Panel and Paint

Motor Equipment News - - CONTENTS - By Peter Adams, group CEO, Cor­po­rate & Pres­tige

Un­less you have been hid­ing un­der a rock, you will have no­ticed there has been mas­sive change in the col­li­sion re­pair in­dus­try – and al­most ev­ery other sec­tor. Well, get used to it: this is the new nor­mal, and it's an elec­tion year!

big­gest frus­tra­tion as Prime Min­is­ter was MMP – ap­par­ently it's a dog of a sys­tem where they have to ne­go­ti­ate with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent par­ties to make any­thing hap­pen and each has its own agenda.

No dis­re­spect to John, but it's no dif­fer­ent for the rest of us. Those who are good at it have strong re­la­tion­ships that bring them abun­dance, and those that aren't get treated ac­cord­ingly, and strug­gle to make it through.

In the ar­ti­cles writ­ten so far this year I have en­deav­oured to in­tro­duce a num­ber of as­pects we don't nor­mally think very hard about.

So in­stead of drag­ging your­self off to work each morn­ing with the ra­dio blar­ing out the lat­est mu­sic, news, or talk­back, why not con­tem­plate the higher lev­els of what you are do­ing? Open­ing up the doors at the work­shop pays the bills, but can it be done bet­ter? Do the prob­lems you face on a daily ba­sis show any trends that can help you pin­point the source of your frus­tra­tions?

What is it with mar­ket­ing?

Mar­ket­ing is a fas­ci­nat­ing and very broad sub­ject that touches nearly ev­ery­thing you will do. Last month's ar­ti­cle “Busi­ness is Busi­ness, but Ser­vice is Per­sonal” prompted many of you to check out my blog at www.on­re­quest.co.nz.

How do I know this? The web­site an­a­lyt­ics are set to tell me what browser you used, which part of the coun­try you are in, and how many times you came back to read more. My ac­tion (the ar­ti­cle), and the re­ac­tions of those who went to the site, were all mea­sur­able. What you can mea­sure you can con­trol, and this is what mar­ket­ing is all about. This ar­ti­cle from 2013 might as­sist in your un­der­stand­ing of the new era of mod­ern dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing: http://www.mckin­sey.com/in­sights/ mar­ket­ing_sales/the_­com­ing_era_ of_on-de­mand_­mar­ket­ing.

For bet­ter or worse, we are as­so­ci­ated with some part of the col­li­sion re­pair in­dus­try. It‘s not the eas­i­est mar­ket to be in, how­ever there are some very good op­er­a­tors around the coun­try, and many that have be­come very suc­cess­ful through their in­volve­ment. Hav­ing met or spo­ken with a num­ber of them, I have no­ticed they share a com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor – they all have a very sim­i­lar at­ti­tude to­wards ser­vice – they make it per­sonal.

They also shared the other at­tributes of suc­cess­ful busi­ness peo­ple: they dis­cov­ered a niche they were pas­sion­ate about, then plumbed its depths. They un­der­stood how to build re­la­tion­ships with those who mat­ter, and how to build a team of loyal peo­ple around them. The busi­nesses they built flour­ished de­spite the con­di­tions of the day, be­cause they were think­ing about what they were do­ing, and made sound de­ci­sions based on what they were ob­serv­ing.

The im­pact of a ma­jor mile­stone

We have just wit­nessed a ma­jor event in our in­sur­ance in­dus­try, and although it made no dif­fer­ence to the hold the Aussies have on it, the bal­ance of power is now sub­stan­tially in the hands of one player. To some this will mark a sig­nif­i­cant change in the amount of work be­ing di­rected to them, while oth­ers will need to make some tough choices as to their fu­ture in the in­dus­try.

Of course, none of this is the end of the world. It sim­ply marks the clos­ing of one door, and when you look around there will be yet another to be opened. In the April edi­tion of this col­umn I ex­plained a method of quickly iden­ti­fy­ing the im­pact of busi­ness changes us­ing a spread­sheet, and strongly sug­gested it was a good time to con­sider op­tions in case the guy down the road presents a bet­ter case than yours.

Some took up my of­fer of the spread­sheet tem­plate, and it is still avail­able by email­ing me (pe­[email protected] me.com). If you haven‘t done so al­ready, now, with Spring just around the cor­ner it's a great time to take a step back and re­view ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing you are do­ing and have a re­struc­ture.

Come­backs can be costly

It may be that you iden­tify come­backs as a weak­ness in your or­gan­i­sa­tion. Re­cently a pan­elshop owner told me how a come­back cost him sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars when one of his top guys made a stuff-up he is hop­ing won't also cost him a ma­jor fleet cus­tomer. A sim­ple er­ror can be ex­pen­sive or have huge con­se­quences, and the tragedy is that many come­backs boil down to job man­age­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Do you have a sys­tem in place that iden­ti­fies what went wrong and the cor­rec­tive ac­tions taken to avoid a re­peat? As men­tioned be­fore, what we can mea­sure, we can con­trol.

You don't have to be a mar­ket­ing ge­nius to fig­ure any of this out, be­cause it's all based on the prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion of logic. The re­pair­ing and re­fin­ish­ing of ve­hi­cles on its own is an easy to un­der­stand model, how­ever the com­plex­i­ties of the mar­ket­place, equip­ment, staffing and a host of other things, com­pounded by the need to grow (or con­tract) soon start to take over – hence the need for a pe­ri­odic re­view.

With your mar­ket­ing hat on and some pieces of pa­per, why not do that end-to-end re­struc­ture you have been putting off?

Your pur­pose with this ex­er­cise is to elim­i­nate the frus­tra­tion for every­one in­volved. And when it‘s done call in your team and get their buy-in with the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide feed­back from the coal face as to how the pro­posed changes will im­pact on their jobs. Ask what new equip­ment, tech­nol­ogy, or prod­ucts have they heard about that will make the in­cre­men­tal or monumental shifts you need to stay com­pet­i­tive or even put the en­ter­prise in a new league?

Re­gard­less of whether you made the cut or not, mar­ket­ing and at­ti­tude are the ba­sic keys to suc­cess. Then it’s about the twin bedrocks of pri­or­ity and fo­cus. Get these two wrong, and cash flow just doesn‘t seem to hap­pen, so the troughs will over­power the peaks. Get it right, and it’s a whole new world of op­por­tu­nity.

In sum­mary, we live in a con­stantly evolv­ing en­vi­ron­ment that even the Prime Min­is­ter finds frus­trat­ing! The good news is there is op­por­tu­nity in tur­moil, and an at­ti­tude of change as your friend, com­bined with a healthy dose of good old-fash­ioned mar­ket­ing logic, will en­sure there is enough food on the ta­ble!

When do you know if the parts sup­plied match the ve­hi­cle? When they ar­rive, or when its about to go back to­gether on a Fri­day af­ter­noon? Next ques­tion… is the Fri­day fin­ish-up a breeze or al­ways an on­go­ing has­sle?

READER RE­PLY 0140839

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