Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Email: sarahbruce@ara.bc.ca
Phone: 604-432-7987

ICBC’s New Ranking System: an Opportunity for Industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years, the ARA has encouraged its members to prepare and position themselves as leaders in the industry. The ARA’s Certified AutoGlass Service and Certified Collision Repair Programs, developed in 2015, are examples of this. These programs have given industry the opportunity to demonstrate through independent assessment that they are properly equipped and trained to repair today’s modern vehicles. As a result, more than 125 glass and collision shops have become certified through the ARA.

The intent of the new ICBC ranking system, introduced in January, is not to hinder shops, but rather to recognize a standard of excellence shops can hold themselves to. As vehicle complexity increases, industry has needed to develop new techniques and tools to correctly and safely perform repairs. If repairs are not performed to OEM specifications, not only is the performance of a vehicle at risk but so too is the safety of the driver and those they share the roads with.

“Minister Eby’s office asked industry to work with ICBC in order to develop solutions to some of the problems the Corporation facing,” said ARA President and CEO Adrian Scovell, explaining how the ARA was instrumental in helping to develop this new system. “We worked with ICBC’s industry representatives, had a number of chairs at the table, and helped advise them as to how the industry is working, what’s coming in the future, and how to set that up properly for the future. Overall, I think this is a winning program. Minister Eby is looking to repair ICBC and this is an example of industry and ICBC working together to meet that requirement.”

Additionally, an Industry Advisory Council (a committee of 15 from industry and the ARA) assisted ICBC with developing the ICBC repair program concepts. These concepts were then reviewed with the glass and collision industry over a series of nearly 80 meetings throughout the province. The new program will see collision and glass shops categorized into three tiers based on performance. And while some shops may be resistant to these changes, the reality is, as technology advances, so do repair procedures, and shops need to either evolve or risk being left behind.

Some in industry have argued that the new ranking system favours only large or chain operators that have the financial backing to invest in new products and equipment required to service and repair modern vehicles. However, many small, locally-owned shops are also making the necessary investments. Northline Collision in Smithers, a community in northern B.C. with a population of around 5,000, is one such example.

Owner Dave Onderwater saw early on what it would take to succeed and worked hard to achieve Certified Collision Repair + Aluminum status through the ARA. By achieving certification, Northline Collision is recognized for employing superior business practices and acquiring the tools, equipment, and training required to work on today’s complex vehicles. Dave admits that while the financial commitment of upgrading was not easy, it was necessary in order to continue providing accurate and safe repairs for his customers.

The ARA wants its members to succeed and supports them by offering management training through performance groups, and business solutions through a variety of preferred suppliers. If shops are utilizing their membership benefits, networking with peers, and engaging in the various meetings and open discussions the ARA offers, they should be better positioned to achieve top tier status in the new ranking system.

Decisions made now will determine the automotive industry’s future. See this ranking system not as a challenge but as an opportunity to grow. If you have not already done so, it is time to invest in whatever it takes to be the best. If you do not, you are not only risking the future of your business, you are potentially risking the safety of the motorist whose vehicle you repaired.