By Mike Davey
Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- August 23, 2012 -- Quality repairs require quality knowledge. A thorough understanding of OEM repair procedures is often a necessary prerequisite to performing safe repairs on today’s complex vehicles.
Industry training organization I-CAR has developed a “Conceptual Solution Set” that it says will help the collision repair industry work more closely with OEMs. This proposed solution set will strive for uniformity and effectiveness of OEM repair procedures and make the information easier to access. Using the proposed solution, shops would also gain access to general knowledge required to perform complete and safe repairs.
“One of the big problems in our industry is that repairers don't get those standards quickly enough – or not at all - and they’re left taking a best guess at repair procedures,” says Andrew Shepherd, Director of I-CAR Canada. “I-CAR will provide a faster and more thorough mechanism for moving them to the industry.”
I-CAR CEO & President John Van Alstyne introduced the solution during the 2012 I-CAR Industry Event in San Antonio. He said it will integrate five key elements that collectively address the needs identified by the industry.
The central element of the plan involves I-CAR acting as the linking pin between the collision repair industry and vehicle OEMs. It also involves development of the I-CAR Industry Knowledge Portal, which will facilitate the dialogue and communication link between the industry and OEMs.
Plans include cross-industry council meetings to help guide the initiative, semi-annual repairability summits to address identified repairability issues, online dialogue forums for sharing information and providing feedback and insights and more. The solution set is to be validated and confirmed through the remainder of 2012 and into 2013, with implementation readiness currently targeted for mid-2013.
Five key elements make up the proposed solution:
Repairability Council: A council process led by I-CAR that would focus on defining the information needs of the industry, particularly how industry professionals prefer receiving information, refining methods for feedback on repair processes to I-CAR and OEMs, and general feedback on how the overall program is working.
Industry Knowledge Portal:
Accessed through i-car.com
, this centralized one-stop shop portal would link the industry with the various knowledge sources available across the industry and will be the engine behind the Repairability Forum.
Repairability Forum: An online environment where the industry can share ideas, issues, and feedback for I-CAR and OEM consideration. A real-time discussion network is also envisioned to help the industry share innovations and best practices.
Repairability Summits: I-CAR-led, topic-specific problem solving events to resolve repair issues of common industry concern. The objective is to establish best practices for repairs that can be considered by vehicle OEMs and others. Summits are expected to be held semi-annually.
Industry/OEM Linking Pin: I-CAR would increasingly engage with vehicle OEM technical service teams, encouraging uniformity of repair information formatting and availability, providing OEMs with access to information received through forums and summits, as well as feedback on possible enhancements to repair procedures. I-CAR plans to continue recommending in its core technical training courses that OEM repair procedures be followed.
“We believe I-CAR is uniquely positioned and equipped to effectively perform this role; and by performing this role, will create true value for the industry. It is also important to understand what this initiative is not,” says Van Alstyne. “I-CAR will not author nor publish repair procedures, however it may support vehicle OEMs with development of repair procedures that they may in turn publish. This is also not about I-CAR resolving industry commercial disputes or taking positions that might favor one entity versus another. It is critically important that I-CAR retain its neutral position on behalf of the industry in order to continue effectively doing its core work in industry education and knowledge building. Over the next several months, we will be working with the various stakeholders involved, as well as with our Board, to define the best final solution that meets the needs of the industry and which fits I-CAR’s vision, mission and capabilities. Our goal is simply to be of greater service to the industry we are designed to serve, and we see this service-solution initiative as a great step forward for I-CAR.”
As the conceptual solution was created, I-CAR sought input and feedback from the original requesters, which includes the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, Automotive Service Association, Alliance of Automotive Service Providers and Assured Performance Network, plus additional insights from vehicle OEMs and insurers.