to talk openly and without filters or other interests muting the opinions. The repair industry has identified a hunger for ongoing repairer-only meetings and the industry responded.”

The next repairer-only meeting will take place in conjunction with the industry events scheduled for Jan. 23-25 in Palm Springs, CA. For more information, contact SCRS Executive Director, Aaron Schulenburg (aaron@scrs.com) or APN Executive Director, Liz Stein (liz.stein@assuredperformance.net).

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