Community-driven garage management system Garage Hive hosted its largest conference to date. The Blend 2022 took place on Saturday 17th September at Birmingham’s Eastside Rooms.
Conference attendance was capped at 230 people after surging registrations. The buzz ahead of the event proved well founded as a mix of the customer community, interested garages, supporting suppliers and industry speakers were all ably hosted by the Garage Hive team.
The keynote address from Garage Hive Managing Director Ray Dilsons opened The Blend at 9:30am in the state-of-the-art venue, as a string of exciting innovations were announced.
Enhancements to the Garage Hive system included the automated addition of external reviews (such as Google and Trustpilot) to the existing ‘Net Promoter’ surveys, real-time gross profit targeting and tracking, ‘stopwatch’ measurements to monitor process flows, as well as improvements to the existing online booking facility which now supports online enquiries automatically creating estimates within the system.
Ray also reported that the parts ordering integration with GSF Car Parts, launched in July, had been successful with more suppliers expected to follow.
Major announcements to streamline tyre sales included a partnership with event sponsors Micheldever to integrate systems. This will be supported by direct real-time tyre scan tool connectivity to make identification and generation of tyre or wheel alignment quotations quick, simple and accurate.
The final update introduced ‘Garage Industry Trends’ – a new standalone data aggregation service. Customers agreeing to share anonymised information can unlock insights into how key metrics and performance indicators such as labour rate, invoice value, bookings and net promoter score compare with industry averages.
During the conference garages were then able to pick and choose from a matrix of three speakers in each of three sessions, with plenty of time to meet other delegates and event sponsors including Castrol, Autotech Group, Diagnostic Connection, Pichler Tools, Auto IQ and Micheldever Tyre Services.
Following the conference, an evening dinner followed. David Massey of ADS Automotive, a supporter of The Blend from its inception, delivered an entertaining speech before announcing award-winners.
EAC Telford were voted ‘The Garage’s Garage of the Year’ for helping and inspiring others. ‘Top Garage Hive Community Contributor of the Year’ was Laura Guild from Ewan Lawson Motors for extensive support of the Facebook Community. Finally, Fitch Autos were recognised as ‘The Beta Tester of the Year’ for helping finetune new features before release.
“We’d like to thank everyone that helped make The Blend 2022 our best event yet,” said Ray Dilsons. “Having started The Blend for just 60 people in 2019 we’re delighted at how far this has developed.
“We’ll be back in 2023; the energy and enthusiasm of our sponsors and customers, who’ve supported us in big numbers, genuinely makes this a pleasure to host.”
The Blend aims to meet the needs of garage owners wishing to network and learn from like-minded fellow professionals by providing a unique ‘not-for-profit’ event. After covering costs from ticket sales and supplier sponsorship, Garage Hive donated surplus funds to motor industry charity Ben.