Expert Sessions: AkzoNobel hosts Collision Industry Experts Event; Speakers focus on profitability, human resources efforts, four-day workweek and more

Orange, California — AkzoNobel held its Collision Industry Experts Event (CIEE) last week, where North American collision repair leaders gathered for networking, inspiring speaking sessions and California’s sunshine.

Flavio Battilana, network key account manager for AkzoNobel, told Collision Repair magazine there were more than 400 attendees, including industry vendors, collision repair centres and other industry stakeholders.

“We had AkzoNobel collision centres and non-AkzoNobel facilities in attendance,” Battilana said Monday over the phone. “There was nearly one billion dollars in collision industry market share represented.”

Canadian representatives from LKQ Canada, CSN Collision Centres, Certified Collision Group and Color Compass attended.

This year’s CIEE focussed on topics of the future, centring around human resource topics, finding your profitable edge and navigating the complexity of modern repairs.

“What stood out about this year’s event was the threshold of our ‘industry expert speakers,'” explained Sue Jaszkowski, marketing communications rep for AkzoNobel. “Only four of our event speakers were not AkzoNobel employees.”

Battilana confirmed that plenty of attendees grasped immense value from the event.

“That’s the feedback I received from collision centres. That, in every presentation, there was always a takeaway for the business owners.”

He also said this year’s event stresses AkzoNobel’s position as more than a paint provider.

“Yes, we supply paint, but we’re more than that. We are your business partner. AkzoNobel fosters a community that focuses on various areas of collision repair to help our partners achieve the utmost future benefits.”

The event featured sessions from Amy Durbin, AkzoNobel’s North American refinish key account manager, who discussed human resources practices; Tony Adams, a business services consultant with the coatings company, touched on the four-day workweek trend. Tim Ronak, senior services business consultant, later touched on OEM certification topics and considerations to take as a facility owner.

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Other presentations included AkzoNobel Services Development Manager Rick Fifer’s talk on customer expectations, where he delved into the details of how an initial damage review can impact scheduling processes and overall customer satisfaction. Jeff Baker, senior services consultant for AkzoNobel, explored ways to use gamification and interactive tools to “supercharge” staff engagement. Meanwhile, Jim Lovejoy, senior services consultant for AkzoNobel, hosted a business coaching session, followed by Ryan Brown, Western technical manager for AkzoNobel, who touched on vehicle technology and the impact of new substrates. DCR Systems’ Michael Giarrizzo and Pam Giarrizzo were also featured to present their tips on streamlining business processes for ideal profit results.

Debby Robinson from the National Auto Body Council was the penultimate speaker. Her presentation discussed becoming a “collision repairer of choice” as a strategy to succeed in today’s market.

Mike Anderson, president and founder of Collision Advice, closed out the CIEE. The industry leader compared what success today looks like, versus success “tomorrow,” or in the future. He touched on topics like the four-day workweek and its validity in our industry; current and burgeoning trends in insurance and OEM relations and implications environmental social governance (ESG) may have on collision business operations.

Battilana pointed out that Anderson’s presentation drove points from the day home, leaving attendees with much to mull over.

“When you have an industry leader like Mike Anderson on the stage, validating and discussing the points we’d all been focused on throughout the day…it really gives you a lot to think about.”

Next year’s AkzoNobel CIEE will take place in Spring 2025 in Texas.


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