New year, new CCIF: Becoming a dynamic collision business in Toronto 

February 12, 2024

The largest gathering of collision industry stakeholders in Canada, CCIF Toronto, returned this past week. Collision repairers, insurers, dealers, suppliers and service providers got together at the International Centre in Toronto to collaborate, network, attend professional development sessions, and view new products and services at the Vendor showcase. 

People, process, and technology: How to become a collision repair powerhouse 

Starting off CCIF Toronto was a workshop, teaching attendees how they can become a strong collision repair business and have long-term business success. Presented by Adam Tolowitzki of OEConnection, this workshop provided attendees with insight on how they can simplify procedures and create a transparent, safe, and trustworthy work environment. 

“Ultimately, time is money. While it is a difficult task to research repair procedures, it is incredibly important, and you need to think about the safety of the vehicle. One of the keys to running a successful business is you need to match your expenses to your revenue.” 

Understanding the financial puzzle 

Jim Bethune of Bethune Consulting Services led this engaging session where collision repair shop owners gained financial insights, such as how to optimize cash management and learn about unique accounts receivable strategies for your business. 

“Be prepared with your financial reports. Not just at year end, but also quarterly. Quarterly reports will help you with your budgeting and forecasting. It is important to ensure those quarterly reports are 75 per cent to 90 per cent as detailed and accurate as your end-of-year financial statements are. The more detailed these reports are, the more prepared you are for a business sale. It can help demonstrate and prove that your business is making money and worth the sale pricing you are presenting.” explained Bethune. 

The evening closed with a networking reception and the Vendor showcase, where attendees had the opportunity to connect and see new and upcoming products and services. 

How to attract and retain top talent by cultivating a purpose-driven culture 

On the second day of CCIF Toronto, the day started with a session about how to attract and retain talent through having a positive and encouraging culture. Presented by Marie Artim of Enterprise Mobility, this session provided attendees with valuable knowledge on how businesses can create a professional environment that encourages growth and success, and how this, in turn, can help keep top talent working—and thriving—within the company. 

“The labour market is shifting, and how to attract and retain that talent is shifting. We need to find a way to deliver on candidate expectations. This can mean increased flexibility, such as allowing more time for a work life balance or schedule stability. The customer experience has also bled into candidate experience—we need to think about how we can provide that and stand out.” said Marie Artim 

Driving forward: Navigating the collision repair industry landscape 

Later in the morning, Jeff Labanovich of Leader Auto Resources and CCIF Steering Committee Chair, moderated a panel discussion about navigating the collision repair industry. Joined by Paul Stella of Toyota Canada, and Brian Chiu of Nissan Canada, audiences received insight on current challenges in the sector, how businesses can adapt, and how to work with advancements in the industry. 

“The EV revolution is here. Not all manufacturers are embracing EVs as part of their portfolio, but many are. The reality is, is that all vehicles, in some way, are becoming electrified. Precautions, safety procedures, and training needs to be available.” said Brian Chiu 

Collision industry trends 

As the collision industry transforms, more and more trends are emerging. Followed by a brief break, Ryan Mandell of Mitchell, an Enlyte Company, explored emerging trends in the industry and how OEMs and repair facilities can work together, and further navigating the changes and trends of the collision industry. 

“Canada is leading the EV market—in fact, Vancouver is the largest in North America. What we are seeing right now is that EV adoption continues to grow every single quarter. These vehicles are on the cutting edge of the complexity explosion. These EVs have so much technology, and as a result, there is more technological disruption potential. This is something to be aware of when repairing a vehicle to its pre-loss condition.” said Mandell. 

Ten ways to improve profitability 

After lunch, Steve Trapp of LEAP LLC led a session focusing on ten strategies to improve profitability. During this session, attendees discovered how to navigate challenges, optimize resource management, and ensure long-term business success by implementing best practices. 

“In Canada, the average cycle time is 18 days. What used to be eight days is now risen to 18—and this is not necessarily the fault of parts suppliers. If things are not tracked properly, such as warranty labour, this can cause delays. You need to get your numbers right. There needs to be a standardized way of doing that.” 

Electric vehicles: Safety and repair procedures 

To end CCIF Toronto, the final session focused on electric vehicles (EVs) and how to go about safety and repair procedures. Attendees learned the basic foundations of EV safety and how to identify issues when diagnosing and repairing an EV. Attendees also gained insight on EV repair information, the new procedures that an EV requires, and the EV Intake Process. 

“Regardless of your beliefs, EVs are coming. You will continue to see them more and more often. Before we work on these vehicles, we need proper safety equipment, and it needs to be tested. For example, gloves need to be professionally tested every six months to ensure there are no leaks, holes, or cracks—you may not be able to see these in a normal inspection. It is important to keep these different practices in mind.” 

See you in CCIF Montréal 

CCIF Toronto conference and vendor showcase was an incredible two days of sharing, connecting, and collaborating on industry trends, challenges, and new products. The busy presentations and workshops were a prime example as to why CCIF conferences are a valued event for learning and networking with collision industry professionals. 

Save the date—CCIF returns on September 19th and 20th, 2024, in Montréal.  


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