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ASR Collision, a paint and panel repair business in Cairns, was the winner of the 2016 MTA Queensland Innovation Award. 

Winning the award is just reward for the 28-strong ASR team, who worked tremendously hard to build and implement new facilities and systems that have not only enabled the business to vastly improve productivity but also helped prepare the company for the evolution which the industry is going through.

Winning the award is an accolade that the company is justifiably thrilled to have received.  

“It has been a busy year and we are very proud to have won the Innovation Award,” said Corey Croft, Administrative Manager. “We have done a lot of work and to see a business in far North Queensland win is great.” 

ASR Collision made the investments with an eye set firmly on the future direction of the industry. Founded in 1978 by owner Garry Gilholm, the business now has three facilities across two sites in Cairns and its latest shop – an aluminium repair shop that opened at the beginning of last year – enabled the company to become a Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) approved repairer and is home to the newest arm of the business, ASR Prestige.

“We started building that facility in October 2015 and it opened in April 2016,” said Corey. “It was a necessary part of becoming a JLR factory approved repairer, and a by-product of investing in that facility has been a 40 per cent increase in productivity without an increase in staff numbers. For example, just having more floor space and allowing direct access to our paint shop has increased productivity.

“We have also invested in new mechanical equipment, such as a four-post wheel alignment machine, that allows us to keep more work in-house. In the past, to do a wheel alignment, it used to take a couple of guys ten minutes to drive a customer’s vehicle to the wheel alignment shop and another ten to pick it up when it was ready. Installing the wheel alignment equipment meant saving that forty minutes of lost productivity straight away. It might be a big investment but it will pay for itself soon and these are the sorts of things we need to do to stay ahead.” 

Staying ahead of the game and preparing for the changes that will inevitably influence the industry is part of the ASR philosophy.

“One of Garry’s favourite sayings is ‘Don’t rest on your laurels’, and he sees investments such as the ones we have made as a necessary part of being a provider for insurance companies in the future,” said Corey.

“Those who do invest are the ones who will be doing the work in the future. And that investment is not just about equipment either, of course. 

For JLR, for example, we flew our guys to Sydney many times for training. That’s a large investment too, but if we don’t make them we will get left behind.”

The investments by ASR are already beginning to pay off. Productivity improvements have been followed by new insurance company customers and an increase in business that has seen the company employ two more painters and panel beaters.

But the work won’t stop here. After nearly forty years of business, the team at ASR knows the importance of keeping abreast of the ever-changing nature of the industry. 

“Technology is changing at a faster rate and no doubt they will find new ways to manufacture and power cars,” said Corey. “It is part of our philosophy to keep an eye on changes and developments in the industry and we will continue to invest and adapt to those changes.”

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MTA Queensland is the peak body representing the interests of employers in the retail, service and repair sectors of Queensland’s automotive industry.

MTA Institute (RTO No. 31529) is the largest private provider of automotive apprenticeships and training in Queensland.

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