In the wake of a rapidly changing landscape, some say the collision repair industry is tightening its belt. While many struggle to trim the fat, Ken Friesen of Concours Collision is embracing lean thinking – and reaping the rewards.
The changing collision repair industry poses a threat to many independent shops.
Manufacturing technologies are evolving quickly, demanding continual investment and training. Meanwhile, insurance companies are consolidating, pushing for faster and cheaper service.
Many independent owners are struggling to stay competitive in this landscape. But Ken Friesen isn’t one of them.
Driving Change Across the Industry
Friesen, owner of Calgary’s Concours Collision Centres Ltd., is well known across Canada for his business savvy.
A successful entrepreneur, the co-founder of the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF), and the first Canadian to make the cut for the Coyote Vision Group, he’s driving change in the industry – starting with the business model.
The collision repair industry is structured around a flat rate system. A vehicle comes in and is assigned to a single technician from start to finish. To save time without compromising quality, Ken has centralized ownership of each project within the system.
“It’s not critical that the same person works on the car throughout every stage of the process,” he says.
“One specialist may do some structural repair on the car. Someone else may do some light repair on it and then it’s moved to the refinishing area and someone totally different may put it together.”
Quality Products Help Ensure a Quality Repair
For Friesen, the key to success is ensuring consistent, high quality work across the board. From technicians to training to tools, everything has to be top-of-the-line.
When it comes to products, Friesen has been loyal to the 3M brand for more than 40 years. Whether body repair products or paint and finish products, he trusts them to deliver.
“3M products are, without question, very high quality,” he says. “As we’ve become more involved in processes, quality has become even more important. Because 3M carries a complete line of products I know I’ll have exactly what I need for the exact job.”
The Future: Improving the Collision Repair Process with Passion
Friesen is already considered to be ahead of his time, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“The biggest part of our business is that we just try to be a little bit better than we were yesterday,” he says. “I love my cars, but I’m passionate about the business. We’ve managed to implement some great changes, but there’s still more that can be done.”
Independent owners take note: Friesen is one to watch.
Learn More about 3M Collision Repair Products
Visit the 3M Collision Repair website or contact your sales rep today.
Photo cutline: Friesen celebrates the grand reopening of his flagship location in Calgary with 3M President Paul Madden and automotive legend Chip Foose (Fall 2015).