A prescription for profits

July 1, 2022
Boost your revenue with a little help from your paint vendors

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What you will learn:

  • Why some of the best business solutions from paint companies are not automotive finishes
  • A variety of paint company training programs are available online
  • Productivity-boosting apps are available on your mobile device

There are many ways to make money in the collision repair market, but all these efforts can be broken down into two basic categories: reduction (by cutting wasted resources and time) or investment. The industry has devoted much of its time over the past two decades focusing on the first. Reduction efforts just make sense since shops can more easily manage them, and the effects tend to be more immediate. In fact, lean processing arguably has become so prominent that today the term has lost much of the heft it used to carry.

Investment is much harder – especially these days when shops are focused so much on reduction and are reluctant to put money into new equipment, tools, and products unless the ROI is highly probable, even guaranteed. That’s unfortunate, since many investment opportunities with great returns are run by operators every year. Some of the most promising come from paint companies who invest plenty of their time and money offering shops new products and services designed to make both parties more revenue.

Have you talked to your paint vendor lately about what it can do for you? If not, make plans today to meet. In the meantime, see the following list of some of the latest and greatest offerings from paint companies that could turn even a small investment into a highly profitable payoff.


Some of the best business solutions coming from paint companies aren’t finishes you spray on a vehicle. Some, like AkzoNobel’s Carbeat, fall in the category of “digital process control,” solutions engineered to improve communication and production efficiency. Carbeat combines software (cloud-based workflow software combine with production analysis), hardware (including interactive, touch screen monitors) and services like a customized integration package and quarterly analysis review with a business professional.

AkzoNobel explains that Carbeat works, in part, by providing visual representations work in production using columns and colors to identify the status of a repair at a glance to help “quickly and easily” guide behavior in your shop. A king-size touch screen permits repairers to reposition shop activities with the swipe of a finger, while Carbeat allows real-time vehicle status information to be delivered to interested parties inside and outside an operation. Additionally, Carbeat answers operational questions, serving front-office staff, repair technicians, planners and shop management.

AkzoNobel continues to upgrade and improve this offering. The latest version of Carbeat 1.5 has been released with the following features:

  • Updated "work types" field
  • Characteristic icons
  • Task icons
  • Cycle time indicator
  • Total number of orders, total hours, and total value by status
  • Accounts receivable and total loss statuses (columns)
  • MSO cycle time report


Some of the special colors being delivered by car makers can pose big challenges to shops trying to match them. Axalta hopes to ride to the rescue with Spies Hecker Permacron Transparent Midcoat 9100.

Permacron Transparent Midcoat 9100 is designed to be an easy-to-tint, spray, and blend midcoat that simplifies the repair of difficult chromatic OEM colors. It is VOC-compliant and for use with Spies Hecker Permasolid additives (9045, 9049, 9056, and 9057)

Axalta says when 9100 is used, premium color and appearance are achieved within the base coat application in less time over either Permacron Base Coat Series 293/295 or Permahyd Hi-TEC 480.


BASF has taken its own deep dive into streamlined digital solutions with its launch of Refinity, a new, cloud-based, digital platform engineered “to drive efficiency in the areas of color, business, training and support solutions.” What can Refinity do?

For those looking for real-time color matching, Refinity’s Color Apps, combined with BASF’s intelligent spectrophotometers, provide shops with what BASF calls “the simplest color retrieval method on the market.”

Refinity’s Business Apps provide a clearer look into shop consumption and profitability metrics for each completed repair. Shops can track product usage and summarize associated costs and profitability for paint and related materials. They also can set their preferred portfolio of products, manage pricing and stock levels, and automatically generate recommended orders to optimize their inventory. These numbers are then summarized into reports shops can use to help increase performance and revenue.

Refinity’s Training Apps permit shops to brush up on their skills and learn new ones anytime and practically anywhere. A wide variety of instructional programs, professional training videos, and interactive e-learning courses are available online. This includes everything from simple troubleshooting to tips and tricks, in-depth product, and process information. To track learning goals, certified e-learning courses can be completed through Refinity Learning University.

