More than 140 attendees enjoyed a very informative, educational and entertaining day at the Newton International Marketing Industry Forum 2016. The Forum this year was held at the Melbourne Convention Centre on Saturday 16th July. The major sponsor for the Forum was IAG and supporting sponsors were Australian Factoring Company, Axalta Coatings, BASF Australia, Capricorn Society, Car Craft, Car-O-Liner Australia, Compass Claims, GM Holden, iBodyshop/DNS, Lowbake Australia, PPG Industries Australia, Suncorp Group and The National Collision Repairer magazine.
The day began with morning tea/coffee and registration before the opening welcome from David Newton-Ross and Jeff Hendler who were the MC and moderators for the event.
The keynote address was given by Per Madsen from Car-O-Liner AB and as always his presentation was a snapshot of what is happening around the world in terms of industry trends, new technology and training. The presentation certainly lead to many questions asked of the various panellists during the day and of the audience comprised of shop owners and key employees, suppliers, insurers and educators.
The first panel consisted of Stephen Palmer from IAG, Rob Bartlett from Suncorp, Geoff Gwilym from VACC and Peter McMahon from Car Craft who all provided their thoughts on where the industry is heading in terms of consolidation, technology, autonomous vehicles and insurer relations. There were many questions from the audience before the lunch break.
After lunch Artur Candido from GM Holden made a presentation on Holden Repair Insights and this proved to be very entertaining and informative.
Artur then joined Per Madsen and Mark Czvitkovits from I-CAR Australia on a panel to answer many questions from attendees.
It was then left to Newton-Ross and Hendler to encourage discussion and questions from the attendees which was at times very lively!
At the end of the day everyone was in no doubt that there still is a great future in the industry but more than ever the industry must adapt to change and certainly be able to prove to insurers and vehicle manufacturers that they have the training, equipment and employees to be able to repair the modern vehicle which as we all know is becoming more and more complex. It was also noted that there is life outside consolidation and groups/franchising for the independent operator who is willing to invest in his or her business.
Attendees and sponsors then were able to enjoy an hour of refreshments and networking at the end of what proved to be a very successful and well received event.