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I-CAR' Production Manager Curriculum Celebrates First Year

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I-CAR launched the Production Manager curriculum at NACE last year. How has the first year gone?

The first year for the Production Management curriculum helped introduce industry-defined end-to-end production management training in collision repair facilities. When Production Management launched in 2015, it filled an important placeholder for the Professional Development Program (PDP) that was planned when the PDP launched in 2010.

ProLevel 1 was specifically focused on providing key insights into critical issues in multiple areas of the shop floor, while enhancing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, enabling participants to quickly address complex problems shop personnel face in collision-repair production. While that core focus has not changed, I-CAR learned a lot in the past year, and was looking forward to applying some of those learnings in the recently unveiled ProLevel 2 curriculum.

What has the industry reaction to the curriculum been? Are there any numbers you can provide in terms of attendance?

I-CAR received great feedback in the past year from the industry and students, who expressed that the direction of Production Management courses provided solutions to real situations, which I-CAR has further built out into the ProLevel 2 curriculum. In the process of working with the industry to evolve the Production Management training, I-CAR learned that those who support the Production Management function can vary from one dedicated person to a shared function of up to three people in a shop. Many of our customers also shared they rely more heavily on a shared model, rather than employing a dedicated Production Manager.

This all helped inform the curriculum moving forward. While exact figures aren’t currently available to the public, I-CAR was pleased with the response and attendance, particularly how it helped inform the development of ProLevel 2.

What are the next steps for the curriculum? How will it continue to evolve?

 Just a few weeks ago (July 12), I-CAR unveiled its ProLevel 2 curriculum. All courses (ProLevel 1 and ProLevel 2) have now been configured to allow for more flexible access supporting customized learning paths. Training paths can now be tailored to the role-specific knowledge needs of collision repair professionals involved in shop-wide production processes, as well as for those responsible only for sub-elements of the process.

Students can often begin without prerequisites. For many of the courses, you can enter the curriculum path at the point designated for your specific function, as well as access to ProLevel 1.In addition, ten new courses being launched that build knowledge in areas such as “Learning Culture”, talent, processes, controls and business skills.

As we have in the past, I-CAR is continuously measuring key performance indicators for shops all across the country and now globally. As KPIs continue to evolve, the need for shops’ return on investment will grow. There will always be a need to develop stronger internal shop cultures and healthy business practice

Earlier this year, I-CAR announced its goal to provide training to 19,000 shops. Are you able to provide any updates on that goal?

I-CAR has made a number of program commitments in the first half of 2016 to help reach the goal of providing training to 19,000 shops. These include strengthening relationships with OEMs, supporting the development of ongoing training materials, and creating new vehicle- and technology-specific courses that are tailored to the future needs of the industry.  

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