Auto Service World
Feature   June 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

BODYSHOP NEWS: Bodyshops Failing To Meet Training Goals

Challenge particularly acute for smaller shops

A survey of bodyshops has revealed that 40% of shops spent no money on training last year and those which did invest spent an average of less than $1,500.

The survey, conducted late last year by KPMG, is the first component of a comprehensive human resource study of the collision repair industry being conducted by Human Resources Development Canada in partnership with the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA). The survey covered many aspects of the structure and forces affecting the bodyshop market.

Regarding training, however, the survey found that of the 60% who did have training expenditures, 69% of those shops spent less than $2,500. Another 21% spent between $2,500 and $5,000. The estimated average spending across all bodyshops with training expenditures was $1,485.

Industry segments where shops were most likely to have higher rates of training expenditures were auto dealers (average spending of $3,867), company owned or consolidated network shops ($2,704), and franchisees ($2,540). Independent shops with sales below $200,000 had the lowest rate of spending on training (only 37%). Amongst those smallest shops that did spend on training the estimated average expenditure was $592.

Nearly two thirds of the shops (64%) reported that one or more of their employees had received some form of work-related training during the last year. The survey shows that refinishing and structural repair training are the most frequently demanded. Rates of participation (i.e., highest average numbers of participants per shop) are highest for training on health and safety practices, and shop environmental compliance.

Demand for business management and related training is much lower than the demand for technical training, both in terms of the number of shops providing training and the average numbers of participants.

The average numbers of participants per shop for the various types of technical training ranged between 1.6 and 3.9. Training that was applicable across most employees (e.g. shop environmental compliance and shop health and safety practices) attracted higher numbers of participants per shop. More specialized training, such as damage analysis and estimating, or computer systems and software for use in repair work–attracted fewer. The pattern was similar for training related to business management, except the numbers of participants per shop were lower, from 1.3 to 1.9.

The findings point to a serious challenge for the collision repair industry. A significant proportion of the shops in the industry either spend nothing on training (40%) or do not arrange for their employees to receive training (36%). This finding, however, is consistent with the earlier findings regarding the small scale and low revenues of many shops, and competition for marketshare amongst shops.

It is apparent that many shops either cannot afford to fund training or are not in a position to release employees to undertake training.

Expenditures on training by the 60% that do fund it are also relatively low, with the average amount spent ($1,485) being equivalent to 0.4% of the average revenue per shop across all shops.

The main focus for training is on refinishing, structural repair and non-structuring repair work, which is consistent with an industry that is having to respond to a continuing rate of technological innovation in both the vehicles they work on and the methods used for vehicle repair. At the same time, however, a wide range of other types of training–both technical and business management–are in demand.

According to the study, the challenge for the industry and its suppliers of education and training is how to design and deliver a wide array of training programs in a manner that is cost- and time-effective for the collision repair industry’s many small and medium-sized shops.

AADCO and Boyd Group Forge Alliance

AADCO inc. and The Boyd Group have established a strategic alliance for used parts supply and acquisition, as well as future technology development.

The alliance, which will take effect on July 1, 2000, will focus initially on the purchase of used parts from AADCO’s dismantling operation and progress to shared development of information technology. AADCO and Boyd will deliver efficiencies to each other’s operations and contribute to communication capabilities with their respective customers.

AADCO’s Internet delivery system will allow the placement of advance orders, which in turn, sets priorities for purchases and its dismantling process.

The Boyd Group alliance will support AADCO’s mission to be the definitive source of services, products and information for the car and truck owner through affiliation or ownership of the finest product, service and information providers.

The Boyd Group Inc. is the largest operator of collision repair shops in Canada and is among the largest in North America. It operates 52 company-owned locations and licenses eight additional locations under its trade names.

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