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Sunday, 31 August 2003 17:00

Profiting from Wal-mart-ization of the CR industry

Written by Dick Strom

If you can imagine Big Bird settling into a cozy yet busily productive henhouse - the aloof behemoth arrogantly fluffing its plumage as it wiggles its super-sized rear into a comfortable nesting spot, destroying everything the residents spent years producing, you can understand why thousands of productive small businesses become alarmed, outraged, even militant when Wal-Mart barges into their market area. 

Sunday, 30 November 2003 17:00

Clout is generated when everyone works together

Written by Dick Strom

Clout is generated and precedents are put into play when shops work together with repair organizations that really have a heart for the concerns of the collision industry. But even more favorable results are possible when consumers are willing to go to bat for their rights, and for those of shops that encourage them to take a stand.

Wednesday, 31 December 2003 17:00

Insurer-owned shops - sucking the life out of suckers

Written by Dick Strom

An independent (non-DRP) shop owner-friend recently told me their local shop association hosted a meeting to discuss the proliferation of Sterling shops in their area. He wrote, "A lot of major DRP shops showed up to voice very strong opposition to insurance company ownership of shops. What's interesting is the number of 'scared DRP shops' who think Sterling's arrival is the 'beginning of the end' for their businesses." 

Saturday, 31 January 2004 17:00

If health insurance were like auto insurance

Written by Dick Strom

"Looking at your X-rays, your right hip is pretty shot… must be painful." I couldn't help noticing the way Dr. Jack looked at me sideways, sizing me up, a few gold crowns gleaming through a cryptic Rhett Butler sneer that, lacking only a cigar, would have pegged him a dead ringer for a used car salesman, not a surgeon. 

Friday, 30 April 2004 17:00

Are insurers price-shopping repairers into limbo?

Written by Dick Strom

The more I read about Wal-Mart - the world's largest retailer with its nearly $250 billion-and-rapidly-growing gross sales last year, and in its third year as #1 on Fortune 500's list - the more like the insurance industry they appear to be. In fact, one might wonder whether Wal-Mart is taking its cues from the insurance industry or vice versa. 

Monday, 31 May 2004 17:00

How collision avoidance systems will affect your auto body business

Written by Dick Strom

Nothing makes me cringe - physically turning my insides to mush - like the squeal of tires in that desperate, futile, out-of-control second before an inevitable collision. Having cleaned up too many blood-splattered cars, I'm in favor of anything that would assure deathless, injury-less accidents. Collision Avoidance Systems, devices currently being developed and fine-tuned to minimize the frequency and severity of auto accidents promise to drastically change the way we drive. These will also greatly change the collision repair landscape. 

Wednesday, 30 June 2004 17:00

Dropping DRP relationships: the profitability of independence

Written by Dick Strom

As a guest speaker at the North Dakota Auto Body Association Annual Convention and Trade Show recently, it was humbling to note that North Dakota, with a fraction of my state's population and one-forth of its collision shops, had better attendance than did the state of Washington. I found these shops refreshingly positive about their future. I spoke about why shops should seriously consider getting off the DRP-train, and how to do it. Here are some of the highlights of that presentation. 

Saturday, 31 July 2004 17:00

18 memorable days traveling in Spain and Portugal

Written by Dick Strom

My wife Bobbi and I recently returned from visiting the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Our daughter, Shannin, a costume designer who worked for L.A. Opera, and presently freelances on various movies, operas, and the like, had just finished assisting Madrid Opera in costume setup for Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades. 

Tuesday, 31 August 2004 17:00

What agencies will be looking for when inspecting shop

Written by Dick Strom

Some time ago I noticed the outside walls of our paint mixing room had never been painted. Interestingly, though we had occupied this building for close to 15 years, in which time I'd walked past this wall many thousands of times, I'd never noticed that when we built this building, being in a mad rush to get it up to production, we'd forgotten to finish a number of the final details. 

Thursday, 30 September 2004 17:00

When insurers come for you, will anyone be left standing?

Written by Dick Strom

One notable feature, common to many European landscapes, is castles and similar fortifications on distant hilltops. For many early peoples, these were their only means of resistance - the only thing that stood between them and certain enslavement, death, or much worse at the hands of marauders, warring factions, or conquering nations.