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Employment Issues Relating to COVID-19

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We have located a resource that we believe you will find useful in answering many of the important questions you are facing right now as an employer.

A regular speaker at our HD Repair Forum, employment attorney, Cory J. King, shares some good news – Automotive supply and repair and heavy duty collision repair in particular, is considered an “essential service,” supporting the critical transportation infrastructure in most, if not all, areas of the United States. This means that heavy duty collision repairers may continue operations while of course, complying with other federal, state, and local orders regarding social distancing, group sizes, etc.

Mr. King’s firm, FordHarrison LLP, has created a special Coronavirus Task Force to assist employers through the labyrinth of new and constantly changing laws, orders, and regulations affecting their workplace. This past Friday, thousands of employers from around the world participated in a webinar conducted by that Task Force.

The webinar covered the main issues employers are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed best practices to help organizations mitigate the associated employment law risks.  A link to that webinar, as well as around the clock access to the firm’s extensive resources and materials, which are being updated several times a day to stay current, are designed to help employers through this pandemic and is available on the FordHarrison Coronavirus Task Force webpage. We encourage shops to take advantage of this free online resource. If you have industry specific questions, or need further assistance related to dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace or any other employment issue, Mr. King can be reached at (858) 214-3951 or cking@fordharrison.com.

If you have any questions, are looking to connect, or would like to share information regarding additional resources that may help the industry, please contact us or reach out to the organization’s Communications Manager, Jennie Lenk.

How Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Shops are Doing Their Part

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As the world watches the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, people and companies are doing everything possible to stay healthy, stay in business, and reduce the impact of this illness on the healthcare system and the economy.

Over the past few days we spoke with a number of shops and companies to find out what they’re doing to keep employees safe and healthy while trying to reduce the spread of the virus. The purpose of these calls was to gather information and share that with the HD Repair Forum audience.

Following are examples of the steps shops and companies across the US have put in place:

Steps for Staff

  • Every shop we spoke with has all employees wearing gloves at all times. There is a constant exchange of tools and wearing gloves discourages touching around the face.
  • Vendors and other non-employees are not allowed in shops in order to reduce contact and exposure.
  • Lunches and breaks are not at the same time for every employee, thus avoiding everyone congregating in one place at one time (physical distancing).
  • Some shops are purchasing lunch for staff; this reduces risk of bringing an illness from homes, and it supports local food-service businesses that may be surviving by pick-up or delivery only.
  • Some shops have altered work hours and created new shift times, so some employees start earlier in the day and leave earlier, while other employees come and leave later in the day. This establishes little, or no overlap while having fewer people in the shop at the same time.
  • Some businesses have opened on weekends to further spread out their staff’s time in the shop, and allowing some people, who have children at home to work more flexible hours.
  • To reduce bringing illness to the business some are offering a safe, clean place to change and asking workers to consider leaving work clothes and boots at the shop.
  • More hand-sanitizer stations are being placed throughout the business and a good supply of soap at every sink and wash station.
  • Anyone with so much as a sniffle needs to stay home until absolutely healthy.
  • If any staff can work from home, even for some hours, try to support that.
  • If a company has more than one location, no staff is traveling to other offices
  • Staff meetings in some shops are limited to no more than 6. Keep group meetings small, in open spaces if possible, and have people physically apart from one another.

It is critical to have staff buy-in for the measures you are taking. Some people are taking this situation more seriously than others, and it is very important everyone is in alignment with the steps and measures taken for the safety of all. One way to do this is to ask your team members for their ideas on how to keep everyone safe. When they feel they have a voice in the process, they are more likely to support new mandates.

Steps for Customers

  • No customers are allowed in shops. Customers are met outside and at a safe distance.
  • Some shops are requiring scheduled appointments only to spread out the number of people coming in for repair work.
  • Do not reuse pens; when a customer signs an estimate or invoice, give them the pen to keep.
  • Photo-estimating is being utilized as much as possible.
  • All vehicles are disinfected before any employee gets in a vehicle. Key touch points are wiped down including but not limited to:
    • Door handles (inside and outside)
    • Armrests
    • Steering wheel
    • Seat belts
    • Any push-button areas on the dash and doors (radio, electric windows, thermostat, etc.)
    • Cruise control and windshield wiper controls
    • Glove box and center console
    • Shift levers and knobs
    • Hazard light buttons

When all work is complete, the vehicle should be disinfected (following the same steps as above) before delivering it to the customer.
It is very important to communicate these measures with customers, so they know your procedures and feel safe when working with your company.

