DuPont SMART Seminars Mark 15 Years, 15,000+ Students

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WILMINGTON, Del., June 13, 2005 – Fifteen years ago, DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC) introduced a one-day seminar titled “Building Your Business for the ’90s and Maximizing Your AOQ Investment.”

That rather cumbersomely-named course was designed strictly for shops in the DuPont Assurance of Quality program. But it soon spawned a series of shop management seminars that are open to all shop owners and managers and which have set new standards for the industry.

“Building Your Business . . .” soon was followed by SMART One. The SMART acronym stands for Shop Management and Real-world Technology. Today, there are six, one-day seminars in the SMART series, and in keeping with their name, each addresses a real world challenge of managing a modern auto body repair shop.

The seminars are: SMART Cycle Time, which concentrates on productivity and profit; SMART Damage Analysis, which teaches appraisers the diagnosis and documentation skills needed to write a complete and accurate estimate; SMART Money III, which covers financial measures needed to run a healthy and progressive business; SMART Human Resource Management, which examines ways to motivate employees to drive productivity; SMART Sales, which focuses on how to convert more walk-in customers into repair orders; and SMART Marketing, which teaches owners and managers how to drive customers to their shop.

Taught by experienced industry experts, all of the seminars have been approved for 16 credits each by Automotive Management Institute (AMI), the training wing of the Automotive Services Association. In fact, in August of 1995, SMART One became the first course from a paint manufacturer to receive approval by AMI. Students apply the credits toward the Accredited Automotive Manager designation. All the Seminars except SMART Sales and SMART Marketing – for which approval is pending – have been approved for I-CAR Gold Points.

Since 1990, more than 15,000 students have attended SMART Seminars held throughout the United States and Canada. “We’ve been gradually increasing the number of seminars, and we’re currently conducting about 100 annually,” said Steffen Apollo, DPC training director. “They have proved extremely valuable both to our body shop customers and our jobbers who sponsor the training. It’s a unique opportunity for our distributors to bring first-class training to their customers at a convenient location and time. The seminars provide students with tools that can be implemented immediately to increase productivity, improve overall efficiency and build employee competency. And that benefits both the shop and the jobber.”

Students are almost universally enthusiastic about what they learn in the one-day sessions. CarQuest, a DPC jobber in Hazeldell, Wash., often sponsors SMART Seminars. Toby Taylor, the PBE manager said, “Our customers value the seminars, and they have greater value for us. They come out of the seminars totally pumped up.”

Troy Lindquist, owner of Premier Auto Body and Paint in Redmond, Ore., took SMART Money recently. “I needed help to understand my shop numbers and SMART Money and Hank Nunn [SMART facilitator and sales manager] did just that,” said Lindquist. “I couldn’t wait to get back to the shop, use the spread sheets, and plug in our numbers. It was incredible.”

Shops and jobbers throughout the country are improving their business acumen and their bottom lines through SMART Seminars. Information on the seminars is available by calling 1-800-338-7668, prompt 6, prompt 1 (U.S.), or 1-800-668-6945, prompt 4 (Canada).
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