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AkzoNobel Kicks off Summer 2014 North American Performance Group Gathering

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 18, 2014—AkzoNobel kicked off its Summer 2014 North American Performance Group Meeting on Tuesday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Pentagon City, located within walking distance of the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

The more than 200 attendees included independent and MSO collision repair shops across North America, as well as distributors, Akzo Nobel support staff and members of the industry media. Aside from the seminars, the event also included a Capital Quest scavenger hunt held on the monuments surrounding the National Mall in Washington, D.C., just across the Potomac River.

Opening-day early-bird training included Performance Group seminars on the impact of technology of future vehicles, effective staff supervision, engaging digital consumers, principles of downdraft technology, and succession planning.

According to an AkzoNobel press release on the event, a primary goal of the meeting is to bring together “like-minded colleagues to exchange ideas, benchmark financial performance, discuss challenges and solutions, discover new processes, and celebrate successes.”

Aside from the Performance Group sessions, second-day events include a media press conference and the company’s annual awards presentation.

The primary theme of the briefing centered on the need for the collision repair industry to no longer view sustainability as an option, but as a critical imperative to “future proofing” the industry’s long-term growth.

Several key insights were presented on Wednesday for how the industry can achieve sustainability through a “triple bottom line” approach that results in greater efficiency, lower negative environmental impact, and cooperative social engagement in the work place. 

Guest speakers at the briefing included:
• Dr. Manish Mehta, director of strategic projects and sustainability at The National Center for Manufacturing Science, who offered a 360-degree view of what he calls “co-opetition.” Dr. Mehta provided meaningful recommendations for how the collision repair industry can leverage what other industries are doing to achieve sustainability.

• Mr. Rocco Neglia, vice president of claims at Economical Insurance Group, shared his company’s journey to building sustainability into their corporate strategy, and how the implementation of effective, function-specific processes into the work environment has improved the performance, professionalism and “team vision” of their body shop network in Canada.

The event also included the debut of AkzoNobel’s new online sustainability assessment tool developed to help body shop owners determine their level of sustainability, benchmark current performance against other collision repairers, and provide a path for boosting their competitiveness in the marketplace.

A&AC Commercial Services Leader Barry Rinehart demonstrated various features of the assessment tool and creative ways for how industry stakeholders can utilize this innovative resource.

“The online sustainability assessment tool is the result of a unique collaborative effort with Economical Insurance Group of Canada, and is a great example of how powerful collective thinking and actions can be in bringing tangible solutions to collision repair,” said Rinehart. “We are very excited at the initial test feedback we’ve received about the online assessment tool and look forward to seeing how it can be leveraged across the industry in the U.S.”

The media briefing concluded with a rallying call by event facilitator, AkzoNobel North America Communications Manager Bill Orr, for collision repair professionals to pro-actively join forces in advancing sustainable principles and practices that ensure a thriving industry long-term and provide real-time solutions to the industry’s most critical issues.

In closing comments, Orr said, “We were extremely pleased with the depth of content presented by our guest speakers and the enthusiastic participation of industry media. After leading the sustainability charge for more than a decade through numerous sustainability-focused programs, AkzoNobel is clear on the fact that it will take a coalition of committed industry leaders to secure the future of collision repair.”     

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