Steps for Leadership

  • Lead by example; if you ask your team to take certain safety measures, you should be abiding by those same measures or they won’t take you seriously.
  • Listen to your team. Many people are losing jobs right now. Kids are at home because schools are closed. Some products are not available on store shelves. All of this is creating stress. Anything you can do to give your employees some level of comfort in their roles will help with productivity and their overall well-being.
  • Look at opportunities to acquire products that your staff cannot get at a store. One shop had a large order of paper towels and toilet paper that they were able to share with their staff.
  • Stay informed of local, regional, and state mandates; they are changing, sometimes daily, and you need to be ready to make adjustments. Some states are requiring shelter in place or mandatory quarantines.
  • If possible, keep in touch with local officials. Your business may be able to help in some way.
  • Contact other shops and share ideas, challenges, and solutions. The HD Repair Forum was designed to promote networking within the industry and now is the time to take advantage of communicating with your industry peers.
  • Most importantly, keep yourselves, your team, and your customers safe. This is your highest responsibility.

In speaking with some of the vendor companies, many are cutting travel for their staff so communication and orders should be made by phone and email. Be patient with them as some of those companies are able to shift their efforts to the medical community. Gloves, dust masks, and head socks are difficult to come by right now, because they are being sent to medical establishments. Within your own shops, DO NOT REUSE THESE ITEMS! But do not be wasteful either, they are in high demand right now.

In addition to the many steps listed above, if you are taking additional actions at your place of business and you would like to share them, please let us know. Information is empowering, and this is certainly a time to help one another any way we can.

If you have any questions, are looking to connect, or would like to share the additional steps you are taking, please contact us: www.hdrepairforum.com/contact-us/

HD Repair Forum Cancelled Amid Evolving Concerns for Health and Safety

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Katy, Texas, March 13, 2020 – The 3rd Annual HD Repair Forum, originally scheduled for March 24th-25th in Fort Worth, TX, has been postponed, due to the evolving situation with the COVID-19 outbreak and efforts associated to reduce rapid spreading of the virus. 

Organizers of the event are in the process of rescheduling the Forum to take place later in the year. Announcements for new dates and hosting venue, for the largest gathering of heavy-duty collision repair professionals, industry leaders, and executives will be made in the coming weeks. 

“We apologize for any inconvenience but, under the circumstances, this is the best decision for everyone involved. The health and safety of our attendees, their families, and their colleagues is our first priority,” stated Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum President. “We look forward to hosting the event in the coming months where we will continue the networking, collaboration, and industry progress that our sponsors and attendees have grown to expect.”

The HD Repair Forum will continue to provide industry information through the monthly HD Repair newsletter, the organization’s social channels, and its website, www.hdrepairfourm.com

For questions, please reach out to the organization’s Communications Manager, Jennie Lenk.

Steve Beck and Aaron Lowe Showcased at HD Repair Forum 2020

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Steve Beck will have a significant presence at this years’ HD Repair Forum. Beck’s motivational and entertaining keynote speech will provide attendees with tips and suggestions on how to have a Great Day, Every Day. He will guide the audience through understanding our ability and influence to make every interaction a positive one. His insightful, energetic, and passionate approach will be on full display day one. 

After addressing attendees at the general session, Steve will deliver a fast paced ninety-minute seminar on “Coaching Employees”. Beck’s approach to coaching employees will leave you with tools and action items you can immediately implement in your place of business to get the most out of your team. Beck’s breakout session takes place during the fist of six afternoon break-out sessions taking place over the course of the program.

Right to Repair legislation dominated industry headlines almost ten years ago. It also changed the face of the industry. Aaron Lowe, Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs at the Auto Care Association was at the forefront of that legislation. He led an effort to ensure the industry had access to the data needed to properly repair vehicles. 

