The first event of the Spring Racing Carnival at Royal Randwick was the “Horizons” Symposium which got underway on a beautiful Spring day on Saturday. Sponsors and delegates from all around the country gathered for the only Sydney-based collision repair event of 2019, hosted by John McCoy-Lancaster and Joe McFadries.
Headlining the morning session was keynote speaker, James Goodwin, CEO ANCAP Safety as he outlined how the ANCAP rating system works and how the death rate in Australia has halved over 30 years as more and more safety features are built into our motor vehicles. For example, the impact of AEB has been amazing with an almost 40 percent reduction in rear-end crashes and a 27 percent reduction in fatalities. Interestingly, notwithstanding that autonomous technology is on the horizon, due to the average age of the car parc and the mix of vehicles on our roads, crashes will continue to happen in both the city and the regional areas.
James’ presentation was the precursor to the first discussion panel where he was joined by Audi’s Gareth Wright, Hyundai’s Kevin Roberson and Hella Gutmann’s Gordon Scott-Worthington to discuss the latest developments in OEM technology and the growing impact on the collision repair industry. The discussion centred around the technology behind the connected car, the prevalence of OEM repair networks and access to repair information and what they all mean to today’s drivers and repairers. In addition, the panel discussed the question of what really constitutes a genuine part, and Gordon Scott-Worthington pointed out that Hella was indeed a Tier 1 supplier to most of the global OEMs.
The audience was given an overview from our major sponsor, Hyundai as Kevin Roberson provided a compelling case for the use of approved repair procedures, genuine parts and fully trained and accredited technicians. He also highlighted Hyundai’s price matching policy against non-genuine parts and reinforced their commitment to the collision repair sector.
Immediately after the lunch break, delegates were given a “reality check” by Tradiebot Industries’ CEO Mario Dimovski who outlined their journey, their latest developments in Augmented Reality and Robotics and their place in today’s workshops. The presentation generated much discussion and it was clear that he really struck a chord with the younger generation. The presentation included several examples of AR in our daily lives and how it is already transforming other industries, and also included several videos to illustrate the technology. They had everyone getting involved with their interactive display during the breaks.
Following Mario’s technology-charged presentation, John McCoy-Lancaster introduced our panel Future Leaders of the Industry: Fix Network’s Jack Parkinson, Killen Smash’s Cameron Killen, and fresh from her success at WorldSkills in Russia, AMA’s Maxine Colligan. The group shared their view of the industry and provided a clear message to us, the current custodians to “get off our backsides” and proactively market all the great things about it, accept that the next generation of technicians have a different horizon, are wired differently and embrace new technology. Do this, and we will a attract the next generation of leaders. It was truly an inspiring discussion full of passion and pride.
As we moved into the final bend, Lifetime Achievement Award inductee, I-CAR Australia’s CEO Mark Czvitkovits presented an in-depth view of the development of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, the complexities of the technology and the associated repair procedures. Mark highlighted the importance of deactivating the high voltage battery prior to working on the car but reminded us that the battery itself is always live. He stressed the importance of following OEM procedures, having the correct PPE and having qualified technicians. Anything less and you will get hurt!
And to complete the racing references, a panel of industry stakeholders led us into the home straight with a multi-faceted discussion about the changes to the collision repair landscape that are on the horizon. Mark Czvitkovits and Troy Johns returned to the stage and were joined by AMBRA Chairman Tod Sarina, AAPR’s Glenn O’Donnell and Capricorn’s Rob Mildenhall who discussed the challenges presented by the MSOs who are disrupting the industry, the changing involvement of the major insurers and the role of the manufacturers. The discussion inevitably returned to training and investment as the keys to ensure an independent body shop remains current and commercially viable, notwithstanding the MSOs economies of scale.
We wrapped up the symposium recognising the support of our sponsors who got behind the initiative, the speakers and panellists who contributed throughout the day and all the delegates who got involved in the discussions. As we always say; the world is changed by those who turn up and last weekend was no exception.
Look for the full report and lots of pics in the October issue with our major sponsor, Hyundai on the cover!