Panel & Paint

Motor Equipment News - - CONTENTS - By Peter Adams, group CEO, Cor­po­rate & Pres­tige.

Last month I chal­lenged a panel shop owner of many years’ ex­pe­ri­ence to tell me what was “on top of his mind”. The re­sult was not un­ex­pected as I had heard many sim­i­lar ver­sions from all over the coun­try. How­ever, it did pro­voke some think­ing. What if you were given a very large blank piece of pa­per and were asked to re­design the en­tire New Zealand col­li­sion re­pair and in­sur­ance in­dus­tries.

So I ask you, how would you do it? What ideas would you com­mit to the page that would shape th­ese two very vi­tal and sig­nif­i­cant parts that need each other to work in a sus­tain­able man­ner?

Now you have con­sid­ered this, what if you were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in a high-pow­ered group tasked with ra­tio­nal­is­ing ev­ery facet of how col­li­sion dam­aged ve­hi­cles were to be re­paired?

Would it take hours, days, or months to come up with a prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion de­signed by your task force rep­re­sen­ta­tive of: in­sur­ers, parts sup­pli­ers (new and used), ve­hi­cle im­porters, and you?

Would you reg­u­late the panel shops and make it that you must have a prac­tis­ing cer­tifi­cate – and only for cer­tain types of re­pair in some kind of ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion – or just al­low mar­ket forces to act in an evo­lu­tion­ary fash­ion so only the strong sur­vived?

How many in­sur­ance com­pa­nies would be al­lowed to sell mo­tor in­sur­ance poli­cies – would there be one, or should cen­tral gov­ern­ment be in­volved in such a way as to al­low many? Now that we have in­tro­duced gov­ern­ment, should there be cer­tain rules and re­quire­ments, and would there be a watch­dog to en­sure that ev­ery­one played nicely in the sand­pit?

Would you let in­sur­ance com­pa­nies say who can be in their re­pair net­works, or who can sup­ply parts and un­der what terms? How should in­sur­ers in­ter­act with re­pair­ers – through real peo­ple called in­sur­ance as­ses­sors, or should there just be some sort of fixed price dig­i­tal mech­a­nism that knows ev­ery as­pect of what ev­ery­one does, so you could sim­ply just get on with the job and get paid ac­cord­ing to a com­plex al­go­rithm that pro­duces a re­sult depend­ing on your lo­ca­tion.

Could one price (an av­er­age) be paid out re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion/job com­plex­ity/make and model?

By now you will no­tice you have prob­a­bly run out of pa­per or run out of the room; as there are lit­er­ally hun­dreds of com­bi­na­tions of how things could be done, and your task force died of old age be­fore con­sen­sus had been reached. Most read­ers will recog­nise there are very few cor­rect an­swers that wouldn’t re­sult in an un­fair prac­tise for one side or the other.

Some­times it takes years to man­i­fest that ev­ery el­e­ment changed has an im­pli­ca­tion to many oth­ers, be­cause ev­ery­thing is con­nected.

How­ever, when you con­sider the dramatically re­duced num­bers of smaller work­shops to re­pair a grow­ing num­ber of ve­hi­cles with fewer qual­i­fied trades­men; then fac­tor in the loss of many dis­man­tlers avail­able to sell parts to a very small pool of in­sur­ers, you begin to re­alise there is much to be con­sid­ered – and learned

If one day a finely bal­anced magic for­mula was de­vel­oped; you can bet hu­man na­ture (or ac­coun­tants driven by share­hold­ers) would want to do some­thing to get an ad­van­tage so last year’s re­sults were im­proved by a nice mar­gin!

In short, re­gard­less of which side of the ta­ble you are on, am­bi­tion will en­sure the play­ing field will al­ways have a steady stream of ca­su­al­ties leave on stretch­ers. Yes, com­pe­ti­tion is a bitch and noth­ing stays the same – so you may as well ditch the piece of pa­per and go fish­ing!

