AkzoNobel Podcast Examines The Need To ‘Rethink’ Vehicle Refinishing

AkzoNobel has told listeners of its Automotive Insights: Refinish podcast that they must overcome fear and embrace the change that is occurring in the industry.

With increasing demand for driver-assisted and electric vehicles, and repairs becoming more complex, AkzoNobel said collision body repair shops are having to re-tool with capital-intensive equipment to compete.

According to AkzoNobel, staff are also critical to the future, but several personnel challenges must be overcome such as the high number of recent baby boomer retirements, a shortage of new apprentices, and COVID-related personnel losses due to illness or career changes. These issues are also hampering efforts to upskill the workforce for emerging technologies.

Speaking on the podcast, which covered the vehicle refinishing industry’s challenges and its future, Michael Giarrizzo, President and CEO of DCR Systems, said repairers must embrace change and move away from the old ways of doing business.

“People sometimes fear change and doing things differently and they become almost paralysed,” said Giarrizzo. “The vast majority of vehicle body repair shops operate in a very similar way – it may have served the decades of the past, but it’s not going to serve today or the future.”

Giarrizzo recommended shop managers challenge their teams to develop new ways of doing business. “Many of those ideas will be similar, from any team anywhere in the world. But engaging the team in getting the preparation right will reduce waste and redundancies in the system. The body shop will become leaner and more efficient, and customer service will improve,” he said.

According to Giarrizzo, removing commission-based pay makes experienced technicians far more welcoming of apprentices and entry-level workers.

Giarrizzo shared the platform with Graham Threlfall, Global Key Account Manager at AkzoNobel, as one of a regular series of podcasts hosted by Threlfall. “As with any industry, attracting and retaining employees is difficult, and persuading people to change even more so, especially when business is doing well. But in the wake of a technology tsunami, you need to rethink the way you work with people, your staff, and your supply chain partners, to succeed.”

For more information and to listen to the podcast, click here.