FenderBender 20th Anniversary Series: Tim Adelmann
Tim Adelmann started his career as a partner with ABRA Auto Body & Glass in 1984 and has been with the company through several decades of growth and development. Now serving as the executive vice president of business development, Adelmann has worked with ABRA’s clients to deliver major results. In the time that he has been with ABRA, the company has expanded from two locations to 340 in major markets across the country.
Adelmann also serves on the on the board of trustees for the Collision Repair Education Foundation and for Creative Living, a non-profit that encourages independent living situations for adults with physical disabilities. He maintains partnerships with several insurance advisory councils in the industry, and he has had an outstanding presence in the collision industry.
HOW DOES THE INDUSTRY TODAY COMPARE TO WHAT IT WAS LIKE 20 YEARS AGO?
Well, there’s a lot more automation and vehicle complexity, and as a result, the capital investment that’s required from shops is significantly different.
As vehicles continue to get more and more intricate, the pressure to grow is going to continue. Vehicle complexity is becoming challenging for some on the investment side of things. It can cost quite a bit to invest in the proper equipment and training to complete more complex repairs. This provides a challenge for smaller shops, but it’s an obstacle they must overcome.
In addition to the automation, shops have taken on a lot of the roles and responsibilities that insurance companies used to cover. Though bringing on more of this administrative work was a hurdle for some, I think it has been beneficial because it’s easier for shops to manage more closely.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST GAME CHANGER OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS?
I think the biggest game changer has been the growth of the multi-shop operators (MSOs). We’re constantly seeing MSOs building new shops or converting to a collision center. It’s easier for them, because their staff already has the culture put in place.
ABRA has played a huge in this growth. Our goal at ABRA is to be the both the employer and the repairer of choice. We have been successful because of the systems we have put in place and the culture that is reflected in our employees and leadership.
WHAT DO SHOPS NEED TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS?
We work in a people business. In order to be successful, shops need to attract, retain and develop not only customers, but their employees, as well. The skills and technical side of the industry is extremely important, but just as much time and effort needs to be invested in the people that make up a shop.
This idea of attraction, retention and development applies to all people who help run a shop, but it’s especially important for those in leadership positions. It’s important to make sure that you have solid leadership in place.
You have to have great people, great relationships with insurance carriers and the capital to invest in the proper equipment. If all of these things are in place, a shop should have no problem being successful over the next 20 years.