HD Repair Forum webinar addresses trucking automation, industry survey


Truck manufacturers are incorporating advanced driver assistance systems at an accelerated pace and semi-autonomous vehicles will be in service bays sooner than later and technicians need to be prepared, according to a HD Repair Forum (HDRF) webinar.

Recent proof of this is the announcement that Navistar and TuSimple have entered into a partnership to co-develop Level 4 self-driving semi-trucks, says Richard Bishop, president, Richard Bishop Consulting, during his portion of the webinar, entitled “Robots on the Road: Outlook for Automated Trucking.”

Bishop says businesses need to continue to evolve and embrace change. Preparing for the future starts with understanding trends and building a foundation within your business to adapt to the change. Investing in tooling, training and equipment will ensure businesses will be able to insure, estimate, repair and service the most modern vehicles.

Following Bishop’s presentation, TenPoint Complete President John Webb shared a subset of the results from the HD Repair Forum’s inaugural collision industry survey. Additional results are set to be provided in a future webinar.

“The goal of the survey is to provide benchmark data on the HD collision repair industry with the intent of expanding its content annually. The results included some surprising information on the current state of HD collision repairers,” says HDRF CEO Brian Nessen.

Eighty-seven percent of repairers surveyed stated, despite the pandemic, they felt positive about their business and prospect for the future. Conversely, 13 percent of respondents said their business was severely impacted by the pandemic. Although not shared on the call, this is in stark contrast to the automotive collision repair industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic, HDRF says.

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Another enlightening statistic pulled from the survey includes what can only be characterized as “great news” for progress in the industry. Less than 60 percent of the shops surveyed repair frame damage within their facility.

This presents a promising opportunity to educate the industry on the added value on-site frame repair can provide, HDRF says. As it relates to cycle time, it also highlights a problem and potential smoking gun within the industry. Could part of the reason for elongated cycle times be a byproduct of sublet repairs because so many collision shops do not have the ability to repair frame damage in-house?

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Another surprising statistic coming from the survey is the number of HD collision shops that do not use an electronic estimating system.

It’s alarming because most developed and mature industries have already come to wide-spread adoption of this type of technology, HDRF says. These statistics could be an indication that the industry is lagging with a lot of opportunity for growth and improvement.

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The HDRF continues to grow its reach and identify shops that offer heavy-duty collision repair. However, a challenge it and many others have faced in answering is “How many HD collision repair facilities are there?” Seventeen percent of shops surveyed don’t know who or where their competition is.

“We are committed to providing relevant and timely information to the heavy-duty collision repair industry. Our webinars are a natural extension of the annual event held in Fort Worth, Texas,” Nessen says.

Additional insight and other results from the study presented during this one hour webinar can be found by registering for the webinar on-demand and CLICKING HERE.

Episode two of this six-part series is scheduled for 11 a.m. CDT, Aug. 18. To register, CLICK HERE. Complimentary registration is made possible by the organization’s 2020 sponsors.

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