Global-First Alliance Distribution Warehouse Opens In Australia

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi announced the opening of a state-of-the-art National Distribution Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

The shared parts and accessories warehouse is a first for Alliance member companies, which globally sold more than 10.6 million vehicles in 2017. It is designed to maximise productivity, efficiency and accuracy in order fulfillment, allowing manufacturers to enhance service to their national dealership networks.

The facility will become the new master warehouse for Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors’ national distribution network and will also service the INFINITI brand, which falls under the Alliance.

Based in the Melbourne suburb of Truganina, the purpose-built facility is strategically located between Melbourne’s sea container terminal and the airport. The facility has direct access to all interstate roads, is over 37,000 square metres in size, and is part of a CEVA super site that is the largest logistics facility in the southern hemisphere.

Housing more than 90,000 different parts, the Alliance National Distribution Centre manages 11 inbound sea containers daily, as well as airfreight and other local shipments. It brings in 2500 parts each day, while eight B-double transporters – as part of a same day service – deliver 8500 parts direct to dealerships.

Operating 24 hours a day and transporting parts across the entire country, the warehouse has space for approximately 100,000 parts and accessories. It includes a 677-square metre wet room with space for 700 pallets and employs over 90 staff.

One of the first six-star Green Star built and accredited buildings in Australia, it has a roof-mounted solar system to provide renewable energy, high bay LED lighting with daylight and motion sensors, early suppression fast response sprinkler systems and a rain water system for bathroom and garden irrigation.

It also incorporates industry-leading technologies and processes for the fast and efficient movement of automotive parts and accessories. These include a dedicated area for the storage of hazardous liquids such as oils, transmission and break fluids, and the 10 container docks allow for high volume inbound and outbound shipments.

Symach Partners With Alphabet Italia Fleet Management

Alphabet Italia Fleet Management SpA, the BMW Group’s car rental company, has chosen Symach as a technology partner to support its Alphabet Point collision shop network in achieving quality objectives in repair, production efficiency and speed of delivery to the customer.

Symach Srl is a leading company in collision shop processes and layouts in addition to being a manufacturer of body work equipment. Having already installed equipment in more than 90 shops all over the world with the FixLine production process, Symach will supply Alphabet’s network with its technological know-how and customised solutions for the design of new collision repair shops and the upgrade of existing ones. This will also include training on Symach repair processes.

“Alphabet is an excellent partner with whom we share the objectives to be achieved in terms of quality, efficiency and speed that are the foundation of Symach philosophy and process,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, Symach Founder and President.

“The process, the layout and the technology of Symach can allow the collision shops of the Alphabet Point network to easily obtain the results that Alphabet expects.”

Roberto Sticca, Operations Director of Alphabet Italia Fleet Management S.p.A. said: “The partnership with Symach is complementing the one already consolidated with AkzoNobel / Sikkens and represents a further step forward in the research path of service excellence in terms of both performance and strategy integration. I am convinced that this partnership will bring great benefits to all the parties involved, because the know-how in product development and the efficiency of the processes are key factors for the quality of the service we want to offer our customers.”

Audio Version Of ‘The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops’ Out Now

Audio Version Available Now On Audible, Soon On iTunes

Dave Luehr, author of The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops, believes that right now is the best time in history to be in the collision repair business, but only for those with the right mindset. Luehr and his co-author, Stacey Phillips, announced the audio version of the highly-acclaimed industry book is now available to purchase.

“I felt that the book was very well received in the collision repair industry, and I could not be happier about that,” said Luehr. “However, understanding that many in the industry find it difficult to find the time to read, or just don’t like to read, we felt it necessary to make an audio version available.”

The audio version of the book is now available to purchase on Audible and will be available soon on iTunes. All three versions of the book – paperback, Kindle and audio – are available on Amazon and at www.bodyshopsecrets.com.

Throughout the book, which was released in April 2017, the authors share insightful lessons along with real-world stories of actual collision repairers who have discovered the six secrets that have propelled them to a much higher level than their competitors.

“I believe the book contains critical information for many shop leaders who are wanting to take advantage of the challenging times we face as an industry, so we decided we would do whatever is required to get this information out there to those who need it,” said Luehr.

