Fleetcare 2013 Conference

Fleetcare Approved Applicators

36 months since their first conference and the Fleetcare Network continues to grow stronger and perform better. This group of truck refinishers recently held their annual conference at Waiheke Island where they learned about crash investigation, paint science and business improvements. We went along to find out what's new and what's improved in the world of truck painting.

As with any business associated with the transport industry, change is inevitable and those that fail to change and move with the times open themselves up to failure. Keen to ensure the team that looks after some of the best looking trucks in the country is up to date and ready for the many and varied challenges, Resene Automotive and Light Industrial (RALI) guides and challenges their refinishing network to ensure their mutual success.

This year they chose to take the team out into the Hauraki Gulf to the quiet seclusion of Waiheke Island. The team were initially invited to the stunning 3M Head Office on Auckland's North Shore where they were briefed on 3M's business operation before being shown the latest paint application technology by Sagola.

After lunch it was a quick ride down town to park the cars and assemble at the ferry terminal for the short jaunt across the harbour. They were whisked away to the Cable Bay Winery where a most interesting presentation by Todd McCormack from NZ Crash Investigation (NZCI) described some of the challenges he faces as an investigator. His firm investigates crashes, auto-theft and auto fires. He is called in to determine the contributing and causative factors of a crash to assist in resolving employment issues, civil and criminal liability or for risk management purposes. His customers include: insurers, transport companies, lawyers and individuals.

He follows a systematic approach by investigating and ruling in or out the 4 primary causative factors including the environment, the roadway, the vehicle and the driver. One matter he covered extensively was witness reliability and perception.

Crash Analysis predominantly relies upon the physical evidence obtained from the incident scene and vehicles. It is a large field which takes account of physics, mechanics, engineering, human dynamics and the environment. Evidence is obtained and cross referenced with witnesses and driver statements, but it rarely relies solely upon human sources. The results are often used to provide answers to inconsistent driver and witness statements.

Next to speak was Alan Manning Territory Business Manager NZ and Tasmania from Axalta Coating Systems (previously DuPont Performance Coatings). Alan was able to give us an extensive overview of the company's size and resources and how that ties in with their supply arrangement in New Zealand. Given the size, scope and technical knowhow of the operation, New Zealand is very well served by this worldwide giant. He also offered options for an overseas Study Tour for the network in 2014, to visit Cromax Imron® end user Refinish sites for sharing and gaining industry information; truck shows to view new vehicles entering the marketplace and truck manufacturing sites (OEM) to learn about the products being used as Cromax Imron® paint technology is applied in more OEM factories that any other major paint brand.

The following day the team were addressed by a number of influential speakers. Greg Percival, Senior Chemist Resene Paints is a highly regarded and respected paint chemist nationally. He gave an interesting and informative presentation exploring their products, the need for preparation, application requirements, partnerships and people. There is a lot that can go wrong which is why so much time, energy and money is invested in ensuring the best possible outcomes under New Zealand's very unique and challenging conditions.

Neil Kench, ANZ Lean Six Sigma Coach from 3M NZ spoke next about business change using the Lean business improvement tools and methods. Lean is a proven systematic approach, supported by management. It is a business operating philosophy and set of proven tools and solutions to continuously improve business. The example he used to demonstrate the efficiency gains and cost cutting available for small improvements was fascinating.

Wayne Houghton, Performance Services Consultant for Axalta finished off the business session with a discussion around understanding the numbers in business. Wayne is highly experienced in this field running his own refinish business and his insight and tools were well appreciated by the group. Solid process was made by the team in working together on issues and benchmarking costs to aid the efficient running of the network group to ensure long term profitability.

His final quote was, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got," which is true of any business.

Saturday also saw the first partners program at the Network which included Art Galleries, Shopping and a Winery Tasting Tour at the beautiful Mudbrick Vineyard.

Once again the team at RALI turned out a thought provoking and entertaining programme. It is patently obvious that the Fleetcare Network is growing as a team with much closer interactions as the members trust in each other grows. This strengthening of the network and the team makes the Fleetcare Network one of the strongest and most cohesive refinishing groups in the country.

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