Doing Better Business – A look ahead at 2024

Doing Better Business – A look ahead at 2024
Association News Consumer News Home - Members Homepage - News Members News

Carl von Clausewitz, the highly regarded strategist, believed that successful business and war strategies share the same values – that the principles were so intertwined they both enjoyed the same clash of interests. SAMBRA has always understood this strategy and over the last year has successfully manoeuvred the many challenges and successfully focused on improving and enhancing the business conditions in which its members operate.

Today in a rapidly evolving landscape, the association is more than ever conscious that it has to continually innovate and continue to grow, just to remain in business.

Stagnation is just not an option anymore. As Jeff Bezos puts it, ‘It’s always Day 1’. That means remaining agile enough to continually stay ahead of the competition; to serve customers better and to lobby actively against any practices that negatively impact our sector.

2023 was a busy and successful year for the motor body repair industry and the SAMBRA National Executive Committee believe 2024 will be no different. Although the SAMBRA National Executive Committee is only set to have its strategic planning for the year in February 2024, a few areas of importance have already been highlighted and these will be remain critical focus areas for the team over the next 12 months.

The Vehicle Salvage Database

SAMBRA has been pushing hard in recent years for the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) to publish a vehicle write-off register or vehicle salvage database (VSD) that would inform consumers whether a previously owned vehicle has been involved in an accident or declared uneconomical to repair.

SAIA has unfortunately reneged on numerous undertakings to publish the VSD but in September 2023, they finally launched a search engine named ‘VIN-Lookup’ that allows consumers to do a search on vehicles. The VIN Lookup system however does not contain information on code-2 vehicles which are vehicles that have been written off due to being declared uneconomical to repair by an insurer. This really talks to the heart of the problem.

SAMBRA believe the only way to create a safer value chain for all, is by providing access to this information. Accordingly, on 15 November 2023, SAMBRA held a write-off register conference at the Bryanston Country Club.

Write-off Register Conference 2023

Over 50 key stakeholders, including representation from the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, attended the Vehicle Write-Off conference to discuss the critical need for an open and transparent Vehicle Salvage Database (VSD) of all vehicles that have previously been “written off” by insurers, and to discuss critical next steps in implementation. SAMBRA has also found support from other RMI constituent associations being the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the Vehicle Testing Association (VTA), who both emphasized the importance of the VSD and the negative impact this lack of access is having on all business owners.

The event concluded that regulation is first prize, where the Code status of a vehicle is defined in law (including a specific economic write-off code) and insurers and other entities with knowledge of crash and write-off data are required to submit such data to a central repository. Any voluntary system is not likely to achieve the goal of obtaining the information that is so critical to saving people’s lives and combating illicit and illegal trade in vehicles and vehicle parts. This conclusion informs SAMBRA’s strategy for its pursuance of an accurate VSD in 2024.


In the first quarter of 2024, SAMBRA will be launching an application that will serve as a business management system and/or customer relation management system for its members. The application will include a number of functionalities for members including repair process management and interaction with customers.

Also to be launched in the first quarter of 2024, is the SAMBRA Toolbox. The SAMBRA Toolbox is a comprehensive business management system that will be accessible to accredited SAMBRA members.

The Toolbox was constructed with information from leading sources in the industry and aims to provide an MBR with easy and accessible information on how to operate a successful and profitable workshop.

The Toolbox will also be available on the SAMBRA app.

SAMBRA Website

In 2023, the SAMBRA website obtained an average of 30,000 page views per month being viewed by close on 3000 users. The members portal of the website gives members access to Member Events, the Latest Industry News, a Learning Portal, and a host of other useful information pertinent to running a body shop in South Africa.

This content speaks to the increased traffic to the SAMBRA website over the last 12 months. In 2024 SAMBRA will integrate the functionality of the SAMBRA app, the SAMBRA Toolbox and the SAMBRA Toolbox to provide wider accessibility to its members to these SAMBRA value-added products.

SAMBRA will also be looking at digitalising its operations in 2024. This project will focus on associational representatives (ARs) and their interaction with members.

The project is likely to employ the use of a customer retention management system
that will obtain data from member interaction by ARs by the use of mobile devices.
This will greatly assist SAMBRA to reach its members, specifically those in remote

Industry Training

SAMBRA was approached by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to assist in identifying subject matter experts (SMEs) for the revision of the panel beating and spray-painting trades respectively. SAMBRA has since introduced SMEs to the programme who are working with the DHET and the RMI’s training department to revise the trade curriculums. This project, expected to be finalised in 2024, is crucial to ensure that apprentices are exposed to a trade curriculum that is current with the latest repair processes and technologies.

Meetings with OEMs and Insurers

Networking and collaboration will remain a key focal area in the coming year. SAMBRA is continuously engaging with OEMs, Insurers, and other relevant industry stakeholders at various forums. SAMBRA was however approached by the South African Insurers Association in October 2023, to establish interest in the revival of the Motor Traders Sustainability Forum. SAMBRA believes that if the Forum is constructed and operates efficiently, it could serve as an important channel to engage with the insurer industry at large to address issues in the industry.

Communication to members will follow as this initiative develops in 2024.

Rand Mutual Assurance Prevention (RMA) Programme

In 2023, the RMA launched its Prevention Programme which essentially focuses on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) compliance to prevent occupational injuries and diseases. RMA is an official Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COIDA) Administrator mandated by the Department of Employment and Labour. The RMA’s Prevention Programme is funded by the Department of Employment and Labour and will assist employers who wish to participate, to become and remain OHS compliant, at no cost to the employer. SAMBRA has recently signed a service level agreement with the RMA in November 2023 which will provide access to the Prevention Programme for its members in 2024.

As an association SAMBRA remains committed to maintaining its position as the leading MBR association in South Africa and to creating an environment which is more conducive to doing business.