11/27/2018 by I-CARSince its inception in 1979, I-CAR has been a neutral, central resource for all segments of the collision repair industry. This has allowed I-CAR’s role to evolve from training provider to that of an education, information and solutions partner. The relationships that have been forged across the industry as a result of this position also contribute to the quality and depth of I-CAR’s offerings.
This legacy of collaboration ensures not only that the final training product or solution is relevant and meets the needs of the industry, but also that the impact I-CAR generates benefits all collision industry segments.
“The way we create, and then sustain, value for the Inter-industry is of course through our product and service offerings, but also through our relationships and collaboration model,” says Ann Gonzalez, I-CAR’s Vice-President—Strategic Development. “To remain relevant, we continuously maximize the resources and knowledge available to us, leveraging opportunities to better understand the needs of our different industry segments, and then evolving our programs and services to meet the rapidly changing demands on the industry.”
I-CAR’s treasure trove of collaborative input starts at the top, with all industry segments represented within I-CAR’s Board of Directors. To complement Board input, feedback is gathered from all segments through a formal structure of Industry Segment Advisory Councils (ISACs).
ISACs contribute immensely to the wealth of information available. This independent industry feedback—representing collision repair shops of all sizes and types, insurers, OEM technical councils, education, suppliers, and I-CAR volunteers/instructors— contributes to I-CAR’s development of accessible, relevant tools that benefit the industry.
At I-CAR’s Tech Center in Appleton, Wisconsin, an expert product development team creates the curriculum that provides collision repair shops education on the knowledge and skills needed to perform complete, safe, and quality repairs. The development process begins with the team soliciting input on crucial learning objectives from OEMs, repairers, insurers, suppliers, services, schools, and others with whom they have formed critical relationships.
Along with the product development team, the Appleton Repairability Technical Support (RTS) team hosts ongoing Repairability Summits, and meets with OEMs, tool and equipment makes, and other technical experts, all while managing the I-CAR.com/RTS portal, Ask I-CAR, and conducting ongoing research.
“Our teams in Appleton are true subject matter experts who provide technical repair information and services, often leading collaboration with other experts across the industry,” says Nick Notte, I-CAR Senior Vice President—Sales and Marketing. “An important distinction to make is that RTS services are not a substitute for OEM procedures…rather they support and complement them, providing tools and resources to the industry that offer additional technical clarity and value.”
Finally, I-CAR’s Sustaining Partner Program, launched in January, 2018, offers the ability to engage other inter-industry segments both in support of I-CAR and in the shared vision of ensuring complete, safe, and quality repairs. Funding from this program supports the continued efforts of I-CAR related to numerous industry initiatives, particularly those that contribute to sustainability across our industry.
In addition to doing the right thing for the industry and the consumer, Sustaining Partner contributions directly help to:
- Deliver curriculum to schools at no charge to support quality education for future talent development
- Over time, reduce the increasing cost demands on collision repair shops
All of these services help I-CAR in its neutral and central role of providing the information for complete, safe, quality repairs, and repair shops are taking notice with a goal of better serving their customers. In 2017, there was a significant increase in the number of shops engaging with I-CAR and achieving Gold Class® recognition for collision repair training. This increase, Gonzalez notes, could not be timelier, as the rapid pace of accelerating vehicle technology drives an increased need for training.
“The ‘Technical Tsunami’ is real, and it is upon us,” Gonzalez says. “The complexity of vehicles today drives a more complex repair, which makes I-CAR’s central role just as important as it was back when the industry created us. We intend to continue to evolve to remain relevant and provide services to the industry that support our vision and mission.”
Editor’s Note: For nearly 40 years, I-CAR has relied on industry input and collaboration to remain ahead of the curve and relevant for all customers. Now, in the midst of the Technical Tsunami™of advanced and complex vehicles, this feedback is more relevant than ever before. That’s why I-CAR is raising the knowledge and skills bar which, in turn, is driving all of the new PDP enhancements. To learn more, visit I-CARTraintoGain.com.”