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AkzoNobel Unveils Shop Sustainability Assessment Tool

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 18, 2014—Citing “mega trends” from global warming to widespread social unrest across the planet, AkzoNobel unveiled an online Sustainability Assessment Tool for individual shops to evaluate their business in terms of “people, planet and profit.”

“In this concept, businesses are more than a means of simply providing wealth to owners and shareholders,” said Bill Orr, communications manager at AkzoNobel Vehicle Refinishes North America. “Businesses are social organs that simultaneously work for people, integrate seamlessly with the ecosystem and create wealth for owners, ensuring what’s right for people planet and profit—all at the same time.”

The Sustainability Assessment Tool was announced to a handful of media members during the second day of the AkzoNobel Summer 2014 North American Performance Group Meeting held at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City hotel in Arlington, Va.

The tool is currently being tested by select collision repair partners of Ontario-based Economical Insurance, with the goal of making it available to American shops, whether or not they are AkzoNobel clients, by the end of 2014.

That inclusiveness, Orr added, is a major part of the program’s effort to work beyond traditional competitive boundaries and effect change throughout the entire collision repair industry to “future proof” it against known and currently unknowable external factors.

By evaluating shops on a wide ranging set of factors—an online process estimated to take approximately an hour—the Sustainability Assessment Tool is designed to evaluate the performance of shops, while also demonstrating that operational efficiency, lean practices, greater profits and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive goals.

Orr said the new tool is a direct result of collaboration that began at the Sustainability Leadership Symposium at last year’s SEMA Show.

Calling climate change “the most significant risk we face today,” Rocco Neglia, vice president of claims at Canada’s Economical
Insurance, said the insurance industry needs to adapt to the risks of climate change or risk extinction.

“The low-carbon economy is already underway and we must get ready for it, which means that we have to develop a strategy to meet consumer needs in a low-carbon economy,” Neglia said.

Beyond evaluating individual shops in terms of sustainable practices, the Sustainability Assessment Tool is also designed to assist insurance providers in aligning themselves with the most sustainable shops in their respective markets.

After shops enter information about their businesses, the tool will provide “actionable” advice for improving their performance, including sources for additional information and training programs. 

Barry Reinhart, commercial services leader at AkzoNobel, said shops will benefit from the experience with improved touch times, better cycle times, higher CSI scores, less re-work, and the ability to maintain profitability while capacity fluctuates with inventory.

“It’s for collision centers wanting to measure themselves in the area of sustainable practices, those seeking guidance on future proofing their businesses, insurers wanting to ensure they are aligned with the most progressive, sustainable shops, insurers wanting to differentiate their network and insurers wanting to normalize continuous improvement initiatives in terms that they can understand and relate to,” he said.

After giving assembled members of the collision repair media a sneak peak of the tool’s online interface, Orr said more information would be made available at this year’s AkzoNobel Sustainability Leadership Symposium held from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, at SEMA.

In closing, he added that the company is being careful in branding the Sustainability Assessment Tool and symposium to include as many industry stakeholders—including its competitors—for the benefit of all.

“We alone cannot make it happen,” he said. “It requires more than [just] us to make it heard.”

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