Milan, Italy — Technology and how best to use it was a key theme of last week’s IBIS Global Summit in Milan, where 3M’s director of global strategy spoke to the uncanny parallel between collision repair and country music.
Adam Wilt shared with a captive IBIS audience his “playlist” for successful tech integration for a bodyshop, using the themes of popular country songs to communicate common habits among shop owners.
Joe Diffie’s 1992 hit “I Just Don’t Know” is a common starting point for owners presented with a suite of potential software solutions, according to Wilt, but as you stick with these pieces of technology and make a real effort to learn them, you will be better able to gauge the probability of different scenarios, as well as update your processes as more information becomes available.
Kenny Chesney must have had blind-spot alerts on the brain when he wrote “Don’t Blink” because that is just how fast technology changes these days. Wilt says it is no longer viable for businesses to wait for the coast to be clear when it comes to new technology; things change so fast that you must be willing to make informed predictions in order to stay ahead.
These new pieces of technology, like machine learning (ML), augmented reality (AR) and so forth, would be considered “Fancy Like” buzzwords to someone like Walker Hayes—and likely to anyone else in a bodyshop without a computer science degree. Wilt reminds owners, “Don’t let jargon get in the way of adoption.”
With his hit “Hard Hat and a Hammer”, Alan Jackson clearly exemplified the old adage that “when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Wilt says bodyshop owners tend to fall into that habit often, especially when it comes to new pieces of technology.
He warns that while it may be tempting to take all of your problems and shoehorn them into a single trusted software, that can often promote the inefficiencies that the software are designed to mitigate.
Instead, Wilt urges owners to increase their knowledge on the ideal use cases of a variety of advanced systems.
For example, VR and AI can be effective recruiting tools; VR and AR are excellent supplements to in-person training and experienced technicians can use a combination of these systems to track their performance, reduce friction on smaller tasks, and in some cases, offload or fully eliminate them.
The grand finale of Wilt’s playlist of success is, fittingly, “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. Simply put, nearly every piece of equipment shops purchase these days comes with some amount of tech support or training software—use them. There are more networking and training opportunities available to shops than ever before and it would be a shame not to use them, Wilt said.