Next Generation snuck in as one of the last industry gatherings for some time on Friday 13 March at Sydney’s Ovolo Hotel. Thank you to the event sponsors, iBodyshop, PartsCheck and BMW.
Kicking off with a delicious lunch, delegates gathered in the stylish hotel conference room. The first speaker was marketing supremo Kevin Spiteri of Menace that specialises in digital marketing. He’s also the author of I Just Want It To Work: A Guide to Understanding Digital Marketing and Social Media for Frustrated Business Owners, Managers and Marketers
Spiteri shared important marketing strategy information. The most obvious but often overlooked process of marketing is setting your objectives. What business do you want, what generates the best returns, are you looking to grow the businesses? It’s also important to not hop onto every platform. Another mistake is considering your marketing a cost rather than an investment. If you are investing do you have the time/epertise to do your own marketing and if not, why not pay an expert to do it for you?
Branding is important and your brand should look uniform on every platform from clothing to signage and online presence. Spiteri explained the difference between the primary audience that makes the decision and the secondary audience that influences the decision. He also detailed a businesses’ marketing assets and how to leverage the most sales and customer/potential customer interaction.
Next up Adam Davey from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust who offers overseas scholarships aimed at the automotive industry. The scholarships can pay for individuals to learn internationally for four to eight weeks - this editor is seriously thinking about applying for one.
Chad Buckley from Peter Kittle Toyota in Adelaide compared managing a family-owned business to running a dealer owned bodyshop and working in a completely different way. He outlined a completely different way of working which actually means a much better workflow, as dealerships demand much forecasting and detailed planning. Of course having dealer support makes many parts of the business that much easier with parts sales, the service centre, a tyre shop, detailing and vehicle transport.
Buckley’s fresh thinking includes set sales goals and budgets, holding people accountable, evaluating all staff and their potential, investing in people and culture and always seeking opportunities for improvement. The business is the first in South Australia to achieve I-CAR Gold Class and is OEM approved for both Toyota and Holden.
Covid-19 isn’t the only virus that could stamp on the brakes of your business. Cyber crime is on the rise and these business hijackers literally hold you to ransom. Nsure's Gerry Power and Rami Fahmy outlined the dangers and how you can protect your business. Power is the National Head of Sales for Emergence Insurance, the only specialist cyber underwriter in the Australian market.
It really was a chilling presentation and they were able to use the experience of one of their clients who is a collision repairer. Power explained the top five risks (number one is an insider threat) and how much malware costs businesses each year. Ways to protect your business include backing up religiously (cyber thieves threaten to destroy all of your data), software-based password management and to perform or outsource a security audit regularly.
The Internet of Things and the surge of artificial intelligence usage will be the next cyber battleground according to Power and human error and poor passwords will continue to be the major cause of cyber attacks.
We heard some fresh thinking from John Stokes from event sponsor PartsCheck. He took a very fresh approach to the subject and we were particularly impressed with his PartsCheck green trainers – so on brand. Steve O’Brien from sponsors iBodyshop showed how not using the latest tools in the marketplace to run your business efficiently was the opposite of fresh thinking and that you must always try new approaches to business improvement. Sponsors BMW were unable to attend as were a couple of other delegates as companies were already putting travel bans in place.
We did hear from two BMW repairers though, Glen O'Donnell from Macarthur Prestige and David Butler from Autohaus Prestige both in Sydney. While they detailed what they had to consider setting up new workshops they had some advice for the repairers in the room. Establishing strong relationships with OEM dealers was number one. Meeting all training and equipment requirements was another. And if repairers want to be approved by manufacturers or their dealers, customer experience should always be the focus and that quality repairs, customer experience and protecting their brand is paramount to OEMs.
Rob Mildenhall from Capricorn also talked about the vital importance of creating strategies to deal with recalibration and diagnostics in repairs.
The final presentation of the day was from is a seasoned business coach from Sarah Beth Cleaves of The Parramatta Business Network. Her session was all about team building and running a motivated team. She discussed communication intelligence and suggested introducing a line to divide positive and negative behaviour and thinking. She also suggested ways to combat staff whinging and negativity. There were strategies for weeding out different mindsets such as The Victim, The Rescuer and The Villain. Asking team members if their thinking is above or below the line is a great way to get them to re-evaluate their attitude.
Thank you to everyone who attended the Next Generation seminar. It was a privilege to be with so many motivated repairers who are positive about their future. Thank you again to the event sponsors PartsCheck, iBodyshop and BMW who were glad to support this group of ‘fresh thinking’ repairers.