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Vincent Romans

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What were some of the key issues addressed during the MSO Symposium?

We talked about the current state of consolidation and what that meant for the collision repair industry and the MSOs in collision repair. We touched on a number of key areas that were important for current and future success, including the need to have leadership, trained and qualified employees, and a pool of employees, since people appear to be the most important variable for successful collision repair operations.

We talked about the trends of large multiple-shop operators growing, and the collision repair industry still on a negative slope, in terms of its contractions.

We heard from a wide range of MSOs from smaller multiple-location operators to larger MSO consolidators who have a run rate of $600 million. Those leaders talked about the differences in operating those types of locations.

What were some of the most pressing issues discussed today?

I think some of the most pressing and most frequently brought-up issues were the need for people, having the right people and the ability to train people. Our two speakers reinforced what we heard from the MSO speakers, which was leadership. What I mean by that is the leadership that comes with setting your own goals and objectives and not restricting yourself. You need to have the ability to take risks and understand that if you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten or less. Risk taking is important for the success of MSOs.

One of the real key areas that I liked personally was that we talked about international MSOs and what the different models were. Globalization continues to cause the world to be smaller, and we had some comparisons to Australia, Europe and South Africa. The risk of concepts, initiatives, or companies that haven’t migrated to the U.S. could change the models of how we do business here.

What was different about the MSO symposium this year?

We had a certain number of independent shop owners because some of those organizations also want to know how to succeed and the same issues apply to them as they do to the multiple-location operators. We had some good questions from that audience during the Q&A sessions.

What I also thought was good was that we brought in the four CEOs from the largest independent MSOs—ABRA, Caliber, Service King and Boyd Group—we also brought in David Byers, the CEO of CARSTAR, to provide insight.

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