I-CAR sets sights on reaching ‘every technician’ building on growth and development
Hoffman Estates, Ill. – I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, recently announced its goal of providing I-CAR training, knowledge and solutions to 19,000 shops through expanded and improved training courses, topic areas, learning methods and simply by better clarifying the benefits of training. The 19,000 shop goal adds the next 10,000 shops to the 9,123 businesses I-CAR trained in 2015.
Last year, I-CAR’s training programs enabled 3,667 shops to achieve Gold Class while another 1,696 shops were on the Road to Gold program to complete the training required to earn Gold Class. A total of 512,425 credit hours were completed by 62,690 students last year. I-CAR also conducted 8,087 welding training and certification tests.
“It’s time for the industry to recognize that technical training which contributes to performance of complete, safe and quality repairs isn’t an option. It can mean survival for collision repairers, and our data shows that while surviving, shops can also thrive due to the productivity and efficiency gains that can be achieved through a better educated workforce,” said I-CAR CEO and President John Van Alstyne. “It is imperative that each and every technician in the industry has access to training and understands how they will benefit, and that business owners recognize the return on investment they can gain by investing in training now.”
Other industry achievements and I-CAR contributions in 2015 included:
- Addition of the Welding Training & Certification program as a curriculum option for career and technical schools
- Completion of I-CAR’s 2015 Ford F-150 structural repair training course (FOR06) by 2,582 collision repair shops and 11,098 total technicians, and many insurers including 100 percent of State Farm Insurance Auto Physical Damage Appraisers (APDAs)
- Recognition of Eric’s Auto Center CARSTAR, the first collision repair facility to achieve 25 years of continuous Gold Class designation
- Recognition of I-CAR as a MAACO Vendor of the Year.
- Contribution of $171,000 on behalf of the industry to the Collision Repair Education Foundation. Since 2012, I-CAR earmarks $1 for each course taken by students, and based on total annual industry training levels, makes a respective donation that provides financial support for schools.
In 2016 and beyond, I-CAR plans to serve more shops and technicians by offering more relevant training that relates to the needs of today’s collision repair industry. Examples include I-CAR’s expanding hands-on skills development courses, such as rivet bonding and MIG brazing, which provide attendees hands-on training with expert instruction.
Also debuting this summer is the ProLevel 2 pathway for the recently launched production management role, which is the first new role added to the professional development program since its launch in 2010. I-CAR plans to offer a greater variety of training topics in 2016 and beyond as industry needs evolve due to the “Technical Tsunami”– the rapid change in vehicle design and development driven by advances in technology, materials and more stringent emission standards.
I-CAR also expects Gold Class shops will empirically continue to perform significantly better than non-Gold Class shops in the future, and those shops with a true “Learning Culture” are expected to continue performing the best and improving the most.
Working with Enterprise, I-CAR was able to verify that in the first quarter of 2016 Gold Class shops again outpaced the national industry average Length of Rental (LOR) performance: In an analysis of data from the collision repair shops in the U.S. with which Enterprise conducts business, the national industry average LOR was 11.5 days, Gold Class shops averaged just 10.2 days, an 11 percent improvement. Further, the top 500 Gold Class LOR performers turned those repairs around in only 7.9 days, or a 31 percent improvement. Isolating the 100 top-performing Gold Class shops, the average LOR drops to 6.5 days for a 44 percent improvement. This latest analysis is nearly identical to early 2015 findings, and is also supported by third party CynCast’s single-value scorecard, known as the Shop Performance Value (SPV) rating, which previously showed that Gold Class businesses had an average rating of 405 compared to 268 for non-Gold Class shops; a full 51 percent difference.
“Our goal is to help the industry understand the critical need for training, the benefits of training and that today’s I-CAR is not yesterday’s I-CAR,” Van Alstyne said. “We offer a fresh and relevant curriculum, the latest technical information through our Repairability Technical Support (RTS) Portal, and a total solution that in the face of the Technical Tsunami helps our industry perform complete, safe and quality repairs – while ultimately helping to improve business performance and reduce liability.”