Many years later, Right to Repair is taking center stage yet again. The latest advancement in technology specific to telematics is causing shock waves across the country and in Washington D.C. Aaron will provide an update on what is happening in Massachusetts and in Washington D.C., and what impact it will have on the heavy-duty collision repair industry. 

Collision repairers, shop owners and management, fleet repairers, OEM/manufacturers, insurance professionals and appraisers, equipment/service/technology companies, and any others serving the heavy-duty collision repair industry are encouraged to attend the HD Repair Forum, taking place March 24th & 25th in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Online registration is available. www.hdrepairforum.com/register
For additional information on the complete two-day agenda: www.hdrepairforum.com/agenda

Additional Inquiries may be sent to Jennie Lenk: jenniel@hdrepairforum.com.

HD Repair Forum Releases Details for 3rd Annual Event, March 24th-25th

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The HD Repair Forum announced the release of its’ educational program and agenda for this years’ installment of the only event dedicated to the heavy-duty collision repair market. The two-day event is filled with a fast-paced agenda, with speakers from industry leading companies and individuals driving change in the industry. Some of the topics include:

  • Frame, Cab, and Trailer Repair
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Scanning, and Diagnostics
  • Business Strategy and Employee Relations
  • Steering, braking, and other key repair knowledge
     

The speakers and content for this program are a derivative of the work, input, and direction of the HD Repair Forum Advisory board www.hdrepairforum.com/advisory-board

HD Repair Forum Advisory board member, James Svasaand of Penske Truck Leasing states, “What makes the HD Repair Forum unique is that we have direct input on the content, speakers, and direction of the conference. As a result, it’s an event created for the people, but more importantly by the people in the industry.” 

The HD Repair Forum continues its goal to expand and include other industry stakeholder groups. For the first time, a bus manufacturer (Prevost) will be presenting at the conference. HD Repair Forum Advisory board member, Mark Polzin of Budget Truck & Auto added, “We repair cars, trucks, RVs, and buses. I’m thankful Prevost will be at the event. Their participation will shed light on some areas the industry can clearly benefit from, as it relates to the availability of parts information and repairability.” 

To see a complete list of speakers, content, and education programs visit: www.hdrepairforum.com/agenda

Online registration information for the event can be found at www.hdrepairforum.com/register

Any questions or comments can be directed to Brian Nessen and Jennie Lenk.  

HD Repair Forum Announces Formation of Committees to Address Collision Industry Setbacks

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HD Repair Forum, the collision industry’s largest gathering of heavy-duty repair executives and leaders, is proud to announce the creation of four committees: Education, Technology, Parts, and OEM Repair Standards.

These committees have been established to address the macro-level issues found throughout the heavy-duty collision repair industry and are co-chaired by leaders from various segments of the market. Insight on the direction of each of these committees will be presented during the 2020 HD Repair Forum being held March 24th – 25th in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The purpose of these committees is to address challenges and solve problems throughout the year, not just during the HD Repair Forum. The key to the success of these committees is strong leaders who share a passion to drive change and a vision for a path that improves the industry for all stakeholders.” Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum President and co-founder shares. “We are fortunate to have this diverse group of leaders pave the way for a brighter future.”

Education Committee Co-Chairs
Doug Schlueter – I-CAR
Brandon Eckenrode – CREF

OEM Repair Standards Committee Co-Chairs
Kevin Clary – Daimler Truck North America
Rohit Mathew – Carlisle & Co.

Parts Committee Co-Chairs
T.J. O’Hanlon – Navistar
Mark Polzin – Budget Truck & Auto

Technology Committee Co-Chairs
Chuck Olsen – AirPro Diagnostics
Aaron Polzin – Budget Truck & Auto

A complete list of committee members and mission statements are available on the committee pages of the HD Repair Forum’s website.

Collision repairers, shop owners and management, fleet repairers, OEM/manufacturers, insurance professionals and appraisers, equipment/service/technology companies, and any others serving the heavy-duty collision repair industry are encouraged to participate. If you are interested in learning more about the committees or contributing, you may send your inquiries to Jennie Lenk. As evidenced by the diverse cross section of companies and individuals currently serving on committees, all industry stakeholders are welcome to participate.

