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Columns

Wednesday, 31 July 2002 10:00

CAPA tamper proof seals - now you see them...

Written by Dick Strom

On a recent Saturday my brothers and I and our families did some serious catch-up on Dad's place. A widower of 88 years, until severe osteoporosis limited his activities he kept his place prim and proper. Lawnmowers, pruning shears, and the like over a four-hour period, though, pretty well brought it back to its former state. In the process we also cleaned out a rag-tag accumulation of junk overhead in his garage. Among the clutter, an empty dynamite box dated 1953 brought back memories of a time soon after WW2, in which tractors were scarce and dynamite was relatively cheap, when we'd watch Dad blast stumps from our 20 acres. He learned the art of using the right amount and correct placement of dynamite while mining in his late teens. 

Sunday, 30 June 2002 10:00

Delay: the road to ruin

It's been said "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." I would add, "The road to ruin is paved with good intentions." 

Sunday, 30 June 2002 10:00

Why is a body shop like a fruit stand?

Larry Edwards says collision repair shop owners could think of themselves as produce managers in a grocery store. 

Sunday, 30 June 2002 10:00

Ultimate DRP - Insurer ownership of shops

Written by Dick Strom

From my perspective, ASA's official response to the Allstate Insurance buyout of Sterling Consolidators is a weak effort at appeasement of concerned/infuriated collision repair members of that Association. This response, obviously aimed at alienating as few as possible of their collision and insurer constituents and associates, reads: "ASA ardently supports consumers' unequivocal right to choose their collision repair facilities. ASA has grave concerns with controlling ownership of collision repair facilities by insurance companies. We are uncertain that the economic interests or the safety requirements of the American driving public can best be served by this type of vertical relationship. 


I have recently finished re-reading Stephen Covey's excellent book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" (Simon & Schuster Fireside Book, 1990). As I read through Covey's basic principles of personal vision, leadership, management, communication, cooperation, renewal and interdependence, it occurred to me that for every positive trait, there is an equal and opposite negative trait. 

Friday, 31 May 2002 10:00

Sterling, Steerling, Steering

Written by Dick Strom

There's been a lot of insolent crowing and misguided arrows over the issue of insurer ownership of collision shops, the Allstate/Sterling Consolidation presently holding center stage. To give their questionable venture a hint of correctness, Allstate's V.P., Chuck Paul, recently announced, "Your (collision repair) industry is fragmented; less than 10% of your shops do a million in sales annually" (as if shop stability could be measured only in millions; also neglecting to mention that his insurance industry has systematically worked to keep the collision industry "fragmented," to their advantage). Continuing, he reasoned since "car insurance is mature" and "there is no organic growth in this (insurance) business," Allstate's only avenue to expand and increase its market share is through buying into collision repair shops through consolidations such as Sterling. I feel much better knowing they had no choice! 

Tuesday, 30 April 2002 10:00

Exercise your creativity muscle

"Failure to flex our imaginative muscles is as deplorable as breaking down our physical strength through lack of proper exercise." -- Walt E. Disney 

On the surface, it probably looked like a very minor agenda item to the members of the zoning board of Blue Island, Ill., a suburb just south of Chicago. After all, the board was just being asked to grant a "special site permit" for a new 16,000-square-foot collision repair shop - not the sort of thing that generally attracts much interest in the community, let alone turn-out for the zoning board's meeting. 

Used or "recyclable" parts were the focus of discussion during a number of other presentations at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in mid-March in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2002 10:00

So, that is what you really think?

Written by Dick Strom

I believe the following quotes, all drawn from notes sent to me regarding articles I've written, are indicative of deep-seated convictions held by a growing number of collision repairers. Many repairers, especially DRP shops, are fearful of retribution by their insurance customers and won't speak their minds publicly (but they'll write to me). Here then, are their thoughts from my correspondence and other sources as noted.