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More than 350 of the leading influencers from the international accident repair community descended on Barcelona, Spain on 19-21 May for the IBIS Global Summit 2014.

Talent key at IBIS

The event opened with a welcome networking party on Monday evening before more formal proceedings got underway the following morning with the ‘best practice’ themed conference programme.

Welcomed by conference director, David Lingham, IBIS delegates heard how during his time within the industry he had not seen as much change within the sector as he had in the past 12 months. He also highlighted how he has been hearing the same topics of conversation taking place around the globe and stated, ‘You can go anywhere in the world today and see excellence’.

TTi Global’s Lori Blaker opened the conference with her session, ‘Making money – developing people’. Lori spoke of the challenges in attracting people and said, ‘We are all competing for talent from a small pool… You need to be an attractive organisation to work for. She went on to highlight how multinational brands approach the issue of recruitment and suggested to delegates, ‘Show potential new recruits what it is like to be a part of your brand and ensure you live up to it'. The message was clear, the industry needs to work hard on attracting young people.

Work

Peter de Roo of EMM hosted a session entitled, ‘Move to retail – can it work?’ Peter revealed details of EMM’s new two hour repair initiative, highlighting how it requires 'a different mindset and a new experience’. Peter said, 'Can bodyshops move more into retail? Yes, we do believe that.’ He advised delegates to 'open up your mind to new ideas’.

Dr Thomas Aubel of TUV Rheinland gave an insight into ‘A best practice test case in Spain’. He started by highlighting the 'perfect world' and then highlighted ‘the reality’. He showcased TUV’s global improvement concept and suggested delegates ‘drive your improvements the way you want, with the speed that you want'. He told the IBIS audience, ‘We want to work in developing standards and close the gap to achieve high quality across the world'.

‘Bodyshop of the future’ was the title of Lesley Upham’s session in which she offered a glimpse of a large scale project currently underway at Thatcham Research. Using Kodak as an example of the necessity for change, Lesley highlighted how globalisation, societal, enivironmental and safety influences, repair challenges and commercial pressures will impact on the bodyshop sector in the future.

Profit

ICAR’s Jeff Peevy focused his session on ‘Training brings profit – fact’. He highlighted how ICAR’s research had proved a link between businesses with a culture of learning and increased revenue. He highlighted how those bodyshops with a learning culture had increased annual revenue by eight per cent. 'Is there a return on investment for training? Yes, but it is not automatic,’ said Jeff. He continued, 'Attitude really does matter - it overrides all other criteria'.

Olivier Wood of Innovation Group gave an overview of the French market and highlighted how France has suffered a significant drop (-5.7%) in vehicle registrations. He offered some key data on the market, such as France has 14,000 bodyshops which he claimed was an 'oversupply'. Olivier highlighted the changing landscape and the opportunities within the market. He said, ‘We really believe digital solutions will manage the cycle process in the future.’

Connected

The final session of the day one was courtesy of Sean Carey, SCG Management Consultants who looked at the ‘Connected or disconnected claims process?’ Sean said, 'In the connected car world, access to data is what will make the difference'. Sean referenced Microsoft, Google and Apple as the organisations most likely to enter the claims business in the future. 'We think workflow, they think data. We think you can’t do that… they think why not?’ he said. Sean closed his session by telling delegates, ‘Change is inevitable… and sneaks up on you when you’re not looking.’

Following Tuesday’s spectacular International Dinner which took place at the majestic Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Wednesday morning saw Carstar’s Michael Macaluso take to the stage in the session, ‘Handing over the business’. Michael discussed how Carstar implemented, managed and continues to evolve its leadership transition plan – part of which now sees Michael heading up the organisation. 'Change has such a simple definition but it can be a real challenge to do,' said Michael. He revealed how Carstar 'embraced the intrapreneur model’ with a culture of ‘humble but hungry' people. Joining Michael on stage was Stephan Salzer of Team Salzer who followed a very different path to the top of his family oriented organisation. He said, ‘My father was initially just given the steering wheel of the business when he took over, I was handed the entire operation.'

Representing

Representing vehicle manufacturers was Audi’s Thomas Geiger who was interviewed by David Lingham during the session, ‘Why accident management?’ Thomas used some recent damage sustained to his iPhone as analogy of brand positioning and where Audi would like to be with accident repair. He said, 'I automatically think of Apple and the fact they will fix it for me. We want the same.' When questioned as to Audi’s commitment to the accident repair sector, Thomas said, ‘The fact I am sat here is a sign Audi is committed to paint and body.’

‘Talent development’ was the title for the session hosted by Korn Ferry’s Chris Donkin. The session focused on the necessity for leadership and evolution of businesses within the sector – what he called ‘smart growth’ leaders. 'The global automotive industry is undergoing unprecedented change,' said Chris. ‘Seventy per cent of the people who got you where you are today, will not be able to get you to where you need to be for future. It requires a new era of leader to inspire people to overachieve.'

The session also saw the launch of the IBIS Young Leader Initiative, designed to recognise the emerging leaders who will drive the future of the industry. Introducing the concept, David Lingham said, ‘The aim is to help the industry attract, develop and retain more high calibre talent whilst building a reputation of the sector as a career destination of choice.’

Insight

To round-off IBIS 2014 delegates were provided with an insight into the automotive business of Middle East based Al Futtaim. With 12,000 employees, sales of one new car every two minutes and 5,000 plus service hours sold per day, the session explored ‘Can big be beautiful and customer focused?’ On a five year drive to double its business since 2010, of which it is well on track, Al Futtaim Auto Centres’ Kevin Jones said, ‘We needed to look in the mirror and see what looked back at us and in the beginning it wasn’t pretty.' However, he explained how the business had transformed itself through its Drive Magic Moments Initiative much of which focused on empowering employees. The result is that Al Futtaim has been awarded the Great Place to Work Award by Gallup Group for 2014.

IBIS 2014 was sponsored by 3M, AkzoNobel, Audatex, automechanika, Axalta, EMM, Enterprise, Innovation Group, Quindell and Thatcham Research.

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