By Darryl Simmons

Vancouver, British Columbia -- May 26, 2014 -- CCIF was bursting at the seams with people and information at the most recent meeting in Vancouver. 

Over 230 repairers, suppliers, insurers and OEM representatives packed the Marriott Pinnacle on Saturday. This marks the largest ever attendance in the west, validating the forum’s new direction since being administrated by AIA Canada. 
 
Chairman Larry Jefferies opened the meeting by noting challenges and changes in the industry ranging from reduced volumes, advanced repair methods and over-capacity of the current number of facilities across the country. He said the wide-range of the slate of speakers was designed to spark discussion and provide information to bring to the AIA’s Collision Council for further action.
 
 
Using “the VOICE,” CCIF’s electronic voting system, it was determined that the audience showed a very strong desire for the AIA Collision Council to look at the insurance claims process, following a panel discussion moderated by Larry Jefferies with Joe Carvalho of Economical Insurance, Wade Morecy of TD Insurance, Ken Friesen of Concours Collision – CSN, and Mike Dybka of CARSTAR Burlington.  There was a clear message that improvement in the process could create some positive effects on industry profitability for all stakeholders.
 
Chris Castagna of BMW Group expressed the desire for more OE collaboration with other industry stakeholders to ensure the industry has the resources and information needed to continue repairing vehicles properly today and in the future. One of the presenters at CCIF Vancouver, Castagna focused on carbon fibre plastics and its use in the brand new i3 line, demonstrating how old or even current repair practices will not suffice in the near future. 
 
OEM procedures, training and equipment to handle the new materials will be intensive and mandatory. Currently, even though there are no i-3s on the road in Canada, there are five locations already trained, equipped and ready to repair them. 
 
Echoing the need to follow OEM repair procedures, and the need to have access to information to do so, Rick Leos of Toyota USA demonstrated his company’s new system of determining severity which basically eliminates estimating. Rather than building estimates from a blank page and line-by-line, Toyota has developed an opposite approach. Highlighting zones (such as quarter panel or rear bumper) populates a complete list of every part and process necessary for a safe and proper repair in the area. 
 
The report includes detailed instructions for repair, safety bulletins and updates, and information about non-reusable parts. This system speeds up the repair process by eliminating the need for an appraiser to approve work before starting. 
  
Wedge Clamp's Desmond Chan was invited by the executive of the China Automotive Maintenance and Repair Trade Association (CAMRA) to join them for the Auto Maintenance and Repair (AMR) trade show. In addition, CAMRA had asked Wedge Clamp to bring fellow professionals in the collision repair and automotive aftermarket industries. The trip offered a unique opportunity for an inside view of business in China, in a package tailored for the collision repair industry.
 
A break for lunch followed, during which attendees were given a chance to view a BMW i3, one of only two in Canada. BMW had a technician remove some of the panels to demonstrate the unique panel replacement design of the i3. 
 
The discussion on repairing advanced materials continued in the afternoon, led by Eric Boutin of Volkswagen Group Canada, Doug Staddon of Honda Canada and Paul Stella of Toyota Canada. The session examined several mainstream vehicles and the training and equipment needed to perform the right repair. David Adams, President of the Global Automakers of Canada, moderated a Q&A session following the presentations.
 
 
Leanne Jefferies, Director of the CCIF Skills Program, was next to take the podium. Leanne was recently honoured as one of the Most Influential Women in the collision repair industry by the Women’s Industry Network. The only Canadian to make this year’s list, Leanne reported on the Skills Competitions that have taken place so far and the National Competition set to take place June 5, 2014 at the International Centre in Toronto, Ont. She also updated CCIF attendees on the CCIF Haiti Arise project, providing actions the industry can take to get involved, including donating equipment, supplies or funds to help equip Haiti’s new Technical Institute. 
 
Larry Jefferies returned to the stage to provide an update on the CCIF Business Conditions Survey. He also shared information from the Q4 national report and other industry performance data. 
 
The final presentation of the day was delivered by Andrew Shepherd, Executive Director of I-CAR Canada, providing an update on new courses offered by I-CAR, as well as the outlook for 2014 and beyond. 
 
CCIF will hold a special event at NACE, taking place at COBO Centre in Detroit, Mich., on July 31, 2014. The next full meeting of CCIF will take place in Montreal at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure on September 26, 2014.

 

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