AkzoNobel senior services group consultant Tim Ronak, who provides business consulting services to auto body shops, said the biggest change he sees shops dealing with is “technology.”

“It’s not just aluminum and dealing with aluminum and new vehicle construction regarding that as a material,” Ronak told Society of Collision Repair Specialists Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg in a SEMA floor video. “There are other materials. There are other methods of construction, and there are other technologies that they have to deal with.  All of this requires education and training.”

A lack of knowledge can have ramifications on the end product.

“The technology that they need to adapt to right now, a lot of the shops, they’re not looking at it, and they’re maybe making some repairs that they’re just ignorant as to how the proper repair is,” Ronak said. “It’s not malicious, it’s not something they’re doing intentionally. They just don’t know.”

A customer might bring in a car with a 5-star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rating — a score which the NHTSA proposes making even stricter, as well as adding a second 5-star grade for pedestrian protection. Repair without using the OEM’s methodology, and that rating could be in jeopardy, he said.

“What right does a repairer after the fact have to reduce that crash rating at all?” Ronak said. “They have an obligation to put it back to exactly the crash rating that the consumer paid for prior to the collision.”

The HABA Fall Conference is Monday, November 12th from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM at the Wyndham Houston West Energy Corridor at 14703 Park Row Drive. There is no cost to attend, but you must register in advance. Space is limited and filling up fast. Visit habamember.org/RSVP to register.