AW opens first Fast Finish centre

AW Repair Group’s first dedicated Fast Finish Centre is now in full swing and is the latest expansion project for the growing group.

Equipped and branded towards the end of last year, AW Fast Finish Centres (Denaby Main) utilises multi skilled technicians, smart techniques and tooling to achieve a one to two day turnround for small to medium repairs.

AW’s insurer partners have supported the concept and seen the benefit of vehicles being centrally triaged and proceeded through a separate, faster process, further reducing the overall cycle time and key to key, while still closely supported by the group’s main sites when necessary.

Andrew Walsh, Managing Director commented: “An opportunity arose for AW to open an alternative to the main stream Accident Repair Centres, and we have been encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm from our work provider partners and would like to thank them for their support in backing this project. Our strategy for the future includes opening more Fast Finish Centres to assist our main sites and future growth.”

Repairs are triaged by AW’s Central First Response team at the outset, with both Denaby Main and Markham Vale sites feeding further jobs once assessed. An average 13hr job, none welded panels and minimum replacement parts ensures the Fast Finish team are able to meet and exceed targets, currently repairing 17 vehicles on average per week.

The 5,000sq ft site is located at Denaby Main, South Yorkshire, perfectly located for existing customers already served in the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Chesterfield and Sheffield areas. The new centre supports the main bodyshop at Denaby Main and the Markham Vale site being 20 miles away. The LED-lit open reception encompasses the company’s striking blue and orange corporate branding.

Nottingham site exceeds all expectations!

A year has already passed since AW opened its Nottingham site and what a year it’s been!

January 2017 saw AW Repair Group grow its turnover and geographical coverage again following the Nottingham site opening, being just three miles from the city centre, on the tram route and just 20 minutes to the M1 for easy access to Derby and Leicester.

Within its first month of opening the site had gained the BSI accreditation and had tripled its budgeted first month turnover, with this successful trend mirrored throughout the year to follow.

The 13,300sq ft site thrives with efficiency: SmartAir, a highly effective skate and rail system, Junair’s double-length downdraught booth with QUAD drying technology and PPG refinishing systems all help towards painting a minimum 13 vehicles per day.

The site is now managed by Ben Hissitt, who took the reins from James Dunn who was promoted to Group Operations Manager in March.

The experienced hand-picked team work together effectively and cohesively and  the branch is also delighted to now have on board two multi-skilled apprentices who are following the AutoRaise path and training at EMTEC in Nottingham along with four other apprentices in the group.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh commented: “The Nottingham site simply took off straight away. There was clearly a need for a quality bodyshop in this area and I’m very proud of the way the team have all worked together to make this site a success. Ben is extremely forward thinking and everyone has embraced new equipment and processes designed to maximise throughput which has succeeded. Some of the new processes we trialled at this site have already been rolled out across the group further improving group efficiency and capacity and we look forward to introducing these from the outset at our forthcoming sites soon to be announced in 2018.”

AW convoy Tower donations to homeless Trust

After opening their doors as a collection point for donations following the devastating Grenfell Tower tragedy, AW Repair Group have this week transported three vehicle loads to The Nomad Trust.

The overwhelming national support for Grenfell survivors meant that AW’s collections could be diverted to another needy charity.

“We had a fantastic response from the communities local to our 5 sites with donations of curtains & bedding,” said Jade Johnson, AW Repair Group Business Development & Marketing.

“But as Grenfell was overcome with donations we waited for further instructions from charities on the ground trying to deal with the massive influx and then had to decide what to do when donations were being turned away.”

AW Repair Group had limited donations to soft furnishings so that in the event of not being required for Grenfell could be sold by weight to material recyclers.

“But we since approached several other charities and The Nomad Trust, which provides welfare services for the homeless, will now receive the items in time to help those in need this Christmastime.”

The Nomad Trust is a Christian based registered charity initially Launched in 1984 as a day centre offering food and basic shelter. With the help of national lottery funding it now offers 21 beds a night and has supported more than 5000 people with basic necessities and companionship. 

 

    

You’re hired!

SIX new apprentices are geared up and ready to launch their new career with AW Repair Group this month.

In partnership with AutoRaise and Emtec Training, the engaging and inspired youngsters will be donning their corporate blue and orange uniform across the group’s five sites.

Harvey, Charlie, Jack, Ryan, Joshua and Leon follow in the footsteps of Georgie, Kane and Joe who are now Year Two and Three apprentices with AW Repair Group.

The 16-19 year olds will be training in a variety of panel, paint and MET roles as well as the new multi-skilled apprenticeship trailblazed by AutoRaise and now government approved.

