More Than 400 Attend AkzoNobel Collision Industry Experts Event

July 1, 2024
The May 9 event was for those who are committed to continuous improvement.

AkzoNobel's Collision Industry Experts Event May 9 at the Hotel Fera Anaheim in Orange, California, was an event for attendees who are committed to continuous improvement, said Dan Carranza, AkzoNobel’s national sales director, Vehicle Refinishes USA-Mexico.

"This is where the separation happens in all of your businesses," he said. "You guys are here working on your business, not in it. It's a commitment just to get out and get better at your craft."

More than 400 AkzoNobel customers representing 280 shops from the United States, Canada, and Mexico posting $950 million in gross revenue—plus distribution partners—were at the event. AkzoNobel business services consultants were many of the subject matter experts for the nine 75-minute breakout session topics attendees could choose from for the three time slots.

"We don't just sell you a can of paint; we actually want to help you run more successful business," said John Griffin, regional commercial director for automotive and specialty coatings for North and South America. Of course, he noted, a successful shop will sell more paint by repairing more cars, including through expansion, so it's a symbiotic relationship.

"That's the investment for us, but we first and foremost will make sure you are a successful business and you're improving that business every day, every week, and every month. This is what we want to help you do; this is how we want to be your partner."

The breakout sessions ranged from small business HR practices to new vehicle technology refinishing. During registration and between sessions, attendees could stop by the booths of one of about 20 distribution partners.

Collision Advice President Mike Anderson closed out the day in speaking on the state of the industry, including some headwinds facing collision repairers such as a slowdown in business, with backlogs having recently shrunk from weeks to days, attributed in part to a mild winter. And with rate increases up to 20%, consumers are reluctant to make a claim, fearful their rates will rise again. ADAS features are also reducing the number of vehicle crashes, he said.

"Focus on capture rates, sales and follow up on scheduled estimates," he said. "Get back to the basics." 

Additionally, four-day work weeks (one of the topics covered in the breakout sessions) have been shown to increase sales and be an effective recruiting tool.

"The shops I see that are successful today recruit, retain, and train to keep their best talent. And they understand that culture is everything."

About the Author

Jay Sicht | Editor-in-Chief, FenderBender and ABRN

Jay Sicht is editor-in-chief of FenderBender and ABRN. He has worked in the automotive aftermarket for more than 28 years, including in a number of sales and technical roles in paint/parts distribution and service/repair. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Central Missouri with a minor in aviation, and as a writer and editor, he has covered all segments of the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 of those years, including formerly serving as editor-in-chief of Motor Age and Aftermarket Business World. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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