IBIS MIDDLE EAST 2020 – event summary

REV-IT-UP!

IBIS Middle East revs up the Gulf

IBIS Middle East 2020 has been hailed a resounding success on every level. A record 190 delegates from the Gulf and around the world descended on Dubai on 11-12 February to hear valuable insight from high-profile speakers and to enjoy upgraded networking opportunities at the premier annual event for the region’s automotive collision repair industry.

The eighth running of the Middle East edition of the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS), held at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre, consisted of a series of interactive plenary sessions led by industry experts, punctuated by networking activities which included an informal supper on the first evening and a sit-down lunch on day two.

Even the arrival of some rare desert rain couldn’t put a dampener on the occasion and to the delight of lead partners 3M, Axalta and Hella Gutmann Solutions, delegate numbers were up 46 per cent over 2019. Each of the three main sponsors was able to showcase its sector in the accompanying expo alongside partners AG Cars, BASF, Kapci Coatings, Solera Audatex and Volkswagen Audi, plus IBIS global partners Automechanika, CESVIMAP, GiPA and WorldSkills.

The theme for IBIS Middle East 2020 was REV-IT-UP! The event’s content and core messages were designed to create an environment and understanding to help delegates connect, improve performance and increase productivity as they forge ahead in the coming 12 months.

The morning session was opened by IBIS Worldwide moderator Robert Snook before keynote speaker Adnan Al Hamadi unveiled plans by the United Arab Emirates Insurance Authority (IA) to install mandatory telematics devices in all commercial and public vehicles, including taxis. While the devices will remain optional for private cars “for the time being”, Al Hamadi said the IA was confident the system would save lives in the UAE “by reducing accidents and traffic violations and improving driver behaviour”.

Subhash Joshi of Frost and Sullivan then discussed trends in the Gulf region’s repair market, including a forecast drop of up to 30 per cent in the number of passenger car collisions by 2030 and a rise by up to US$3,000 (£2,300) per repair for ADAS-equipped vehicles.

Chadi Hayek of Hella Gutmann Middle East talked about embracing recalibration in collision repair and Marcos Malzone from Solera discussed artificial intelligence in estimating, before Yousef Abu Alaish of Arabian Automobiles, Jim Muse of Axalta and Stephen Samples of Audi Volkswagen Middle East represented the ‘manufacturer perspective’ in a panel discussion, during which Muse suggested: “Wherever you travel in the world it becomes clear that all [collision repair markets] are at variant stages of the same journey.”

Immediately following lunch Jeff Smith – ‘The KPI Guy’ – debated the art and science of workshop loading and how to boost profits, before IBIS CEO Jason Moseley interviewed WorldSkills Kazan competitor and MET technician Abdulaziz Essa Buabdulla.

The final panel session of the day, focusing on insurance, saw Eman Mojali of Bahrain National Insurance take the stage together with Francisco Javier Alfonso Peña of CESVIMAP and Dr Mohammad AlSuliman of NAJM in Saudi Arabia.

“For NAJM and from an insurance company perspective, safety comes first,” Dr Mohammad said. “And insurance is a huge part of road safety. It’s part of the bodyshops, garages, parts, because if you have insurance unifying the platform they’re all utilising, you will get brilliant results – reducing cost, increasing efficiency and speed, and killing off [insurance] fraud.”

To close out the day, moderator Snook, expressed a desire to see real change in place by the time IBIS Middle East 2021 comes around, and then reminded delegates of the organiser’s 2020 vision and upcoming events, including IBIS USA (Jacksonville, 1-2 April), IBIS Africa (Johannesburg, 13 May), IBIS Global Summit (Monaco, 8-10 June), IBIS South America (Mexico, 22 July), IBIS Turkey (Istanbul, 21 October) and IBIS China (Shanghai, December).