AutoRaise are a charity dedicated to improving the industry skills shortage and have a single, focused purpose: to promote the industry as a sustainable, attractive and rewarding place to work. They aim to bring new blood into the industry, specifically engaging young people aged between 13 and 24, and to help employers nurture their Apprentices into qualified talent – the future owners, managers and leaders in our industry.

Bob Linwood, CEO of AutoRaise, said “Andrew, James, Jade and the AW team have really grabbed hold of the whole apprenticeship opportunity and it feels great that AutoRaise helped stimulate some of this initiative. We all felt that an Autumn Showcase Event would be good but as it turns out, AW have been able to create a fresh cohort of motivated young people to join the group as apprentices. It’s the latest indication of the impact AutoRaise are having on the industry’s skills shortage”.

The apprentices will receive a branded roll cabinet and top box starter pack including essential beginner tools, certification folder, personnel handbook, USB drive and an AW notepad within a satchel during their induction at AW.

Following a minimum 4 weeks employment, an Emtec assessor will visit the site and meet the manager and apprentice ahead of college training dates being confirmed.

Jade Johnson, AW Repair Group’s Business Development, Marketing and Communications said: “We have formed relationships with schools and colleges across the regions ready for next year’s intake with a growing list of interested young people.

“As we have already filled our available places this year we will be working with AutoRaise to hold an event in March 2018.”

AW Training & Apprenticeship Academy

Seven young apprentices joining AW Repair Group’s Training & Apprenticeship Academy this month recently enjoyed a welcome & introduction day.

Along with their supportive parents, the group of trainee technicians visited the group’s newest site in Beeston, Nottingham, to get to know each other, a tour of the premises and equipment and an introductory presentation & slideshow by Managing Director Andrew Walsh.

Andrew explained the company history, ethos, employee and customer care, expected work ethic and  potential career paths.

Encouraging dads led the way on the workshop tour, eagle-eyed at the panel repair demonstration and mums were first in line at the mixing room surprised to learn almost all the car colours in the world could be mixed with the paint in that room!

After an enjoyable morning tour, talking to staff and management the day continued with a buffet lunch and then a visit to EMTEC technical training College Nottingham, where the apprentices looked around the workshop space and classrooms where they will be training together on block courses in the months ahead.

BMW/MINI appoint AW’s Prestige Site to Approval Programme

AW Repair Group is delighted to formally announce its appointment to the BMW/MINI Approved Bodyshop Programme.

Working in partnership with Soper of Lincoln, AW’s prestige repair centre at Sleaford, Lincolnshire, will be the only fully compliant independent BMW & MINI approved repairer in the county having invested in the brand’s paint colour system.

The addition of BMW and MINI brand approval takes the site’s prestige manufacturer portfolio to seven joining Jaguar, Land Rover, VW, Audi and Lexus as well as structural aluminium accreditation.

AW Repair Group’s Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “Having a recommendation from such a long standing and reputable franchised dealer like Soper is a great accolade for AW, in the local community and the wider crash repair industry.”

The additional approvals were a strategic move for AW Repair Group.

“And the relationship is strong from both sides,” added Andrew. “BMW and MINI car sales were among the best throughout 2016, selling 170,000 cars in the UK and representing a record 9.6% of the UK car park.”

Andrew Tullie, Managing Director, Soper of Lincoln commented: “I’m very pleased to be working with AW Repair Group in this mutually proactive relationship. BMW/MINI is a leader in advanced technologies and we need a trusted skilled and responsive bodyshop to ensure our customers are fully reassured in the event of an accident.

Steve Hoe, AW’s Group Manager of Manufacturer Approvals, and Jade Johnson, Business Development, Marketing & Communication have been actively managing the pre-audit process to ensure personnel across the whole business are involved and prepared.

Added Steve: “Our aim is to ensure the business can repair modern day vehicles of all technologies and our technicians have already completed many of the BMW/MINI compliancy training programmes which are extremely comprehensive and advanced including BMW/MINI Steering & Chassis Technology Training, BMW/MINI Bodyshop Electrical Principles, BMW/MINI Bodyshop Passive Active Safety Systems, Advanced Vehicle Construction & Repair Training.”

 

AW travel 3,000 miles across Britain

AW Repair Group’s ‘Keeping you moving’ slogan took a new turn recently with the company logo travelling 3,000 miles across Britain for charity.

The company sponsored the shirts of 24 amateur cyclists who took on the mammoth task of cycling from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London back to their base in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in aid of the Naomi Fund.

Little Naomi sadly passed away in 2000 aged two despite constant life laving operations and treatment for congenital heart defects, Tricuspid Artresia, ASD, VDS Woolf Parkinson White Syndrome and Pulmonary Regurgitation. The charity was set up in her memory by proud parents dean and Michelle Fardell and family friend Ben Benbow to raise money for the hospitals involved in her care, including Leicester’s Glenfield Intensive Care Unit.

