It may not be that drastic, but it’s time to talk


Anyone who has spent more than a day working in the collision repair industry knows how complex it can be. Heck, less than a day in a shop could have a newcomer’s head spinning. Some bystanders probably get stressed just hearing you take a work-related phone call.

The automotive industry advances at a rapid rate—we all know that. New models pop up every year; procedures and accompanying repair processes can be refreshed almost daily, in some cases. The collision industry is left to tinker with the new models; the changes presented by outside forces— and they do so in stride.

Despite these challenges—almost exclusively known in the industry as mere “hurdles”—you’d be pressed to find a bad attitude regarding the situation. In fact, you’d be particularly stumped to find a negative mindset in the room of collision repair leaders at the first in-person meeting of the Canadian Council of Collision Repairers at the start of this year.

This meeting, which brought more than 50 shop owners and managers, in addition to several OEM representatives, took place on January 13. It was the first time the association met since its establishment nearly a year ago, though a crew of about 25 shop owners did previously gather for a rendezvous at our SEMA booth last November.

We only had so much space to gather on the SEMA floor—this meeting, held at Pfaff Autoworks’ sprawling facility in Markham, Ontario, offered a much grander scale for shop owners and managers to meet, mingle and dive into the thick of industry-leading topics. The sheer magnitude of the ideas shared at both meet-ups, however, remained the same.

If it was not apparent before, it is even clearer by the conversations I witnessed that Saturday in January that plenty of industry members are hungry for change— collaborative change. They want nothing more than to tackle the issues we face—and tackle them together. There are ideas, very good ones, that could lead to real, concrete change in the industry, in everyone’s favour. Our publisher, Darryl Simmons, puts it best in his note at the outset of this publication: you, the shops, have the capacity; you have the drive.

Now, it’s about coming together as an entire industry, finding what needs to be done and doing it. It sounds big—daunting and huge, even. But these conversations can happen if we’re all on the same page, at least the same chapter. The seeds for change have been sown. Let’s cultivate them and watch the garden grow.

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