We’re an industry determined to develop
BY JAY PERRY
I’ve written about the resilience and humanity of the industry in past articles. It is heartwarming to see what business leaders have done thought the past year and half—but I also want to pay tribute to what has happened in our businesses over the past 20 years, coinciding with Collision Repair magazine’s 20th anniversary.
First off, thanks to Darryl Simmons and his team for quite a Herculean feat of faithfully producing a true news magazine for the industry. Yes, opinions have been offered throughout those 20 years but never in a dogmatic, partisan style that would alienate members of the collision community. I have found opinions that have intrigued me even though I might not agree with them, and this presentation of new ideas and different perspectives has broadened our thinking. That brings me to the point of this article: the broadening of the thinking of the industry. Over the past 20 years we have seen a true, professionalization of the industry. More and more shops have become forward focused and expanded their viewpoints on what it means to be professional.
At every increase in customer expectations, this industry has responded by creating a ‘WOW’ factor for those customers. This industry probably more than any other, creates some of the highest customer-service-indexing numbers in global business today. Yes there are some great companies out there in other industries that produce impressive numbers but when you think of most of them being in the mid-40’s and compare that to some of the rankings I have seen for our members, it is outstanding in the high 80’s & 90’s!!!
We hear a lot about labour shortages especially at this time, but we live in a country where retraining of the workforce has become the normal. Our people don’t whine about needing to take another credit-course but rather look forward to achieving accreditations that prove them to be fully invested in their personal and corporate success. That’s just one example of many that the industry has been challenged with. These shortages have also been satisfied through targeted immigration thus actually giving others from around the world to become Canadian and grow with the industry in this country.
Canada leads the world in the consolidation of the industry. As all industries mature, they have recognizable cycles and stations they pass through. Consolidation is one of the later stages of business maturity and our industry by way of any metric is advanced beyond the balance of the world.
Much has been written about technological advances the industry has responded to with great professionalism demonstrating their commitment to education and the desire to do the right thing. Collision repairers want to fix vehicles fully, safely and in accordance with guidelines produced by OEMs. This is another positive story that again, the Canadian industry is out in front of.
So, as we peer into the crystal ball for what the next 20 years holds, we are going to see situations that are challenging and require innovative thinking for which this industry is prepared. Prepared, not with all the answers at this time but a desire to find those answers and stay positive so they can be the one who’s driving.