Challenge creating value

Andrew Marsh, director of Auto Industry Insider, told IBIS Global Summit 2018 delegates to embrace the new automotive technology era because it will create much value.

In his session, ‘Profit from… automotive industry chaos’ Andrew provided a highly energised vision of the collision repair industry now and into the future and encouraged delegates to ‘embrace’ electronics, software, system networks, big data, new commercial partners, recruit or invest accordingly and, in his own words, ‘above all: enjoy.’

Andrew opened his session with an overview of the rapid advancement of vehicle construction including structural composition and electronic features including ADAS which he referred to as a vehicle’s ‘defence’ system.

‘This industry is specific,’ he told delegates as he explained how mainstream vehicles can be defined by eight pages of documentation providing ‘blocks’ of information. He pointed out that long lists of technology are becoming the norm but ‘state of the art is moving really quickly,’ said Andrew.

Looking at vehicle construction, Andrew highlighted how panel has become a commodity – however, he issued a warning that ‘those skills need to be kept alive’.

With this, he pointed to the ever-increasing complexity of repair highlighting a host of calibration points including the potential for lidar, radar and camera fitments both front and rear of a vehicle. ‘A vehicle could have all of these systems fitted or could have none of it fitted – we really don’t know until it lands in a collision repair centre,‘ said Andrew.

Discussing the variety of sensors, Andrew highlighted three groups: those from 2000 onwards which require static recalibration; those from 2008 onwards which need dynamic recalibration; and those from 2017 onwards which are self-calibrating. ‘Self calibration is where vehicle manufacturers need to go because when it becomes standard they need to be capable of covering it with a warranty,’ said Andrew.

Andrew referenced how the ‘tool room’ approach is becoming increasingly critical to repair/recalibration tasks – correct procedures, necessary space, time and correct tooling being the key aspects for repair in the future. ‘Until we get to self-calibration, the methods are skewed and scattered,’ said Andrew.

‘As a future trend we will see more sensors per vehicle,’ said Andrew, ‘but due to a lack of consistency in technology and fitment there is no one standard of how to recalibrate the systems. We have a significant pool of vehicles already within the market that will require ‘expertise’ to facilitate a safe and efficient repair. This, he suggested, was where the value would lie for profitable businesses in the future.

‘Moving towards 2030, self-calibration will come and come quickly, but it leaves a gap,’ explained Andrew. ‘We need to educate ourselves and become the go-to industry for this expertise – become the one stop service provider,’ said Andrew. ‘We need to recruit and invest accordingly and become that hub of expertise for the future.’

The IBIS Global Summit 2018 is partnered by 3M, AkzoNobel, Audatex, Axalta, Enterprise Rent A Car, Fix Auto and Symach.