Refinity features links to selected partner offerings to further connect customers to resources that drive profitability and efficiency into the overall body shop process.


PPG has launched its Knowledge College online learning management system, intended to provide shops with comprehensive online finishing training and professional business development programs. The Knowledge College provides both free and fee-based content, and features additional curriculum developed by PPG’s MVP Business Solutions team designed to help improve the productivity and profitability of collision repair centers.

Robb Power, PPG senior manager of Refinish Solutions, explains that the college offers customers flexibility, since it allows students to decide the best time to undertake training and learn at their own pace. “All you need is a computer and access to the internet,” Power says. Technicians have the ability to start or resume training whenever they choose to do so.

The Knowledge College includes automotive refinish recertification training. This system allows certified paint technicians using PPG Deltron and Envirobase refinish lines to recertify their status online instead of completing required off-site training at a PPG Business Development Center every two years. The system thereby offers a more convenient way for shops to offer the PPG Limited Lifetime Paint Performance Guarantee, which requires they employ a PPG-certified refinish technician. A recertification course comprises seven one-hour modules, followed by a final exam that the technician is required to pass to renew certification status.

Additionally, refinish technicians can use the system to take a course on the EPA National Area Source Rule 6H in English or Spanish.

PPG says once enrolled in the PPG Knowledge College training program, shops can access a comprehensive curriculum that covers a multitude of collision repair topics and offers two specific learning paths – Collision Shop Estimating and Collision Shop Financials.

Beginning with Fundamentals of Estimating, the estimating curriculum consists of seven modules that teach the key factors for producing complete and accurate estimates. The Collision Shop Financials curriculum offers five virtual learning sessions primarily focused on helping operators improve their understanding of financial documents and the levers to drive improvement.


This year, Sherwin-Williams launched Collision Core, a suite of programs that address key business operations such as inventory, production, color, quality, and scorecard (diagnostics).

Collision Core is a series of interconnected solutions, or apps, designed to offer visibility across all key business operations to support better decisions and accountability with real-time information. Robert Mowson, vice president of marketing, automotive finishes division, touts these e-solutions as “easy to use and accessible with mobile platforms, keeping everyone connected, informed and productive.”

Collision Core focuses on optimizing labor through connected metrics from production and cycle time to customer satisfaction and profitability. It features five solutions that can be adopted individually or all together:

  • Collision Core Inventory: Improves the inventory process, reduces unnecessary inventory, and eliminates the costly time it takes to maintain adequate stock levels and place orders.
  • Collision Core Production: Provides a real-time, at-a-glance production and scheduling solution with management insights surrounding utilization capabilities, with a focus on labor optimization through predictive and flexible scheduling.
  • Collision Core Quality: Provides in-process, post-process, timestamped, peer-to-peer quality verification and validation assurance, manageable data insights, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction.
  • Collision Core Scorecard: Provides an automatic KPI report focusing on some of the most significant lead and lag measures driving profitability and business improvement across all business functions and departments.
  • Collision Core Color: Provides 24/7 access to a continuously updated library of color formulas accessible from any web-enabled device with fully optimized touchscreen technology and management system connectivity intended to produce instantaneous color retrieval.

Collision Core is designed for availability across an operation, since it is accessible on mobile devices. Sherwin-Williams calls the product “simple to deploy,” with a fast return on investment, saving time and resources.

“Collision Core not only reduces chaos in day-to-day operations, but it alleviates reactive management, allowing shop owners to focus on growing the business rather than fighting fires,” Mowson says.

About the Author

Tim Sramcik

Tim Sramcik began writing for ABRN over 20 years ago. He has produced numerous news, technical and feature articles covering virtually every aspect of the collision repair market. In 2004, the American Society of Business Publication Editors recognized his work with two awards. Srmcik also has written extensively for Motor Ageand Aftermarket Business. Connect with Sramcik on LinkedIn and see more of his work on Muck Rack. 

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