Mike Anderson, Jeff Peevy and Petra Schroeder are among the industry experts included in ‘The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops’.

The authors invite body shop owners around the world to join the conversation and share their stories about how their business has changed since reading the book. Visit the book’s Facebook page and post a story and photo with the hashtag #myshopsecret.

Volkswagen Group Fined $1.55 Billion For Diesel Emissions Scandal

The Braunschweig public prosecutor in Germany has issued a fine of €1 billion ($1.55) in total against Volkswagen AG – consisting of the maximum penalty as legally provided for of €5 million and the “disgorgement of economic benefits” in the amount of €995 million.

According to the findings of the investigation carried out by the Braunschweig public prosecutor, there were 10.7 million vehicles in total with the diesel engines of the types EA 288, in the United States and Canada, and EA 189, world-wide, being advertised, sold to customers, and placed on the market with an impermissible software function in the period from mid-2007 until 2015.

Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it.

Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.

As a result of the administrative order imposing the fine, the active regulatory offence proceedings conducted against Volkswagen will be finally terminated.

Volkswagen assumes that such termination of the proceedings will also have significant positive effects on further active administrative proceedings in Europe against the Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries.

The SAPE Group Expands Queensland Presence

The SAPE Group has announced the expansion of its paint portfolio through the acquisition of the Paint Depot, which is based in Brisbane and Gold Coast.

With this new step, the SAPE Group said it reaffirms its commitment to growing and expanding its operations in Australia and investing in the collision repair industry, particularly during a time of significant transition within the industry.

Ray McMartin, CEO of the SAPE Group, said: “This is an important move for the SAPE Group in Queensland. The acquisition will allow us to access new markets and to expand the business through The Paint Depot’s existing client base. The acquisition also marks the latest milestone in evolution and growth for the SAPE Group since opening in 1976.”

As part of the acquisition agreement, all existing management and staff will retain their jobs. There will be an amalgamation of branches, with the Brisbane Branch to be located at 1/11 Woomera Place, Archerfield. The Gold Coast Branch will become located at 3/116 Minnie Street, Southport.

Paul McMartin, Operations Manager for the SAPE Group Operations, said: “We are strongly committed to expanding our business in Australia and this acquisition makes perfect sense. The Paint Depot is a great company with huge potential, and their product range complements SAPE’s existing business perfectly.

“We’re so proud of this achievement and welcome the company’s employees to the SAPE Group.”

PPG Strengthens Sustainable Operations And Goals

With the recent release of its 2017 Corporate Sustainability Report, PPG has detailed its continued progress in strengthening its sustainable operations in 2017, as well as launching new, aggressive sustainability goals it aims to achieve by 2025.

“PPG’s sustainability efforts go beyond product innovations to extend to our customers’ operations and the communities in which we operate,” said Mark Cancilla, PPG Vice President, Environment, Health & Safety. “We are encouraged by our progress in 2017 and excited about our new goals, which are representative of the challenges and opportunities of our current business portfolio.”

2017 highlights:

  • 32 per cent of sales from products that provide customers with a sustainable advantage – an increase of 60 per cent since 2012. This includes unveiling multiple products that provide a sustainable solution, such as Sigma Air Pure, a “revolutionary” bio-based product that protects indoor air quality
  • 15 per cent reduction in waste since 2012
  • 46 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 2012
  • 0.29 rate of injury and illness, a 6.5 per cent reduction from 2016
  • Implementation of employee wellness programs at 70 per cent of locations with 50 or more employees
  • $10.5 million invested in hundreds of community organisations across 29 countries

The report is available at www.sustainability.ppg.com.

BASF Named A General Motors Supplier Of The Year For 13th Time

General Motors (GM) has named BASF a 2017 GM Supplier of the Year for 13th time since 2002. The award is presented to suppliers who distinguish themselves by meeting performance metrics for quality, execution, innovation, and total enterprise cost.

“This is an opportunity for General Motors to honour those suppliers who are truly the best of the best,” said Steve Kiefer, GM senior vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “The automotive industry is transforming at an incredible rate. The relationships we have with our supply base means everything when it comes to delivering a strong vehicle line-up today and the cutting-edge vehicles and mobility services of tomorrow.”

