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Wednesday, 10 May 2017 20:54

10 Takeaways From the Southern Automotive Repair Conference

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4) “GM—Supplemental Restraints/ Service & Repair” by Mike Joachim


Mike Joachim, field manager aftermarket from GM, shared information about “Supplemental Restraints / Service & Repair.” Joachim’s presentation covered the operation, inspection and servicing of General Motors supplemental restraint systems. Topics included inspection and replacement of system components, SDM programming, and GM wire repair strategy. Joachim stressed the importance of proper repair and system integrity, and of following GM’s published repair procedures using factory-recommended tooling and techniques. Attendees were also provided with additional online resources for collision repair facilities, their technicians and customer-facing staff.


“For safety’s sake, don’t rely 100 percent on your memory, or on your experience!” said Joachim. “Because vehicles, system design, and repair techniques change constantly, consult manufacturers’ service and repair information on every repair, even if you feel like you already know how to fix the vehicle.”


In summary, Joachim shared his own version of a thought from “Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor (1874)”: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it is what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  


5) “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops” by Dave Luehr


Dave Luehr shared the “Six Secrets” that are currently being used by the best body shops to rise to higher levels of success than their competition. Luehr, the owner of Elite Body Shop Solutions and author of “The Secrets of America's Greatest Body Shops,” explained why NOW is the greatest time to be in the collision repair business for those with the right mind-set. He spoke to attendees about creating a winning mind-set, lessening the dependency on DRPs and building a sustainable business model to overcome competition. He also shared information about dealing with the challenges of family-operated businesses, and how to attract and keep customers for life. 

“Shops everywhere really do have a lot of opportunity hidden within the disguise of troubled times and shop leaders who are able to stop blaming their problems on everybody else and take full accountability for their success or failure in life can absolutely achieve anything they set their minds to,” said Luehr. “It is not always a message that everyone wants to hear, but it is the message that needs to be heard!”


6) “Competing with Consolidation” by Brad Mewes

Brad Mewes, the owner of Supplement, talked about “Competing with Consolidation.” Mewes, a keynote speaker who was brought up in a family collision repair business, now assists shops as a financial industry expert. During his presentation, Mewes talked about the current state of the industry, the future of collision repair, the role of Wall Street financiers, other industries that have consolidated, and strategies that smaller operators can use to compete in this challenging environment. 

“Understanding what the large collision repair chains are doing and how they operate gives you an advantage when competing as a smaller organization,” said Mewes. “My job is to help business owners grow their business and compete with businesses that literally have billions of dollars behind them. It’s a bit of business jujitsu—understanding what your competition does well, but also what you may do better than them with less effort.”

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