In 2013 Northern ARC, a member of the Standox international independent British bodyshop network Repanet, and its partner, Ford dealership OMC Ford, decided they would like to get a more accurate overview of their refinishers’ skills. They approached Standox and together they came up with a skills assessment competition.
Between November 2013 and the end of January 2014, a total of twenty refinishers at Northern ARC’s four sites and OMC Ford’s 2 sites based in West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, are undertaking an onsite assessment. This will analyse their performance during a normal working day.
Andy Beswick, co-owner of Northern ARC, explains, “Ninety percent of our staff is already fully ATA accredited, but an examination environment is quite different from a working environment. While we can appraise our staff ourselves, we know that this can be quite subjective, which is why we decided to seek outside help. We have worked exclusively with Standox since we opened in 2000 and have always had fantastic service from them with lots of back up. It made sense to discuss this idea with them.”
Jodie Henly, Standox brand specialist in the UK, said, “We were delighted when Andy approached us with this fascinating project. We suggested an onsite skills assessment in the form of a competition. Once the assessments have been completed, four semi-finalists will be chosen and they will take part in a two-day ATA course at our training academy. This is purely for the purposes of the assessment and in order to see which refinisher is going to win the competition. The fact many of them already have their ATA accreditation doesn’t really impact on the overall process. The winner will receive £500 and the runner up £250, with Standox goodie bags going to the other semi-finalists.”
The entrants, who range in age from 22 to 63, are each being assessed by a Standox technical specialist who monitors them closely throughout a full working day in Northern ARC’s bodyshops. All aspects of their work are being judged, from a new panel being fitted to the final polish. An in-depth analysis is then prepared by Standox outlining any specific training gaps that are identified. This needs-training will be carried out off-site in the new year.
With the assessments underway, Beswick is already delighted with the results. He says, “we thought that testing our painters work practices in a more structured and formal way would give us a far greater understanding of the processes and areas that may need addressing. We wanted to see if improvements could be made in paint application and overall efficiency. The assessments are already giving us a lot of useful information. It’s an interesting experience and we’re delighted that we’ve undertaken it with Standox.”