With an ongoing passion for contributing to the success of the collision repair industry, AkzoNobel put beliefs into action at NACE Automechanika earlier this month.
Their participation in the trade show and training event, held Aug. 8-10 in Atlanta, included participation in a panel at the student-focused Career Connection Conference, a presence on the trade show floor and sponsorship of I-CAR’s Rockin’ Rides reception, which gathered donations to support local automotive schools.
“There’s been talk within the industry about the fact that if we continue at the pace we are at, we’ll run out of qualified technicians,” said Tony Mahon, Regional Business Services Manager, Automotive, AkzoNobel. The end result of the reception sponsorship was “being able to give funding to many well-deserving local votech schools,” he said.
And the student response to the Career Connection Conference “was great,” Mahon said, helping to restore his faith in the continued successful development of technicians in the industry.
“A big part of what we did at NACE Automechanika with attracting people into the industry reflects AkzoNobel’s passion for the industry, which is a core principle,” he said. “We want to make sure that we are contributing to the growth of this industry by attracting the right work force and bringing sustainability into the businesses.”
AkzoNobel has other projects in progress, with announcements planned soon, to further showcase the company’s commitment to ongoing recruitment.
In addition to overall industry support initiatives, AkzoNobel also offers plenty to its day-to-day customers. “We are a very integral part of their business and how they do business. One of the core things we have here and are very passionate about maintaining is our core services package,” Mahon says. “We are more than just a can of paint.”
AkzoNobel’s Service Group, comprised of 16 highly trained industry experts, consults with shop customers on all topics, including processes, financial metrics and goals. The group also focuses on one of the industry’s biggest challenges — “hiring, identifying and retaining talent,” Mahon said. “We help customers to understand what is important to the new generation coming in. We give the user the tools and the mindset to hire smart and hire right. What we devote to programs, whether creating personal development programs to monitor progress or pay plans, among others, we basically try to figure out what it is going to take to attract the best and brightest. We work closely with our customers on that.”
Efficiency is also a key focus of AkzoNobel’s, with last year’s launch of Carbeat, a digital process control solution that improves communication and product efficiency. “It has been a resounding success, based on its installation in multiple locations,” Mahon said. “One comment from a facility was that it took their shop manager from a ‘do this, do that’ leader to a ‘what do you think’ leader. It has become an integral part of how they do business. And there is so much more to come with Carbeat as we move forward.”