Taking It All in

by Ken Miller, AASP/NJ President

Starting a new position is always an exciting time, and taking over as AASP/NJ’s president is no different. At just under a month in, I’m still learning the new responsibilities and taking it all in as I go. 

As the new president of AASP/NJ, I am frequently asked what my goals are and what I intend to do in my new role. I generally respond by saying I just want to listen for a while and I’ll let you know, but I do have some thoughts so far.

We all subconsciously formulate opinions about things based on our life experiences, upbringing and education, creating our unique paradigms of the world. For those of you who do not know my background, I did not “grow up” in this industry, and subsequently, I have a slightly different paradigm than many who I speak to in the industry. I like to think that this is a good thing, as a fresh perspective can be beneficial in finding new solutions to old problems and bringing meaningful change to our industry. 

For those who don’t know me, I am co-owner of a small independent shop in North Haledon. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and detail oriented. All of the perfectionists out there know that it is often equal parts curse and blessing, yet I am extremely fortunate to have a great team that understands my standards and does their very best to obtain our company goals. We strive to maintain high standards throughout the repair process with the goal of returning the vehicle to pre-loss condition to the best of reasonable human ability. 

That’s a high standard and an exceedingly difficult one to obtain. A repair “good enough” for the cars of yesterday is no longer good enough for the cars of today (and definitely not those of tomorrow). I applaud all shops that endeavor to meet this goal, as I know that much of the work goes unacknowledged and unappreciated, and I also want to lend understanding to those shops who feel as though, for whatever reason, they can’t. Whether you’re a small shop or a big MSO, it’s hard to implement changes. I’ve been there – I get it; however, I believe in the value of continuous improvement. 

Even a small improvement makes a big difference (it’s said that just a one percent improvement per day will put you 37 percent ahead after a year). As a perpetual student myself, I hope to share tools and a roadmap that shops can use, and I hope to inspire our top performing DRPs, MSOs and independents to do the same. Turn around and lend a hand to the guy behind you, as a high tide raises all boats. The ultimate goal, regardless of business model, is the complete, safe and quality repair of collision damaged vehicles for the people who have entrusted us to repair them.

In closing, it’s important for me to understand, at a high level, the issues from a large cross-section of the membership to accurately represent all members moving forward. I’ve had a chance to hear from some of you, but I welcome open discussion and hope that if you see something, you will say something. Shoot me an email at kmiller@821collision.com, and let’s chat. Until next month!

Want more? Check out the January 2024 issue of New Jersey Automotive!