At Mike’s Auto Body, It’s Not “Slow” Time…It’s Go Time! While many “essential” businesses are closing their doors and furloughing or laying off many of their employees, Mike’s Auto Body is using this time to “re-build, re-energize and refresh” in several areas to become a better company as a result.
When the pandemic passes (and if you know the exact date, please let us know) Mike’s will be in a prime position to continue at a high level without missing a beat by aggressively pursuing training for its estimators, technicians and painters, as well as some managers and other front office personnel.
Mike’s Director of Marketing Dane Dearlove is playing an integral role in the training piece of the plan along with Region Manager Jason Toner. “We will be a better and stronger company across the board after this whole thing is in our rearview mirror,” Dearlove said emphatically. “A lot of our people are going to be able to focus on OE training and other forms of education to enrich themselves during this period. So, we have decided as a team to pursue things with a focus on improving processes and training is one of the best ways to achieve that. If we want the team to be better, we need to keep all of the players together, like we always say, ‘One Team, One Mission.’”
Mike’s Director of Training Lupe Algood is taking the panic out of the pandemic for his apprentices and mentors by keeping them busy and productive while enabling them to enhance their skills. “We are upgrading, servicing, and painting a lot of our equipment,” he said. “That way, we will be ready when we get back to our normal production schedules. Our students and techs are focusing on getting better and are using this unique opportunity to get it done.”
Mike’s is offering a wide range of different training programs to its employees and trainees, led by Dearlove, Toner and Algood. “We are doing all of our I-CAR Gold training right now, so that all of our people will maintain their certifications,” Dearlove said. “At Mike’s, we pride ourselves on maintaining an I-CAR Gold status at all of our 17 locations. In today’s world of collision repair where cars and processes evolve rapidly, we need to stay on top of it so that we can continue to serve our customers and maintain our status with I-CAR.”
Region Manager Jason Toner also sees significant value in pushing training during these uncertain times. “We are meeting with all of our estimators (wearing face masks and sitting six feet away, of course) and focusing on what all of our insurance partners require,” Toner said. “We are always working on enhancing our estimating processes so that we can continually get high KPI scores. We want all of our estimators to be the most knowledgeable in the industry and that requires intense ongoing training to achieve that.”
Other training that Mike’s Auto Body is facilitating for its employees includes Air Conditioning EPA Section 609 Certification. The Section 609 of the Federal Clean Air Act requires technicians who service motor vehicle air conditioning “MVAC” systems or handle freon to be certified. This includes repairing, leak testing, and topping off of air conditioning systems low on refrigerant as well as any other repair to that requires the dismantling any part of the air conditioner.
In addition, Mike’s is providing PPG training for technicians who want to master the proper use of all PPG color tools, color theory and its practical application in matching and tinting if necessary. Hands-on exercises provide the technician with practical tinting experience. Certified technicians are recertified to the next level for which they are eligible upon successfully completing this program.
“We provide this training for both our painters and our preppers and it covers a lot,” Dearlove said. They learn about things like color perception, color theory, color plotting, understanding the formula, types and methods of color adjustment as well as hands-on tinting and blending exercises. There are so many new products out there now like colored clearcoats, pearls and more three-stage systems, we need to continually learn about all of them and how we can use them to provide a superior finished product.”
Another series of training classes that our technicians and estimators will take during this slow period will be Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) seminars provided by TechZone, a diagnostics company located in Concord, CA has been providing technical services for Mike’s Auto Body for the past 14 years. fastest-growing automotive electronics segments in the world.
ADAS refers to a combination of electrical systems that are focused on automating and improving all of the vehicle’s other systems to ensure better, safer driving. It includes a mix of 12 technologies that primarily work using three types of sensors: RADAR, LiDAR, and CAMERA
TechZone President Matt Patterson and his team of experts will conduct the training. “As automotive technology changes all the time, we need to move quickly to stay ahead of the curve and ongoing ADAS is the most important technology out there right now,” he said. “By staying on the cutting-edge and learning as much as they can when it comes to airbags and ADAS, the techs and Mike’s are positioned to ongoing success.”
As the pandemic clears and peoples’ lives slowly return back to normalcy, Mike’s Auto Body will be in a very good place, with a business that is pristine from top to bottom and with some of the best-trained people on the planet.