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Giving Thanks for 2012

Always in the last couple months of the year we reflect on what happened over the course of the year and where we want to go from here. For WMABA, it is not only an individual reflection on my part, but one of the entire organization and our membership. Each year I feel as though we’ve come a long way on some issues, and others still need a big swift kick in the pants. This year is no different.

First, I’d like to look back on a sad time for our industry. The loss of Dave McBroom of Sunbeam Auto Body in Florida, who also was the head of the Florida Collision Industry Alliance and leader of the charge for information on the State Farm-PartsTrader issue, is a weighing regret for many people as well as me. Dave was a dear friend of mine, and someone with whom I shared many wins and defeats with for our association. Not just a staunch industry supporter, he was also a retired military officer and community activist for multiple charitable organizations. The world will miss him greatly.

The State Farm-PartsTrader issue has sucked up much of this year. The waiting for advancements [good or bad] is what feels like an eternity. I feel like we’re out hunting the big buck and have been stuck in a tree stand with binoculars for weeks with only a glance of the random wild turkey. But man, if that buck shows his face, I’m gonna shoot him! How the analogy fits is more tuned to any insurer-mandated program.

It really is primary that the “PartsTrader” issue isn’t with PartsTrader at all, but with insurers requiring particular vendors for a service. The repairer should always have the right to work with whatever vendor they choose, either computer programs or parts or paint or anything else. I still believe that even a DRP agreement should never impede on this basic business right.

In addition to the issues at hand, WMABA had a really successful year with membership, the golf outing, and educational initiatives. It is really rewarding to see things that are strategically planned by our Board come to fruition in such a positive manner.

Participating at the SCRS Repairer Driven Education and attending the SEMA show, as well as the Collision Industry Conference, was invigorating. The amount of electronic information that is coming out in the weeks following shows just how important this event is in advancing our industry. Each year, the educational opportunities, the vendor offerings, and the participation by our industry just grows and grows. If you make one New Year’s Resolution, it should be to go next year.

Last, but not least, I am thankful for our members and those vendors who support us through thick and thin. We’ve had many new members this year, and with additional members we become stronger and have a stronger voice. I know that this coming year will be our best year ever.

– Jordan Hendler, Executive Director

 

By |December 31st, 2012|Categories: Executive Director, News|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Giving Thanks for 2012

Look Before You Leap

I’m sure by now you’re wondering with anticipation if the PartsTrader implementation is coming to our market and when. There’s been talk of it all year, and so far there hasn’t been anything more than swirls of smoke and nervous chatter. Unfortunately, as it stands right now there is no showing of State Farm coming off its course to see this pilot into finality.

Regrettably, the real issue is that State Farm won’t find a shortage of shops that are willing to get on [or back on] the Select Service program in spite of the potential ramifications they may face using the PartsTrader program. Because of the economic pressures and over capacity in our industry, this is the [seemingly calculated] perfect time for the insurer to strike. Also, there are an overwhelming number of shops who cannot survive in a non-DRP model and are already so engrossed in the program that really have no choice but to participate.

There is rumor that some of the shops put on the program in the pilot market(s) to replace those who got off were previously removed because of shoddy work. If that is true, then it is a sad day for State Farm. The policyholders they claim to be protecting by implementing this program are now potentially subject to questionable repairs. I’m sure if they were given the choice of a few dollars in premium and premium repairs, it would be a no-brainer. Truly, they are not even aware that this is going on and are not given a choice in the matter.

I want you to use the tear-out on page 50-51 to inform yourself and anyone you work with about what the potential issues with this program could be. It is your choice when the program gets here whether or not you participate. My hope is that you make the decision knowing all the options and problems you could face down the road.

The biggest concern I have is not whether or not a single repairer participates. It is when there becomes a majority in a market. That’s when State Farm will look at us, as they always have, and say that then ALL repairers in that market are expected to participate because it would be “fair and reasonable” to expect them to do what a majority has already been doing.

I’ve used the example of body labor prices for mechanical operations. Even though the guides say that certain operations are mechanical, the insurer has often mandated non-Select Service shops to only charge body labor because the majority in their market (mainly Select Service shops) are only charging that much. Taking advantage of paying less money to their program shops and pushing it on the others is something this company has already been doing in our area.

Why do you think they’re doing this? If you think it’s to improve the repairer efficiency, then you need to put the red Kool-Aid down and ask yourself one question: Why would you implement a program in your business? The […]

By |November 22nd, 2012|Categories: Executive Director, News|Tags: |Comments Off on Look Before You Leap

Rolling into 2013 in High Gear

With a new Board of Directors and the opening of the 2013 Labor Rate Survey, the excitement at WMABA just continues to grow. We’re closing out a productive 2012 with the expectations to have a very promising New Year.

It’s all in the comparisons.

With last year’s labor rate survey being the first, it was hard to fathom what the outcome would be. As we all waited on pins and needles for the results, we had high hopes and dreams for how this information could be utilized positively for the industry. When the data came in there was baited breath as each region was reviewed. The results we got met and exceeded our expectations. It was a collective sigh of relief and feeling of real accomplishment.

This go-around is another great feat because this time we’ll be able to….(wait for it….) COMPARE! It’s what we’ve been looking forward to throughout the entire process – where are we now and where are we going? To track our industry’s trends with relation to prices is a major achievement for the association and a huge benefit to our entire region.

As the survey opens in the first part of January, the key is to get the word out. All of the vendors will receive the notification that the survey is open and they have the opportunity to educate their customers about participation. Also, the shops that have already participated will electronically be notified and have the first chance to get their survey done.

It’s a proud moment for WMABA that this Labor Rate survey process has become a shining example of how associations can provide tools for the membership they serve.

Don’t take your eyes off Parts Procurement

With the start of the New Year, we are also reminded – even in this issue – about the continuing developments with insurance-mandated programs, and specifically in the parts procurement arena. Because you are seeing it so often, it is easy to feel like you’re seeing the same stuff. Don’t let it hypnotize you into letting your guard down!

Advancements are being made in pilot markets for the State Farm-PartsTrader program and there is no reason to think “it won’t come here”. In fact, it is just the opposite; you have every reason to think that it will. And you should plan in such a way that when it does come here you are educated and ready to decide how you want to deal with it.

Board of Directors Newbie

We are happy to continue working with the many folks who are dedicating their time to help the association move forward with its initiatives. With our recent election during the Fall Member Holiday Social (pg??), we added our newest Board member Mark Schaech, Jr.

I want to personally thank all of the Board members who have selflessly given of their time, energy and resources to make our association successful. I also thank Mark for having the courage to step up to a Board position for the year. We look forward to working with everyone to make […]

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Executive Director, News|Comments Off on Rolling into 2013 in High Gear