IBIS ME 2019 hailed a huge triumph

The sixth IBIS Middle East conference met new heights of success in Dubai on 12 and 13 March by bringing together an impressive group of automotive crash repair industry leaders from across the Gulf countries. The event gave them the unique opportunity to network, make new contacts and share experiences with each other – something which, given the current market conditions, is crucial for addressing key issues and clearing up concerns over the prevailing challenges faced by the region’s aftermarket industry.

Delegates had the chance to break the ice and get to know each other socially the night before at the welcome drinks reception and buffet at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre.

IBIS Middle East 2019 started the following morning with the valued support of  lead partner Axalta and partners Audatex, 3M, Al Mazroui Paints, Spanesi and Automechanika Dubai. Each sponsor had an exhibition stand in the hospitality area which became a hubbub of conversation over breaks and lunch.

The key focus of the conference was on strategic sustainability – how we connect people, processes and partnerships in order continually to improve performance and meet common goals such as increasing productivity and reducing emissions, energy use, and waste.

More than 130 delegates were present, representing car manufacturers, automotive suppliers, service providers, insurance companies, public authorities, experts and influencers.

Jason Moseley, CEO of IBIS opened up the proceedings before handing over to the conference moderator, Robert Snook. Robert set the scene by talking about the challenges facing the Middle East market, drawing on his own has extensive experience in the collision repair industry as a former director of both corporate and private companies and owner of four businesses of which one is a multi-award winning bodyshop group in the UK.

The first speaker was Fran Cush, award winning stylist and designer and graduate of The Royal College of Art. Fran has had an outstanding career in motor sport, developing innovative solutions and designs for top Formula 1 car manufacturers. Fran shared his vision for how he sees the car industry evolving and changing in the foreseeable future. He presented a series of futuristic projects and prototypes which will influence transportation as we know it. This included the rise of EVs and the new ways in which transport is moving towards becoming a service (peer-to-peer car sharing, for example) and yet in spite of these new trends Fran showed that the aftermarket industry is still projected to grow even more.

Vitali Bielski, principal consultant for mobility at Frost & Sullivan, led the second insightful and informative session and revealed the challenges and opportunities in the changing environment of the repair market in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). He gave a moderately positive forecast for 2020, when he says business will revitalize due to a slight recovery in vehicle sales. He ended his presentation with a series of recommendations which highlighted that mechanics and insurance companies are key influencers in the collision repair industry.

The highlight of the morning saw Jeff Smith sharing the “secrets of top achievers’ with the audience. Motivational conference speaker, trainer and business strategist, the most successful author of all time on KPI and business strategy, Jeff talked about what makes certain entrepreneurs and managers succeed in their business and achieve better results than others. He identified “being a good estimator” as one of the most valuable secrets and the most important skill, explaining that they make the difference between a good bodyshop and a great bodyshop.

After the networking lunch, Arnaud Agostini, regional managing director of Solera and Ibrahim Sammour, motor valuation expert, came together as part of the strategic partnership between Taqeem and Solera Group to lead a session entitled, ‘innovation through collaboration’. They focused on the use of technological innovations designed to squeeze out savings and efficiencies from the current insurance industry model. Topics covered included Saudi Vision 2030 and the role and objectives of the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers (Taqeem), vehicle damage assessment in KSA, development plans and Solera’s Digital Garage platform for KSA citizens. They also spoke about the estimation process, how to leverage the quality of repairs to improve process and cycle times and how all of this is benefiting the regional market. 

Okan Utkueri, senior executive in insurance from KoopHub, then took to the stage to describe in more detail the insurtech process, revealing relevant facts about the digitization of claims. Okan forecast that there will be a bigger change in the automotive industry in the next 5 to10 years than we’ve seen in the past 50 years. He explained how leveraging new technology, products or business models can transform the insurance value chain.

The last part of the conference was a moderated panel debate featuring Frederik Bisbjerg, insurance professional and business developer, Eman Mujali, deputy general manager, Bahrain National Insurance, James Muse, vice-president global refinish sales, Axalta, Jeff Smith, best-selling author and Mark Hayes, group aftersales director, Audi Volkswagen Middle East.

The successful IBIS ME 2019 ended with summary remarks from Robert Snook and a closing by Jason Moseley.

IBIS ME will be back again next year, as the brand continues to go from strength to strength. Market education is a must and IBIS is looking forward to expanding the discussion, both at IBIS 2020 and also through a number of smaller forums taking place this summer. We are committed to building a sustainable repair ecosystem and supporting all the players in the aftersales market.