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NACE 2010: Consumers must be part of parts debate: ASRW Industry Forum

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Oct. 11, 2010, LAS VEGAS—The needs of the consumer must be a bigger part of the parts certification debate, according to panelists at the inaugural Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) Industry Forum on Sunday.

At a forum in which attendees were able to use their cell phones to send questions to the moderators via text message, a panel of parts experts discussed the need for the industry to educate consumers about the parts certification issue.

“The consumer has been lost in a lot of the transactions that have been going on,” said Lori Jondron, owner of RoadRunner Body & Paint in Austin, Texas, adding that the industry needs to step up and educate customers on certification of parts.

Consumers must also have an easier way to know about a particular shop’s certifications, said Jeff Patti, chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) standards committee. Patti added that the industry should develop one organization to coordinate standardization efforts under one roof. He suggested establishing a nonprofit organization to work with all stakeholders in the collision repair industry.

“Standardization won’t work if the industry remains fragmented,” Patti said, noting that putting standardization efforts in place will allow consumers to more easily understand whether a particular repairer upholds certain certification standards. “Establishing standards will put consumer confidence back in the collision industry.”

The collision repair part of the forum, which was held at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center, included two discussion sessions. The first session for the collision segment featured a discussion on standardization of parts. The discussion included a panel of six industry professionals: Vincent Kaiser, Jeff Peevy, Lesley Upham, Trish Serratore, Jeff Patti and Lori Jondron.

The second session of the collision segment of the industry forum featured a discussion about diversity in shops and how to work with a diverse set of people. The discussion was moderated by Kelly McDonald, president of McDonald Marketing in Dallas. The discussion included a panel of five industry professionals: Scott Benevidas, owner of Mister B’s Paint and Body in Albuquerque, N.M.; Geralynn Kottschade, owner of Jerry’s Body Shop in Mankato, Minn.; Darrell Amberson, owner of Lehman’s Garage in Minneapolis; Chuck Sulkala, executive director of the National Auto Body Council; and Kim White, sales manager at FinishMaster.

“Our businesses need to reflect the changing needs of the entire workforce,” Sulkala said. Understanding the needs of your employees and customers based on their race, ethnicity, age, gender and life circumstances can help your shop become more productive and efficient, he said.

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