by the Ontario College of Trades
There is a renaissance under way in Ontario — a skilled trades renaissance.
Not only is the number of people entering apprenticeships increasing, but perceptions of the trades are changing too. Long gone are the days when a skilled trades career was deemed a career of last choice.
Today, trades professionals in the automotive industries must keep up-to-date with a variety of different technologies, including computer diagnostic systems for automotive service technicians, and paintless dent repair and collision avoidance systems for those in the auto body and collision repair trade. These are all technologies that require robust computer, analytical and problem-solving skills.
In other words, a career in today’s automotive industry requires each and every single trades professional to use their hands and their head.
By Mike Kennelly
Whether your business is a multi-shop operation, dealership, or independent, you all have one major thing in common. You all run on the machine of shop operation. Shop operation is an incredibly complex reality, it is affected by anyone and everyone involved, from front desk management to customers, and everyone in between, technicians to parts delivery drivers. Each part contributes in one way or another to successful operation.
During one of my orientation sessions at Fanshawe College, a group of new hires were sitting in a room, the professor was at the front, showing us a series of pictures on the projector.
by Mike Gilliland
It’s probably been a couple months since you updated the annual business plan, reviewed the annual budgets, and set goals for the year. You created a nice plan, probably felt a sense of accomplishment, but now what? How often do you reference it? Maybe more importantly, has the team you’re relying on to help even seen it? Most repairers have at least one production meeting per day to get everyone on the same page; doesn’t it make sense to put a similar discipline in place when it comes to the operation of the overall business?
A few years ago I joined a CEO mentoring group for young technology companies; it was expensive, but most good things are. A mandate to participants was implementation of Verne Harnish’s One-Page Plan. It addresses the common problem where companies struggle to communicate the broader business objectives to their people in a relatable way.
by Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, AIC Ltd
Each month, millions of words and thousands of hours are dedicated to telling the business how to market to an ill-defined target audience.
There are some really powerful techniques, many of which belong to vast corporations rather than the lifeblood of any advanced economy, or small to medium sized businesses. We all know there are no easy ways to market our organizations, and that the very process can eat away a lot of time.
Take the recent Geneva Motor Show, for example. The doors opened to the press, and every OEM went out of their way to ensure their messages were bold, clear and readily understood. The same thing happens around the world as the international motor show circus visits each continent in turn.
By Mike Davey
There are many keys to success in the collision repair industry. Stretching the analogy further, these keys are kind of like the key to your car ... if your car needed multiple keys inserted in precisely the right sequence before it would unlock the door. You must have the basics in place before you can start on the advanced stuff. That might seem obvious, but there are always people who try to run before they can walk.
One of the basics you must have in place is ensuring that you're obeying all municipal, provincial, and federal regulations. I'm not hear to sing the praises of red tape, or to insist that all of those regulations are actually necessary to protect workers, or the environment, or whatever else they're putatively designed to do.
By Andrew Marsh
Collision repairers around the world share a deep passion for doing the job right and doing it well. Each repair is a vehicle restoration – from minor damage to major rebuild, and each one is slightly different. There are due processes especially if external partners are involved in the start date and progress of the repair. Indeed juggling the delivery of parts, using the skills of the team to the best effect as well as keeping the customer engaged and happy is a very demanding job.
Consider the profit margin each square metre of floor space has to make each day, every day. Take a look not only at the entire shop floor area, but the areas outside the shop as well. Then consider how much turnover has to be generated from the business floor area, and the amount of profit it is generating. The numbers will quantify the amount of cash all those long accepted areas of the business really cost. The profit margin may look rather modest.
by Darryl Simmons
Well, someone had to be first.
Blogging, so they say, is supposed to help us better connect with our readers and engage them in interesting topics. You probably don't want to hear my Super Bowl pics or my view on the last sushi restaurant I visited, so let's pick a collision repair topic. Hmmm. The biggest thing to come to mind is Friday's (January 30, 2015) CCIF meeting in Toronto. There's a great line up of speakers and I can vouch for the claim that it will be the best networking session of the season.