Industry interview

Changing the pace at IBIS USA, Jason Moseley, IBIS CEO, sat down with Steve Grimshaw, CEO, Calibre Collision Centres for a wide-ranging discussion about the

They began by talking about Calibre’s merger with Abra.

Steve said, ‘’We will operate as one company and one culture. Calibre is a well-known, household brand, while Abra is still in its infancy. Having two brands will cause separation, and has the feel of two different operations. Having one brand, one operating model, creates one company, one family.’

He said the greatest challenge of expansion such as this was growing at the pace you want to while still maintaining the company culture. Steve said that consistency across the board was paramount, so instead of offering a lifetime warranty Calibre will offer a national warranty.

However, the growth Calibre has enjoyed – it reported its best ever results in 2016 – meant it was creating a completely new offer for customers, with different facilities able to cater to each customer’s individual needs.

This is because, Steve said, ‘Customer experience is the forefront of everything. History shows that one thing critical to success is customer experience – and that’s the internal and external customer. They way your internal customer feel will reflect in the external customer experience.’

Calibre focuses on this because it does not view culture and profit as mutually exclusive. Each, Steve believes, is dependent on the other. That is why it promotes the value of ‘purpose’.

Steve explains, ‘I want to create an organisation that is connected by a common cause, because then you will create leaders based on a solid core beliefs. People work hard for their money, we have to, but this is overly emphasized; people will work hard for a great leader, but they will work even harder for a great cause.

‘This is what drives us – earning the trust of our customers that we will restore their vehicles to their before accident condition. We’re a customer business, not a collision repair business.’

However, Steve asserts that the employee must benefit from the success of the business, and that is why it places such great emphasis on training. Training is available for all levels of leadership, and much of it has nothing to do with collision repair, but instead focuses on the customer experience and leadership skills.

Steve said, ‘Training also introduces employees to core values of Calibre. This is what defines success; our commitment to you and you to us. This sets the tone of what good culture at Calibre looks like.

‘People and culture is a great passion of mine. Everybody matters – someone who is now sweeping the floor could be general manager one day. The vast majority of our leaders are promoted from within, so we need to be willing to invest in the training and skills to make them successful. But the will from them has to be there, because will is something you can’t teach.’

This mindset extends beyond the employee and customer and is one of the reasons, Steve believes, why Calibre’s relationship with OEMs is better than it has ever been.

‘We are aligned on number of things. The key question we’re all striving to answer is what can we do to raise bar on customer experience? Everyone is working diligently to figure that out and the first step is deciding which facility can best handle that repair.

‘We think technology can help us, and the more we can automate this process the more efficient we’ll be, taking time out of system. The main issue is still which bodyshop is the best to repair the vehicle, and we’re working with OEMs to help define what does a great OEM certified bodyshop looks like.’

Steve concluded, ‘Our mission is to be the collision repair provider of choice in every community we serve.’

IBIS USA partner were 3M, Axalta, Solera Audatex, BETAG Innovation, Symach, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Fix Network World, Mitchell International, PPG, RSG, Verifacts, CARSTAR, Caliber Collision, Chief Automotive, I-CAR, OE Connection, and PartsTrader LLC.