INDIANAPOLIS, IND. — The SCRS Open Board Meeting, held the morning of July 24 in Indianapolis, Ind., prior to the Collision Industry Conference (CIC), offered an update to industry professionals attending about SCRS’s initiatives and the industry at large. Here are some highlights.
Aaron Schulenburg, SCRS Executive Director, presented additional details about SCRS’s new 401(k) plan for members, which was recently featured in a webinar on July 18. SCRS has partnered with HR services firm Decisely to develop a program that allows multiple small businesses to collectively spread the cost of a 401(k) among themselves.
SCRS sees this program as an opportunity to pull membership together in order to positively impact the industry workforce. Existing SCRS member businesses who have already enrolled have saved on average 37% from their existing plans.
Schulenburg shared that the 401(k) plan will help small businesses compete with larger businesses on benefits. So far, nearly 100 participants have signed up, and Schulenburg hopes that more will join.
Not only will the program help collision repair businesses support and retain their current employees, but it will also help draw in new talent. Schulenburg explained, “This program increases the quality of life for employees and encourages others to join the industry who might’ve chosen a related industry in which benefits like these are already commonplace.” SCRS chairman Brett Bailey added, “I believe it’s a gamechanger. The industry has needed this for a long time.”
Andy Tylka, vice president of Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA), presented on how his association is bringing together collision repair businesses and industry professionals in order to educate and find solutions to common issues facing them. The association meets quarterly in a roundtable format. Each meeting has a theme, usually drawn from videos SCRS has recently shared, such as welding. This format has allowed IABA to increase their membership by 20% over the past two years. Tylka mentioned that there are even shop owners from Illinois attending the meetings to join in on the discussions.
Tylka shared that a key part of their ability to grow the industry within Indiana is bringing in trade school instructors and students so that they can meet and connect with shop owners and technicians.
Visual safety inspections
Bruce Halcro, vice chairman of SCRS and owner of Capital Collision Center in Montana, and Ron Reichan of Precision Body and Paint, presented on manufacturer required visual safety inspections. Halcro and Reichan, who both have Subaru-certified shops, specifically focused on Subaru inspections. Halcro stressed the complexity of the inspections and the need to follow procedures closely. For example, in a front-end collision there are different inspections depending on if an airbag was deployed or not.
|Bruce Halcro and Ron Reichan present at the SCRS Open Board Meeting.|
Halcro spoke to the importance of working with and educating local dealerships about the safety inspections, especially since they will likely be receiving numerous calls from body shops about the processes. This is especially significant considering many dealerships do not have a collision repair center, so they might not be informed about the need for—or even the process of—the manufacturer required safety inspections after a collision. Halcro added, “We need to educate the service advisors and take that initiative.”
While the industry has been abuzz with the importance of pre- and post-repair scanning, this type of inspection is distinctly different. Reichan explained, “These are physical inspections, so this is not something that is included in a pre- or post-scan. They basically require that you do some disassembly so you can visually look at cage nuts that are mounted in the areas that were in stress points, look at any wiring that might have been pulled. If wiring is stretched, you’ll have connectivity issues, especially in supplemental restraint systems (SRS) and deployment connectors, etc. This is above and beyond. When we’re discussing it with third-party bill payers, they have to be aware of that. It’s not a ‘one size fits all.’”
Halcro added, “The inspections are time-consuming and intrusive, and it adds to the bottom line of the bill, but it’s the only way to ensure that the vehicle is ready to be back on the road.”
Mark Olson, CEO of VecoExperts, shared that there are currently three court cases in which shops did not perform the required safety inspections and are being held responsible for improper repairs. Olson said that they will likely be settled out of court, so the industry won’t necessarily hear about them. Nonetheless, these cases speak to the importance of performing and carefully documenting all the necessary steps in repairing a vehicle.
Halcro summed up the thoughts of many repairers in the room in stating, “We’re not in the liability business; we’re in the repair business. We just don’t want to take the risk.”