AW Repair Group’s parts advisor Pete Agutter is involved with the charity and marshalled the cyclists with road support. “There was a great atmosphere the whole time,” said Pete. “People were hooting their horns and wishing all the riders well and even cyclists who were just out on a ride joined in at the back and encouraged them along as many of those taking part were amateur cyclists who had not covered such a great distance.”

The charity, which has held numerous events during the past years, are still awaiting to total the sum of all the riders’ sponsorship.

“We’re really grateful to everyone who supported the event and with just one puncture along the way we can truly say it was a great success,” added Pete.

                       

AW Sponsor Porsche

AW Repair Group was once again delighted to be main sponsor for Porsche Club GB Track Day for the 5th year running.

May sees the return of the eager Porsche owners to the prestigious track day held at Blyton Park Driving Centre, where however confident you are, you can enjoy a day full of high-speed laps on the track with or without an instructor.

With the drivers briefing at 8:30am it was an early start, however all drivers donned their racing shoes, helmets and overalls ready to head to the starting line, despite the scorching temperatures.

Thirty-five cars attended the event with drivers each offered three 15 minute sessions in the morning and only one ending up on the grass after a spin. Everyone broke for lunch, opting to sit outside to enjoy the unusual temperatures that hit 27 degrees (previous years have been extremely wet!), chatting about the circuit, their favourite corners and enjoying a bite to eat.

The afternoon saw an open pit lane using the outer circuit in Blyton, drivers took full advantage of this and pushed their pride and joy to the limit, many hitting over 100mph on the straights!
There was competition between drivers, who were thoroughly enjoying the day, however it was all in good fun with laughter when back in for a cooling off.

Blyton Park Director Richard Usher commented, “The days with Porsche Club GB have become a regular fixture of our calendar and we are delighted that the weather was so benign and that all participants had a safe and successful day. AW have been stalwart supporters of these days and we thank them for their continued involvement.”

AW was pleased to be represented this year by both Jade Johnson and new events assistant Alice Houldsworth, who is normally part of the AW First Response Team. A glorious day for her first AW event and looking forward to next year’s Porsche Track Day already!

Jade Johnson, AW Repair Group

Apprentice Paint Training at PPG

PPG provided first class training for two of AW Repair Group’s apprentices in a series of recent courses

Following the success of multiple AW paint technicians attending the PPG training centre for an advanced refinisher course, they chose to send two paint apprentices to the training centre in Stowmarket to further develop their skills.

James Dunn, AW Repair Group Operations Manager, found the training to be “a resounding success and one of the differentiators in the market place”.

The apprenticeship training took place over two days and featured both classroom and practical sessions from PPG technical experts to help the young technicians learn more about PPG products and application. The sessions included sanding of panels, understanding the correct application of filler, roll primer application and how to correctly prepare and apply basecoat and clearcoat products.

The dual-style approach also allowed the apprentices to work with PPG colour IT solutions exploring the TOUCHMIX® Mixing and RAPIDMATCH® Spectrophotometer devices.

Kane Hoe, VWG paint apprentice based at AW Repair Group’s prestige HQ in Sleaford, Lincolnshire commented; “I thought the two days were really beneficial towards my apprenticeship and my learning. The PPG experts Richard Pipe and Steve Beaumont were extremely helpful and made us both feel comfortable and confident in training.”

AW appoint Group Operations Manager

AW Repair Group is delighted to announce the appointment of James Dunn as Group Operations Manager.

James, who joined the company nine years ago as a branch manager, will now oversee the five site operation.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “As we continue to grow the business James’ focus will be on streamlined control of performance across the group. He has a vast knowledge and understands the business with a consistent track record of successful people, process and financial management.

“He has the ability and foresight to react to a changing environment finding solutions with an infectious positivity and pragmatic approach. I’m delighted he will be supporting our future developments in this new capacity.”

Latterly James handpicked the team to launch the group’s Nottingham Central site in Beeston which opened in January and tripled its budgeted first month turnover.

Said James: “I’m very ready for this new challenge and at the stage in my career where I hope my experience and enthusiasm will spread among the team. I’m very hands-on in my approach and driven to meet targets, SLAs and monitor performance to ensure we continually deliver what is expected from us. I’m looking forward to further developing relationships both within and outside the business.”

James (40) received the Personal Development Trophy at the Nottinghamshire Business Awards during his time as general manager of AW Repair Group’s Newark site. He joined the bodyshop industry at the age of 16 and continues to retain his VDA accreditation.