Feeling the Impact: IBIS delegates discuss COVID-19’s influence on industry

Monte-Carlo, Monaco — The International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) kicked off its 2022 Global Summit speaker sessions yesterday, treating the audience of collision industry delegates to captivating speakers on the most prevalent topics around the industry.

Flavio Battilana, chief strategy officer for CSN Collision Centres, offered some Canadian perspectives on the Global Focus panel, which also featured Bill Lopez, VP of strategic accounts for OEConnection and Troy Weaver, SVP of global refinish for Axalta.

Complemented by video submissions from collision centres around the world, the panellists discussed their experiences with COVID-19 and the ripple effect that followed in their particular market.

One of the first topics on the docket was a discussion on the current state of the global supply chain and the general state of inflation.

“What used to cost $4,000 to ship to Canada now costs $12,000,” said Battilana. “The supply chain we’re dealing with today is very different.”

Battilana went on to praise industry partners that do their part to support the betterment of our industry.

“In times like this, you really understand who your partners are. People use the word ‘partner’ because it can be nice or convenient–but for others, it means something to them. And in those partnerships, much like a marriage, it’s not 50-50, but both parties are working to 100 percent.

“The collision industry is starting to realize is who really is a partner–who wants to participate. And in all fairness to some partners, it’s not easy for them to adjust things. But I’ll steal a quote from Elvis Presley: A little less conversation and a little more action.”

Weaver agreed, adding that the inflation we’re seeing now is “unprecedented.”

“This is my 30th year in the industry,” he said. “This is by far the most inflation that I’ve ever seen, and it is not transitory and it keeps coming and coming and coming.

“You’re absorbing those costs. I think Flavio hit the nail on the head about partnerships, right. A lot of collision repair shops around the world, can’t instantly just raise their prices. It’s far more difficult. There’s a lot of negotiation around that. There’s a lot of time and there’s a lag to get that price through the system.”

Fletcher then asked each panellist to recall the early days of the pandemic and asked what they would go back and tell themselves if they could.

“Take a chance,” said Lopez. “Just do something different and embrace it. That was a big lesson from the last couple of years. We’re in an industry that, in some ways, is pretty stagnant, pretty conservative, very fragmented–and change doesn’t happen unless it’s forced upon us. We’re typically a very reactive industry, right. But this is really an opportunity where we can be proactive and get out there and try different things.”

Weaver said he too would tell himself to take a risk.

“We’re a very liquid company, to begin with, but I would’ve taken more chance, you know, putting more inventory in pre-buying, raw materials, things like that.”

Battilana offered a more zen approach.

“We are not the first [to experience challenges], and we won’t be the last. I would say just do your best, be positive and move forward.”

Collision Repair magazine is in Monaco attending the IBIS Global Summit. Check out our photos below!


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