Over 150 delegates attended our L!VE conference on 17 November at HOTA on the Gold Coast to listen to inspiring and informative presentations. 

We flew our keynote speaker Dave Shepherd out from the UK (thanks to sponsors Total Hail Solutions and AAMG) and it was a journey well made. Shepherd talked about his journey as a panel beater, shop owner and multi-site operator and his time at Solera. He talked about how Apple's success was about the vision for the company and when they strayed from that vision they weren't successful. He examined the career of the famous 80s Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca and how he strayed from his core strengths and became arrogant and wrapped up in celebrity.  Chrysler ultimately suffered for this. The message was clear - bold strategies will secure your future if you stay true to your vision.

Shepherd shared the Solera principles that guided their actions and behaviours:Think 80/20; Act 30/30 reassigning under utilised resources and staff and Live 90/10. The 80/20 is the Pareto principle which states that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes and is a way of identifying what you should focus on in your business. He discussed the changes in the industry and finished with saying that we are not inspiring people to join it. 

Next up and also from the UK was a fascinating presentation by Dean Lander and Karen Jakes of Thatcham Research (thanks to Suncorp for bringing them over). It was full of statistics about how Australia is tracking compared with the UK in terms of automotive technology adoption. Lander talked about different battery technologies and about the issues surrounding hydrogen powered vehicles. Lander also touched on Level 4 autonomy and how vehicle manufacturers had already released cars that could self drive but that they weren't insured to do so. The debate is raging as to if the car has an accident while the driver doesn't have 'control' who is at fault, the driver or the manufacturer of the car?

David Pickett from Volvo took to the stage next with another informative presentation around the history of safety and the work that Volvo has carried out in this field with many videos of cars crashing in case anyone was getting sleepy. They weren't and you could have heard a pin drop in the room during the presentation. 

The morning session finished with a panel session moderated by Rob Bartlett from SupplySide discussing the issues of EVs from an insurer perspective. George Manos from IAG and Brett Wallace from Suncorp were joined by Dean Lander from Thatcham Research. While it was identified that EVs are a small proportion of the vehicle parc Manos and Wallace talked about what their companies were doing to ensure that their policies and employees were informed around EV repair.

After the lunch break Rob Bartlett founding director of the Australian Collision Industry Alliance (ACIA) talked about the progress the alliance was making in terms of membership and plans going forward. He also announced that ACIA has just signed its first Platinum industry partner, Suncorp.

The final panel of the day was moderated by Ben Fewtrell of Max My Profit. Three collision shop owners discussed their bold strategies. Aaron Scagliotta of Reneew Collision Repair in WA was honest about how setting up and staffing Australia's first purpose-built EV shop was a nail biting experience. Ian Kippen from Bissell's Paint and Panel in Noosa shared the journey of switching to a four day work week and the many benefits that resulted including 20% more productivity and profit. Lana Pagiamtzis from Fix Auto Mulgrave was very bold in buying an ailing repair shop with no background in the industry and for being the first ever Fix Auto franchisee. 

Thanks to our L!VE sponsors who supported the event. Our Platinum sponsor iBodyshop, our Gold sponsors AMA Group and AAMG and our Silver sponsor Total Hail Solutions and Bronze sponsor NDRA.


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