May 1 is also known as May Day, and “May Day!” was a dominant theme for attendees of the recent Mike Anderson seminar put on through WMABA at the LKQ Training Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. With his usual boisterous and take me as I come or leave me personality, Mike gave attendees more than they bargained for. He says what needs to be heard without judgment, but instead with warning. Safety is his number one priority, and he wants every pair of ears to hear how vehicle technology is changing everything we know about collision repair processes.

Opening with The Rules, he first warns attendees to not mistake his passion for arrogance. Then it’s not too long after they figure out why; he asks for an audience “Amen!” for agreement similar to a high-strung preacher. His presentation is nothing short of refreshingly eye-opening.

“My goal was for everybody to understand that it’s important for us to still focus on cycle time – and I understand why people focus on severity – but safety needs to be more important than all of that. Whether you’re a DRP or non-DRP, when that customer chooses you to fix the [vehicle], they’re saying, ”I’m choosing you to fix my car because I trust you to look out for my best interest and do things the way they’re supposed to be done.’ Sometimes, shops take that too lightly; they don’t take it as seriously as they should.”

Covering everything between the definitions of required or recommended for reimbursement, to estimating for weld burn damage, there was something for everyone. Mike’s approach is to give tools and methods for learning, rather than giving quick fixes that fizzle or change over time.  Instead, he focuses on the long-term solution of student-initiated learning and adaptation.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of what it takes to fix a car properly. I don’t mean that disrespectfully; it’s just that the industry is changing so fast that it takes a lot to keep up on things today. You really have to spend time on training. There are times when I do classes where you have a lot of naysayers [who say], ‘This will never work.’ But I didn’t sense any of that negativity; people seemed to be like, ‘Yeah, I got it. I understand it and I can do it.’”

If you didn’t make the meeting, there are several FREE websites or products Mike wants you to know about: – FREE! The Database Enhancement Gateway is the repairers’ tool for asking estimating database questions about missing part numbers, missing or inaccurate labor times, or p-page questions. This underutilized tool is a big reference for all things estimating. – FREE! Mike’s website has all the forms, links and tools that he covers in all of his seminars, free to download. So, what are you waiting for?! – FREE! Missing labor operations? How would you know? This website will go over your entire estimate and point out operations that you have not included. Another free tool in getting a more accurate estimate. – FREE! This website is great for looking up OEM schematics for parts ordering. Missing brackets, hardware, additional parts are common, and this is a way to get your estimate more accurate up front.

Other prominent “products” Anderson discusses are the ASTech Tool that acts as an online factory scan tool for repairers to check the vehicle prior to repair, and just before delivery. Something he deems an absolute necessity with today’s vehicle technologies that need calibration or factory resetting.