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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Rally Cries Continue for OEM Collision Repair Procedures in Heavy-Duty Industry

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The “technical tsunami” that is approaching heavy-duty collision repair bays has been described as something to prepare for “in the future.” However, that future just drove up to many repairer’s doorsteps yesterday morning. 

The heavy-duty (HD) collision repair industry has been described as being as much as 20 years behind the automotive collision repair industry. Taking a look around the market, listening to repairer experiences, and gaining an understanding of the current tools and procedures available only confirms this perception. This is not a reflection of the repairers themselves; they are doing incredible work with what they have available to them. 

To say that the need for OEM repair procedures is critical to ensuring the safe and proper repair across the heavy-duty industry may seem extreme, but it is a fact. Vehicle materials are changing, new ADAS features keep showing up on all brands of vehicles, electric vehicles are entering the marketplace, and the absence of OEM collision repair procedures and documentation continues to be a challenge faced by all.

Facilities large and small, from both the independent and dealer side are dealing with the same challenges. This current state of the industry is not due to the lack of ability or desire from the shops; they want to perform safe, proper, and timely repairs for their customers. However, the urgency in providing them access to the proper repair information is still a serious problem. 

Many heads from within the industry have been asking for guidance on repair processes, procedures, training and equipment for quite some time. In fact, it was people who serve on the HD Repair Forum’s advisory board that helped get the ball rolling on the attention needed for heavy-duty collision repair professionals throughout North America. 

These shop owners’ commitment to finding solutions for collision repair procedures and documentation, access to parts pricing and availability, and proper education and training needs for their technicians has been going on behind the scenes for many years and was a driving force behind the initiation of the HD Repair Forum. 

The HD Repair Forum started providing the industry with news, information, and increased access to networking opportunities and resources in the fall of 2017. It held its first annual conference in the spring of 2018. The growth of the program and recognizable industry collaboration that has developed these past two years is a product of those individuals who spoke up and came together with others making the need for assistance known. 

Its latest offering, a six episode webinar series was developed in place of the in-person 2020 event; a way to bring the most pertinent educational sessions to the market. The latest installment aired earlier this month, brought further awareness of the lack of available repair procedures but also provided insight into some of the available solutions out there. 

John Spoto, National Heavy Duty/Commercial Manager of 3M provided perspective on how automotive collision repair best practices are available and applicable to the HD world. The webinar covered several topics, such as the repairability of high strength steel, welding best practices, use and necessity of torque specifications, and corrosion protection. While all of these topics likely warrant their own webinar, the highlight of this episode was the guidance given in deciding when to section and when to replace the entire panel. 

Also noted to those not interested in investing the time to learn more was to please remember one thing: If the truck manufacturer doesn’t provide sectioning procedures, the best course of action is to replace the entire panel at the factory seams. The example provided in the webinar explained that sectioning structural components, that are part of a monocoque cab design, could be the difference between a proper repair and one that fails in a subsequent accident. 

In addition to the bit of relief given, that there is some guidance out there, it is important to note that there is an increased awareness amongst OEMs for this growing need. In fact, John shared several examples of OEM repair information available from Daimler. 

The trucking industry is moving forward with the implementation of ADAS, and at the same time there is the growth of electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles. The list of tools and additional training needed to repair vehicles with these features is within itself a tall order and an expensive task.   

Those most involved and working tirelessly to drive the needed change are hopeful this represents the continuation of engagement from all of the OEM’s as they look to companies like Daimler. 

For more information on the HD Repair Forum, its committee work, or its 2020 webinar series please visit us at www.hdrepairforum.com or contact us at 281-819-2332.

State of HD Collision Repair Industry & Automated Trucking Information Shared on Episode One of HDRF Webinar Series

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The HD Repair Forum (HDRF) kicked off the first of six webinars scheduled for 2020. These webinars are free of charge and made possible by these industry sponsors, www.hdrepairforum.com/sponsors.

Richard Bishop, President of Richard Bishop Consulting, kicked off the event with a presentation on automation in heavy-duty trucking appropriately titled, Robots on the Road: Outlook for Automated Trucking. The information shared provided attendees with a look at the evolving technology on today’s truck. Truck manufacturers are incorporating advanced driver assistance systems at an accelerated pace, and partnerships like Navistar and TuSimple’s recent announcement are another confirmation of that fact. Semi-autonomous vehicles will be in your bay sooner than later and repairers need to be prepared.  

Richard’s subtle and indirect message to attendees was very clear – your business needs to continue to evolve and embrace change. Preparing for the future starts with understanding trends and building a foundation within your business to adapt to the change. Investing in tooling, training, and equipment will ensure your business will be able to insure, estimate, repair, and service the most modern vehicles.

Following Bishop’s presentation, John Webb, President of TenPoint Complete shared a subset of the results from the HD Repair Forum’s inaugural collision industry survey. Additional results are set to be provided in a future webinar. 

“The goal of the survey is to provide benchmark data on the HD collision repair industry with the intent of expanding its content annually. The results included some surprising information on the current state of HD collision repairers,” explained Brian Nessen, HD Repair Forum’s CEO. 

87% of repairers surveyed stated that despite the pandemic, they felt positive about their business and prospect for the future. Conversely, 13% of respondents said their business was severely impacted by the pandemic. Although not shared on the call, this is in stark contrast to the automotive collision repair industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Another enlightening statistic pulled from the survey includes what can only be characterized as “great news” for progress in the industry. Less than 60% of the shops surveyed repair frame damage within their facility.

This presents a promising opportunity to educate the industry on the added value on-site frame repair can provide. As it relates to cycle time, it also highlights a problem and potential smoking gun within the industry. Could part of the reason for elongated cycle times be a by-product of sublet repairs, since so many collision shops do not have the ability to repair frame damage in house?

Another surprising statistic coming from the survey is the number of HD collision shops that do not use an electronic estimating system.

It’s alarming because most developed and mature industries have already come to wide-spread adoption of this type of  technology. These statistics could be an indication that the industry is lagging with a lot of opportunity for growth and improvement.

Much of the data found within the survey is “industry first” and uncovering this data will support businesses across the industry in their decision making process.

The HD Repair Forum continues to grow its reach and identify shops that offer heavy-duty collision repair. However, the following chart depicts the challenge it and many others have faced in answering, “How many HD collision repair facilities are there?” 17% of the shops surveyed don’t know who or where their competition is. The positive news seen below is that there may be more shops within the industry than has been suggested.

“We are committed to providing relevant and timely information to the heavy-duty collision repair industry. Our webinars are a natural extension of the annual event held in Fort Worth, Texas.” Nessen continued.

Additional insight and other results from the study presented during this one hour webinar can be found by registering for the webinar on-demand at www.hdrepairforum.com

Episode two of this six-part series is scheduled for  August 18th, 11 AM CDT. Complimentary registration, made possible by the organization’s 2020 sponsors, can be found at this link.

If you have questions about the HD Repair Forum, its webinar series, or further involvement please visit our website or contact the company’s Communications Director, Jennie Lenk at JennieL@hdrepairforum.com

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.