Recently I was fortunate enough to fly out to Frankfurt for the bi-annual Best of conference, a two day event focused on driving change in the automotive sector, all while celebrating Belron’s technical capabilities through a friendly competition. Walking into the conference centre, surrounded by banners of Belron technicians representing their countries like Olympians I suddenly realised, this isn’t your run of the mill Cartech conference.
A corporate conference is not an unusual occurrence, they happen every week across the globe. But Best of Belron seemed more like an extreme company away day than a chance for keen thinkers to discuss the future. The conference was split into three sections: the competition, the presentations, and the exhibition – each highlighting a strength of the business. But what was more impressive was that throughout Belron was showcasing its own workforce and reconnecting them to their company mission.
Surrounded by mantras embracing innovation, Best of Belron had two objectives, to highlight the quality of Belron’s employees and to challenge them to engage with future technologies.
Companies are so rarely able to celebrate the abilities of their employees in such a way, as the two day competition between technicians from 29 of Belron’s global markets. In a heated battle for the coveted top title, every windscreen was meticulously removed, broken glass repaired and then replaced with a factory finish all against the clock. Each competitor with cheering squad in tow looked to impress eagle eyed judges, who were themselves often past winners who quietly noted any slip in procedure. The theme running through all of this: our technicians are the best in the world.
Leaving the competition floor, the exhibition and conference included interesting series of lectures on the future of the car industry, from autonomous driving and how that will impact cities and marketing, to future fleet vehicle technology. In the next fifty years will we put our children into an empty car with Peppa Pig on the front windscreen to entertain them on the school run? In the nearer future, will our speedometer appear on the windscreen rather than the dash, how will a technician recalibrate your emergency breaking sensor when you have a chip or ? In support industries that service a larger companies as Belron does, having your employees engaging with future technologies ensures that you won’t be left behind.
What about the exciting startups on the Drive with Belron programme, how can they help you serve customers in your market? Or the latest repair resins from one of Belron’s suppliers that your technicians will soon be using? The collection of exhibits allowed regional team leaders to network and interact face-to-face with companies and suppliers you may only interact with online, helping to build essential business relationships.
It is often difficult to immerse outsiders in your company culture – the attribute that marks you out from the competition. Anyone who attended Best of Belron came away with a sense that this company was full of truly great and talented people. They were engaged and attentive with external clients or suppliers and to any journalists in attendance this was evident throughout.
For a company like Belron – a global leader in the sector looking to build its brand profile – creating the opportunity to introduce yourselves to media at an event like this can do wonders for demonstrating that you are right there with the Tesla’s, Lyft’s and big car manufacturers who are innovating in the automotive industry.
The media often go to these events to drum up stories and the overwhelming message from Best of Belron is that the automotive sector is facing several decades of upheaval. The car landscape in twenty years will look nothing like today as we stride towards more environmental and intelligent vehicles. But these advances can benefit society and business if you face the challenge head on and welcome the change.
As an outsider I came away thinking that this company care about their employees, the quality of their work, and the future of their industry. For some, these events are about delivering key numbers and reports, but Belron took a step back from the spreadsheet analysis and added a human touch. In doing so Belron welcomed you into their company, full of thinkers, innovators and doers all focused on creating our future automotive world.