Skills and technology were the driving themes running through IBIS USA 2023, held in Nashville, Tennessee.
DAY ONE – MORNING
Following a welcome reception, Andrew Rose from OnStar Insurance delivered the opening keynote before sitting down for a question-and-answer session with IBIS ambassador Sean Carey.
“It’s not a good time to be in insurance right now,” said Rose in response to an audience question. “The loss ratios are at their worst for more than a decade. At OnStar, we want to incentivise customers by finding those who drive safely and reward them with lower insurance premiums.”
Delegates then heard from Ramon Lopez of Allcat Claims Service, who looked at industry trends, relationships, and dynamics in the claims and collision market, including the way artificial intelligence technology changed the traditional claims process.
“Claims industry dynamics have changed massively. Pre-pandemic we were expense-focused; post-pandemic we have become more accuracy-focused,” said Lopez, before being joined on stage by Hami Ebrahimi from Caliber Collision, and Jason Hope from Boyd Group Services / Gerber Collision & Glass, in a session moderated by Jason Moseley, CEO of IBIS Worldwide.
“One survey I saw said 75 per cent of people who got their cars fixed found that the ADAS systems were no longer working properly,” said Ebrahimi. “When these safety systems don’t work, that creates a whole new set of problems for the customer and the collision shop.”
Sessions involving multiple speakers discussing ongoing global supply chain issues followed. During a presentation, Chad Autry, Professor of Supply Chain Management from Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, said: “With analytics and AI we should be able to predict the types of accidents we can expect … and order parts ahead of time based on these predictions.”
Seth Wilcox, VP of Sales North America at Axalta Refinish, said: “The pandemic exposed a lot of the inefficiency end-to-end in the supply chain. It’s our responsibility to get out in front of these challenges and address them for our customers.”
Concluding the supply chain sessions, Aaron DeLong of HP and Harold Sears from Imagine Additive Consulting looked to the future of the automotive supply chain through 3D printing. “Our 3D printers can go anywhere in the country,” said DeLong. “They could be in the collision shop or in a warehouse that services multiple body shops. Instead of ordering a part, you would order the digital files and print the required part.”
DAY ONE – AFTERNOON
Following a networking lunch, IBIS USA 2023 continued with Claudia Morgillo, a professional certified leadership coach and Fix Auto Canada MSO owner, who delivered the afternoon keynote address themed Prioritising People. She was then joined on stage by panellists Dave Luehr of Elite Bodyshop Solutions, Stephen Bozer of Fix Auto Tempe, and Paul Sgro of Lees Garage.
Moseley then moderated a conversation in which Molly Mahoney from Collision Engineering, Dara Goroff from I-CAR, Amber Ritter from Collision Repair Education Foundation, and Jennifer Maher of TechForce Foundation discussed recruitment, diversity and retention.
“If you want to attract diverse young talent, you need to find out what they want, get in front of the people who influence or advise them, and deliver the right messaging about what working in a collision shop is really about,” said Goroff.
The final session on the first day continued with the staffing and skills debate under the theme Recognising Talent. Panellists Jason Bartanen of Collision Hub, Erin Suchara of 3M, and Max Sorensen of Caliber Collision joined Moseley to discuss career paths, direction and leadership.
“To attract new people, we need to change our behaviour in the shop,” said Bartanen. “We are competing against every other industry, so to stand out we need to be the most attractive and offer a workplace and a career path that people want.”
Day two was focused on vehicle and repair technology. The day opened with I-CAR’s Scott Kaboos and Joel Dufkis delivering presentations about EVs, where delegates were advised they shouldn’t assume they know the ADAS on a vehicle because they have worked on a similar one, even within the same brand or the same model series.
The pair were then joined by Chris Chesney of Repairify, with Andrew Marsh beaming in from the UK along with Adam Thurman of EV Bodyshops, who said: “My advice to anyone thinking of specialising like we have is to understand the product by spending time with the methods. The same goes for the equipment, software and diagnostics because without that you should stay away from repairing electric vehicles.”
IBIS USA 2023 concluded with a summary discussion between Moseley and I-CAR’s Jeff Peevy, who said: “The technology in our industry has shifted right out from under us and we haven’t even acknowledged that yet. We need to be looking for young people who can work with their hands as well as their brains.”