HD Repair Forum’s 2020 Event Designed to Prepare Industry Leaders for Change and Growth

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The 2020 HD Repair Forum is in full swing and the momentum continues to build for the only gathering solely dedicated to the heavy-duty collision repair industry. The 3rd edition of this event will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 24th & 25th in Fort Worth, Texas. The two-day event will include unique educational seminars and training classes designed to benefit all industry stakeholders. Repairers, insurers, independent appraisers, dealers, fleets, OEM’s, paint manufacturers, and the like are encouraged to attend. There is no additional charge to attend one or all of the fifteen classes offered, they are included in your registration. Early bird registration rates are available for a limited time at www.hdrepairforum.com/register.

As in year’s past, the HD Repair Forum advisory board consists of heavy-duty collision repair facility owners and managers and are the driving force behind the development of the program and the classes offered. Topics being covered at this year’s event will include:
– Advanced driver assistance systems
– Scanning
– Calibrations
– Tools and software for collision repairers
– Hiring, recruiting, and retaining talent
– Sales, marketing, and CSI
– Acquisitions, raising capital, and a lot more

A complete schedule of classes will be listed on the HD Repair Forum website in the coming weeks. Additionally, attendees are not required to sign up for individual classes and are given the flexibility to choose their classes while on site at the event.

Register now to guarantee your attendance, participation, and opportunity to network with the brightest minds in the heavy-duty collision repair industry.

2020 HD Repair Forum Opens Sponsorship Positions

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Plans for the third annual HD Repair Forum have been confirmed. The 2020 event is scheduled for March 24-25 at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel. Registration is now open and sponsorship opportunities are already being booked. Companies interested in having a presence at the HD Repair Forum are encouraged to book now as sponsorships are limited. More information can be found on the sponsorship page of the website.

“The HD Repair Forum brings together the stakeholders of the heavy-duty collision repair industry in an effort to provide attendees with a unique opportunity to discuss trends, address industry challenges, and evaluate key business strategies.” explains Brian Nessen, President of the HD Repair Forum. 

The 2019 event saw significant growth from its inaugural meeting. With the guidance of advisory board members and constituents, the HD Repair Forum is addressing the needs of the industry. A few highlights from the 2019 event include presentations from Daimler, Navistar, Peterbilt, Volvo, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) and I-CAR. Session topics focused on a myriad of industry issues such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), electric and hybrid vehicles, liquified and compressed natural gas vehicles, and a panel of insurance executives discussing claims handling and industry collaboration. 

Throughout the two days, there will be extensive networking opportunities allowing shop owners, insurers, appraisers, OEMs, paint manufacturers, information providers, and equipment and service companies to build relationships, conduct business, and solve problems.

Companies interested in sponsoring, getting more involved with this industry, or even hosting a co-located event can send inquiries to Brian Nessen BrianN@hdrepalrforum.com or Jennie Lenk JennieL@hdrepairforum.com 

Visit the website for more information or contact us at 281-819-2332.

Registration Opens for the 3rd Annual HD Repair Forum

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Registration for the HD Repair Forum is now open. Last year’s event experienced a forty percent increase in attendance and has quickly established itself as the can’t-miss event for the heavy-duty collision repair industry. 

The third annual conference is set to take place Tuesday and Wednesday, March 24th & 25th, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel. The program will follow a similar format as last year’s event, spanning two days with presentations from OEMs, insurers, and other industry leaders during each morning’s general sessions. 

Attendees will gain valuable insight into industry trends allowing them to make better business decisions today and in the future. Afternoon break-out sessions will provide attendees an opportunity to choose classes that best address their individual or business needs. These sessions are geared towards executives, shop owners, managers, and company leaders. 

Throughout the two days, there will be extensive networking opportunities allowing shop owners, insurers, appraisers, OEMs, paint manufacturers, information providers and equipment and service companies to build relationships, conduct business, and solve problems.

To register for early bird rates and gain unique access to equipment suppliers, break-out sessions, and networking opportunities dedicated to the commercial vehicle collision repair industry, follow this link: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/hdrf2020

For additional information, please visit www.hdrepairforum.com or contact us at: www.hdrepairforum.com/contact-us

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are now available. Reach out to Brian Nessen or Jennie Lenk.

