CIC, New Products Highlight Day 1 at SEMA

Nov. 2, 2022

The annual CIC conference and some new product announcements were among the big news on the first day of SEMA.

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 2, 2022)—While the automotive universe began to orbit Tuesday around the Las Vegas Convention Center and the SEMA Show, just a short distance north hundreds of collision repair professionals got together for the Collision Industry Conference. There was plenty of collision repair news being made at SEMA as well, with new products on offer and acres of show floor to explore. But the day began with CIC and the final conference for outgoing chairman Darrell Amberson.

Amberson, president of operations for LaMettry's, handed over the reigns in a conference filled with information, discussion, and even a little bit of theater. A skit sending up the entire claims process was the second session of the day, bringing laughs to the ballroom at the Venetian. More serious topics of the day included how to combat the talent shortage, the perils of handling customer data and how to adapt your technicians to evolving technology.

Attendees await the start of the Collision Industry Conference at the Venetian.

Addressing the talent shortage was the first session of the day and featured a panel of experienced collision repair professionals. The session covered four sides of the issue—first, how does anyone even hire a tech in the current environment? Answers included transforming your shop's culture into a desirable place to work, getting involved at the educational level and helping change minds about what the collision repair industry is really like. The other three topics were training entry level talent, retaining that talent and ways for shops to help themselves.

Related to the issue of attracting techs was how to train the techs you've already got to keep advancing with technology. It's at the point where techs can no longer do a repair from start to finish, said Kevin West from Nyland's Collision Center. What is really important now is having well-rounded and thorough techs who know every resource for completing repairs properly.

Control of data is an emerging problem in collision repair. "One breach," acknowledged Caliber Collision CIO Ashley Denison, "and it's a knock on the whole industry." But there's a lot that's out of the owner's hands. A focus of the discussion was that owners need to be aware that customer data may get into the hands of third parties whether they realize it or not.

3M Unveils New Products

Back at SEMA, the 3M booth featured a display of some of they key components of a modern body shop with the company's new spray guns, paint finishing solutions and inventory management technology. The company officially unveiled its new RepairStack Performance Solutions platform to help owners track inventory for supplies and also integrates with a blueprinting and billing system to help increase efficiency. It was like having another employee in the shop with those job duties, 3M said.

3M shows off its RepairStack Performance Solutions platform at SEMA.

The company's new Performance Spray Gun is designed to increase transfer efficiency, leading to up to 26% less material being wasted. The result of 10 years of design work, the gun is one of the lightest and smartest devices in the industry. And to finish that paint job off, 3M introduced its new Perfect-It Random Orbital Polishing System, designed to eliminate burn-throughs and swirl marks. A tool previously associated with detailing, this system reduces the possibility of operator error and won't ruin a completed paint job.

The 3M Performance Spray Gun is the result of 10 years of design work.

CREF Hosts Annual SEMA Reception

Impressive artwork was on display Wednesday night at the annual Collision Repair Education Foundation Reception. There was no canvas or clay in sight, however, as the mediums on display from collision repair students included hoods, welding masks, bowling pins and more. Attendees were able to vote on their favorite designs as art met automotive.

A painted body design serves as the backdrop for the CREF Reception.
About the Author

FenderBender Staff Reporters

The FenderBender staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and collision repair experience.

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