Award winners represent companies who provide products and services to General Motors in the areas of vehicle components, supply chain and logistics, customer care and aftersales, and indirect services. With its broad array of colour solutions and modern paint processes, BASF’s Coatings division helps GM improve productivity and environmental performance. BASF provides its time and resource saving Integrated Paint Process to GM and supplies a majority of its plants in North America with its world class CathoGuard® 800 electrocoat, among other technologies.

“The long-standing and trustful relationship between GM and BASF is an example of what can be accomplished through a successful partnership,” said Teressa Szelest, President, Market and Business Development North America at BASF. “Together, we are collaborating to drive innovation, customer service, safety and sustainability, and open new pathways for the future of mobility.”

Axalta Announces New Australian Headquarters In Western Sydney

Axalta Coating Systems has commissioned construction of a new 10,200m2  Australian headquarters in Marsden Park, in Western Sydney. The facility will house corporate offices, a state-of-the-art training facility, and a warehouse and distribution centre for up to 50 employees.

Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019, the facility will serve the Company’s refinish and commercial vehicle customers, light vehicle OEMs, as well as industrial and military customers in Australia and New Zealand. The new centre will support each of Axalta’s customers with high quality paints, lean processes, and sustainable applications.

“Building a new headquarters is part of our commitment to Australia and an important component of our growth strategy in the region,” said Steven Brett, Axalta’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand.  “We’re confident that this new site will help us deliver innovative and comprehensive coating solutions to our customers. The site will deploy environmentally responsible processes and provide a healthy environment for employees and the community.”

In 1976, Axalta established its business in Australia with a focus on providing regional training centers in each capital city across the country. The new headquarters will house the national training centre that will focus on refinish and industrial products, whilst helping refinishers maximise their skill-sets and keep them up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques.

“Axalta’s new training centre is all about supporting our customers,” said Paul Polverino, Axalta’s National Training Manager. “Using our leading refinish and industrial brands, training will focus on driving process optimisation to help bodyshops be more efficient and productive to ultimately improve their business performance and gain a competitive edge.”

For more information on Axalta or training courses go to www.axalta.com.au or call 1800 292 582.

Euro NCAP Assessment Inspector In Australia As Part Of World Region Alignment

Australasia’s independent vehicle safety advocate, ANCAP, has hosted one of Euro NCAP’s vehicle safety assessment inspectors as part of its reciprocal test data sharing and protocol alignment.

Simon Edmonds, a senior vehicle safety inspector attended ANCAP crash test laboratories in Sydney and Melbourne throughout the week as part of a knowledge-sharing and development program in place as part of ANCAP and Euro NCAP’s 2018 harmonisation.

“We not only adopted a common approach to testing, we also integrated policies and assessment processes which are now shared between our two regions,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

“Having one of Euro NCAP’s most experienced inspectors here enables the engineers to share experiences and expertise to further develop assessment processes,” Goodwin said.

Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP – “This is an excellent opportunity for information exchange.”

“It is important we collaborate on all levels. We want safer cars for everyone, no matter which country or region they live, and our approach to align with ANCAP from this year is already seeing vehicle manufacturers build cars to a higher standard for both world markets,” Dr van Ratingen said.

ANCAP assessment engineers will attend crash and driver assistance testing in the United Kingdom later this year.

Suncorp Chairman Switkowski Set To Retire

Christine McLoughlin is to replace Suncorp chairman Ziggy Switkowski who is retiring from the board of the company in September.

Ms McLoughlin is currently the chairman of Suncorp’s remuneration committee, and was the inaugural chairman of the Australian Payments Council, and is also a director of health insurer nib.

On the appointm,ent of his successor, Dr Switkowski said: “In her three years on the board, Christine has demonstrated a broad range of skills relevant to financial services. I am confident that Christine will work well with the board, the CEO and managing director Michael Cameron, and senior management team to take this company to the next level of performance.”

McLoughlin said she was looking to embrace new opportunities and challenges.

“I look forward to working with my fellow directors and the Suncorp management team to continue to shape the Suncorp of tomorrow for our shareholders, customers and communities,” she said.