The rise of the EV

Our sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion Com­pany Ve­hi­cle, was re­cently in­volved as co-spon­sors of a very in­ter­est­ing Drive Elec­tric Day in Auck­land dur­ing early May. It was a fas­ci­nat­ing event that at­tracted a wide cross-sec­tion of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try and many fleet op­er­a­tors. The per­for­mance of the Audi, BMW, Nis­san and Mit­subishi elec­tric or plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles avail­able to be driven was some­what amaz­ing with100 per­cent of torque be­ing im­me­di­ately avail­able on touch­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

We heard from sev­eral com­men­ta­tors of the benefits of this sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing that the to­tal cost of own­er­ship was hugely less than equiv­a­lent con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles. Chris Binns of Syd­ney City, told us of his ex­pe­ri­ence in­tro­duc­ing EVs into the coun­cil pool fleet. Firstly no one wanted to drive them. Then they be­came the first choice, and there would rarely be one sit­ting in the car park – un­less it was be­ing charged up.

If you won­der why elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) are be­ing men­tioned this month; it’s be­cause the Im­ported Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (IMVIA) mem­bers recog­nise the sig­nif­i­cance of this new sec­tor and they will soon be bring­ing num­bers of used EVs into the coun­try. You need to know they have some pretty spe­cific needs when it comes to crash re­pair.

It can rea­son­ably be ex­pected that sooner or later one is go­ing to turn up at your work­shop. From what we heard from man­u­fac­tur­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives there are some spe­cial needs around even ba­sic re­pairs, so it would be wise to check with them be­fore you write the es­ti­mate and un­leash the team… which leads us to the next topic.

Health and safety

Health and safety in the work­place is soon to get a makeover. No big deal you might think, but you might like to jump on http://www.busi­ness.govt. nz/worksafe/about/re­form This re­form has mas­sive im­pli­ca­tions to any­one in a po­si­tion of con­trol of a work­place.

It has been men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous is­sue, but just in case you missed it – if some­one is fa­tally or se­ri­ously in­jured in your work­place, re­spon­si­bil­ity will shift to those found neg­li­gent. This could be the team leader, fore­man, manager or direc­tor of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and you could face a mas­sive fine or a jail term depend­ing on the de­gree of ir­re­spon­si­bly.

You might like to re­view all your sys­tems and pro­cesses to en­sure staff are suit­ably trained and qual­i­fied, all haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als are suit­ably used or stored, and noth­ing can fall, slip, or fly off and hit some­one within range.

Vis­i­tors and cus­tomers of­ten don’t un­der­stand the haz­ards you may take for granted; so it’s best to be safe than in jail sim­ply be­cause you al­lowed an id­iot to walk around the chain at­tached to a two kg clamp un­der a five ton strain while pulling out the side of their car.

Just in case you don’t think this ap­plies to you, best you read sec­tion 5: “The in­clu­sion of health and safety du­ties of work­ers and other per­sons at a work­place en­sures that ev­ery work­place par­tic­i­pant has a statu­tory duty for health and safety and must take rea­son­able care to ful­fil that duty. This un­der­lines the idea that health and safety at work is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of ev­ery­one who is there.”

This month… To sum­marise, a higher per­spec­tive in­volv­ing the com­plete re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the in­sur­ance and col­li­sion re­pair sec­tors has hope­fully as­sisted an un­der­stand­ing your dream of be­com­ing the Queen is prob­a­bly even more re­al­is­tic than try­ing to re­solve this very com­plex busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

My apolo­gies if I’ve in­ad­ver­tently cast a shadow of doubt on the petrol head fan­tasy that your hot ma­chine is al­ways go­ing to drag off ev­ery elec­tric ve­hi­cle.

The bright side is at least your V8 has a glo­ri­ous sound that will alert any pedes­trian – un­like the very quiet­ness of elec­tric ve­hi­cles. It can be ex­pected there will be many fleet and pri­vate own­ers queu­ing up to en­joy the sav­ings of the equiv­a­lent of 30c/litre, so it might be a good time to find out how they should be re­paired.

The work­place safety re­forms com­ing at you later this year could see you in jail for let­ting an id­iot wan­der around the work­shop with­out hold­ing your hand. Silly as that may sound, it’s well past time in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity be­came a se­ri­ous topic.

A good place to start might be to round up the team and get them to work to­gether to iden­tify the haz­ards then de­velop a set of guide­lines for your new health and safety man­ual.

READER RE­PLY 01506038

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