By Mike Davey
Vaughan, Ontario -- January 29, 2016 -- It was hyped as the biggest collision repair event in Canada's history and the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) Cars & Technology Showcase lived up to expectations. Tickets to the event were sold out well in advance, and it showed. Even the back of the hall was crowded during the presentations with stakeholders who couldn't find a seat.
The CCIF Cars & Technology Showcase was held at Universal Event Space in Vaughan, Ontario. There were 600 tickets sold, but walking the halls it seemed like a lot more. Repairers and other stakeholders came from across the country and from the US to attend this event. It was time well spent, judging by the reactions to some of the presentations.
One of the first presenters of the Friday session was Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. He spoke with great vigour and authority on virtual steering, zero point calibrations, and especially on the need to run scans both pre- and post-repair. Anderson pointed to the enormous number of computers and modules in today’s vehicles, and stressed that a thorough scan will often reveal problems that don’t show up as indicator lights.
Not doing your due diligence in this area can lead to disaster. Anderson pepperd his talk with stories drawn from his experience as a consultant that outlined various times a scan could have ended up saving time and money. In one example, a Toyota Camry arrived in a collision centre and needed a new bumper and new grill. During the reconstruction, a translucent grey emblem rather than a clear one was put on the front. That tiny oversight negatively impacted the cruise control by covering up a needed sensor. The modern collision repair facility cannot survive that kind of negative client experience. Repair techs need to be aware of the new realities.
As Anderson says, “You need to do a pre- and a post check. You need to find out what you're missing. There are codes that need to be reset that don't show up as warning lights on the dash. You need to know those.”
Next to take the podium was Pete Karageorgos, Director, Consumer & Industry Relations, Ontario for Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Karageorgos filled in attendees on the new towing and storage regulations in effect in Ontario, and the advocacy work IBC has done on this issue.
“Throughout Ontario we've got municipalities that have been taking action. Some of the largest municipalities have gone out and enacted bylaws on their own to regulate towing and storage,” said Karageorgos in an interview with Collision Repair magazine prior to the event.
After a short networking break, CCIF Chairman Joe Carvalho introduced Jim Dickson, Director, Global Automotive Strategy, Commercial, Primary Metal for Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto is one of the largest producers of aluminum in the world. Dickson discussed advances in multi-material vehicle designs and their intersection with the repair process. He addressed joining, corrosion and dust management as well as key training considerations.
Mike Kukavica, Collision Repair Technology Instructor for Porsche Cars North America, followed Dickson and shared his perspective on changing vehicle technology, and the cultural changes needed to keep pace.
“For a long time the industry was one in which the tech on the floor would say, 'I'm the expert. Give me the part. I’ll figure out how to get it on the car.’ But with these high end cars, there are specifics repair instructions. And these have to be followed,” said Kukavica.
The lunch break allowed attendees an opportunity to visit the Cars & Technology Showcase. This offered a chance to interact with vendors as well as viewing the various displays highlighting the advanced multi-material designs of current generation automobiles.
The afternoon session was dedicated to two panel discussions. These followed up on the panel discussion presented at CCIF Calgary, in which a panel of repairers discussed adapting to the constant need to continue to invest in training and equipment. The panel discussions were split into two parts: a repairer discussion and an insurer discussion.
The repairer panel discussion was moderated by Joe Carvalho, CCIF Chairman and looked into how repair standards, how the industry currently defines key performance indicators and the challenges with retaining qualified staff.
The insurer panel discussion, moderated by Larry Jefferies, CCIF past-Chairman, focused on key issues for insurers, including managing repair programs, and finding the balance between meeting OE repair guidelines and ensuring sustainability.
The event wrapped with announcements on the progress of Haiti Arise, an effort supported by CCIF to build a technical school in Haiti, and closing remarks from Joe Carvalho.
For more information, please visit ccif.ca.