About HD Repair Group

HD Repair Group offers a dedicated source of focused information for those involved in collision repair work for heavy-duty/commercial vehicles, primarily in classes 5, 6, 7, and 8. This community is where shop owners, executives, managers, technicians, estimators, and other industry stakeholders will find the latest news, tips, tactics, trends and best practices in the heavy-duty collision repair industry. The HD Repair Group offers numerous ways of delivering this information including an annual conference, a monthly e-newsletter, webinars, videos, and social channels for networking. 

Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Gaining Attention and Support

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Collision repair is a segment of the transportation industry that does not get a lot of attention. Historically, there has been a lack of training, information, and support. For many similar collision repair industries, including automotive, emergency, commercial, and recreational vehicles this has been the case. Why?

Collision repair is usually an afterthought. Energy and investment is placed on developing new vehicle technology. There is a never-ending race to make vehicles lighter, stronger, safer, and more fuel efficient. Recently the term ADAS was nothing more than some jumbled letters on a Scrabble game board. Today you can’t go to a trade show or read an article without being exposed to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and electric vehicles. Another important trend in this industry; Autonomous vehicles.

While all of this technology is absolutely necessary and part of the evolution of the industry, at some point, these vehicles will need to be repaired. The industry has done a great job ensuring that technicians (mechanics) are prepared to service and maintain trucks. Keeping these vehicles on the road and operating is vital to our economy and to those that rely upon this industry to make a living. A truck sitting in a service bay is costing someone money.

Understanding that a vehicle out of service is lost revenue, more attention needs to be placed on the truck sitting in a collision repair facility awaiting parts. And what about the truck that has tens of thousands of dollars in collision damage awaiting repair from a technician that does not have any information on how to properly repair it?

As vehicles become equipped with more safety features, such as ADAS, or newer substrates that are lighter and stronger, information and training has never been more critical. In today’s collision repair facility, it’s a daily struggle to find and order parts and identify proper repair procedures. An independent collision shop could wait several days just to obtain parts prices. If you talk to insurance companies, they will tell you that the single biggest concern they have for their insureds is cycle time. Cycle time is defined as the number of days it takes for the vehicle owner to get his/her truck back on the road. For those that have had their vehicles in a collision shop, it would not be uncommon for a truck to be down for weeks. In some extreme examples it could be months.

As an industry, we need to work together to address these issues. We should be seeking solutions to reduce cycle time and put vehicles safely back on the road. We should continually be looking for solutions that ensure technicians have the knowledge and equipment needed to properly repair vehicles.    

In the spring of 2017, a dedicated source of focused information for the heavy-duty collision repair industry, the HD Repair Forum, was established to address these challenges. The HD Repair Forum’s purpose is to improve the narrative for repairers, insurers, OEM’s, paint manufacturers, parts suppliers, dealers and other industry stakeholders via a website, newsletter, conference, and other information tools.

The first HD Repair conference was held in April 2018 and featured technical and management training from some of the most well-respected companies and presenters in the industry. Executives from Navistar and Peterbilt discussed their new vehicle technology and the challenges repairers will face in the future. Co-located meetings, such as AkzoNobel’s 20 Group, were held during the same week and brought in some of the best repairers from the United States and Canada. The vendor expo gave high visibility to organizations committed to serving and improving the industry.

“Our goal is simple,” states Brian Nessen, President of the HD Repair Forum. “Provide the heavy-duty collision repair industry with an avenue for obtaining information and encourage collaboration. We want to facilitate safe, proper, and efficient repairs of all vehicles, and help the industry prepare for the future.”

The HD Repair Forum provides individuals and companies an opportunity to meet others, share experiences and best practices, and gain knowledge from manufacturers, trainers, and educators. The 2019 conference was held last April and experienced a 40% attendance increase, and brought in increased support and participation from several OEM’s including Daimler Trucks North America, Volvo, Navistar, and Peterbilt.

The 2020 conference returns to Fort Worth on March 24th & 25th. Companies like Axalta Coating Systems and AkzoNobel will also be co-hosting their spring Business Council and 20-Group meetings that same week.

To stay up to date on participation opportunities as an attendee, vendor, or consultant, sign-up to receive the organization’s monthly e-newsletter here