Caliber: we want partners, not suppliers

David Smith, VP supply chain/procurement, Caliber Collision asked delegates, ‘How many of you will make the move to be partners?’ during his presentation at IBIS Global Summit 2016.

David’s presentation, ‘MSO procurement strategies: changing the vendor relationship’, gave an insight into the largest collision repair operation in the US with facilities in 14 states, 400 locations, $1.75bn revenue and 8,000 plus staff. David described the 2010 to 2015 growth story of the business during which revenue grew from $280 million to over $1.4 billion with locations increasing from 68 to 323, repairing 750,000 from 140,000. Staff numbers also increased from 1,400 to 8,000.

He said, ‘We not only operate at a high level, but we do it on a large scale. That takes a lot of commitment from our teammates but, more importantly, from our partners. We need their help.’

David then went on to explore Caliber partners and how economics, productivity and service are the cornerstones of successful collaboration. He said, ‘You are all here because you are part of the Caliber family. This means we want your success to mirror ours. Everyone needs to benefit from success.’

He cited the relationship with 3M as a prime example of Caliber’s approach. He said, ‘We changed 3M from a supplier to a partner. How did we do that? Open communications. We share knowledge and, ultimately, share success. Now they wake up and think, ‘how can I make Caliber better?’ Because they know that if we’re better, they’ll be better. But everyone has to own it for it to work.’

But while its ambitious expansion policy brings challenges – ­’if you acquire 150 sites and all the teammates that comes with that, how quickly can you bring them up to Caliber standards?’ he asked – Caliber is far from finished. David remained coy on a move into European markets, saying there was still ‘plenty of runway’ left in America, but predicted 1,500 suppliers, 20,000 suppliers and revenue in excess of $6bn by 2020.

He concluded, ‘The strength of our company is in the strength of our teammates and our partners. Today we are the collision repair provider of choice. This means customers choose us first, insurance companies and partners all want to work with Caliber. I know it is different, but we are asking you to think Caliber first, knowing your own company will benefit as we executed on our purpose, vision and mission.’