Change is inevitable in any industry, and the car business is no exception—you know that. After all, you probably didn’t drive a Model T to work this morning. And yet, it’s easy for even seasoned shop managers and owners to feel a little off kilter as vehicles with new and different materials and technologies continue to come off the assembly line. To help, we’ve put together a few tips for keeping up with it all. And keeping your balance.
1. Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of the Industry
In order to hear what’s coming next, you have to tune in. Subscribe to industry publications. Follow them on Twitter. It’s a good idea to attend local and national trade shows, too. Changes in the auto industry typically don’t happen overnight. When you’re aware of long-terms trends, updates to laws, etc., it will be easier to spot the changes that will affect you from farther out.
2. Encourage a Culture of Learning
Knowing there will always be fluctuations in the industry, regular training and education should be a given. Build it into your budget every year, and be ready to add a little more to that line item when major changes hit. Relying on outside educators takes some of the burden off your shoulders, too. When you plan on periodic training with a trustworthy partner, you can rely on them to provide some of the insights you might not have time to keep up with.
3. Be Ready with the Right Collision Repair Tools
It’s wise to dedicate a portion of your budget to regular tool updates, and not just for the inevitable worn out equipment. You should plan to buy the right tools to handle the newest materials and techniques, too. That way, when you start to see the trends you’ve been keeping up with come to life, you’ll be ready. See “How to Keep Up with Body Shop Tool Updates,” for more tips on keeping your technicians well-equipped.
4. Be Willing to Add to Your Roster
Often you can strengthen your team by providing great training and good management, but sometimes you need to think more carefully about the skillsets on your team – now and in the future. Will a class help your techs get up to speed on aluminum welding, or do you also need to hire someone with that experience? With the promise of new materials, more efficient manufacturing methods, autonomous cars, and more, it’s wise to evaluate your team from time to time and decide if it makes sense to bring in some new employees with different knowledge.
No one knows the future, but with the right information, you can make a pretty educated guess. When you’re prepared for what comes next, changes don’t seem like such an ordeal.