IBIS ME goes from strength to strength

The fourth IBIS Middle East has been hailed as a huge success by delegates.

Held at the Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre in Dubai on 22 February, nearly 150 delegates attended the event which highlighted the benefits of ‘Success through Synergy’.

IBIS board member Jason Moseley put this into context with a revealing presentation on the wide-scale consolidations taking place in the industry around the world. He pointed to the examples being set in America by the ‘big four’ of ABRA, Boyd, Caliber and Service King, all of whom have grown exponentially since 2011 and have no intentions of scaling back acquisitions just yet.

‘Consolidation is right at the top of senior executives’ agendas,’ Jason said.

Synergy was also the theme of an enlightening speech from Frederik Bisbjerg, executive vice president of Qatar Insurance Company. Addressing what some delegates called ‘the elephant in the room’, he urged industry leaders to consider an entirely new way of doing business which he said would benefit the consumer, the insurer, the dealer and bodyshop.

He said, ‘The car dealer is one profit centre, the insurer is another profit centre, and the repairer is a third profit centre. I believe we have to team up to create an open and transparent ecosystem. It would require full trust, but prices would come down and volume and therefore profits would go up. I believe in my heart this is the way to go. Someone has to see the light, and I believe I’ve seen the light.’

However, his vision was contradicted by Sean Carey of SCG Management Consultants, who predicted the connected car would change everything and leave manufacturers in the driving seat because ‘they have what everyone wants – the car.’

‘Parts will become an inconsequential part of the claims process,’ he predicted, ‘In the new world of consumer-driven sentiment, you will use the right part to repair the car in the right way. It’s not about if you can afford it. You can’t afford not to. So the OEMs will control the game, but they’ll do it in collaboration with insurers and repairers and companies in the supply chain.’

And he warned businesses in the Middle East against believing time was on their side. ‘The connected car will change the landscape forever and it’s happening far faster than even I predicted. Here in the Middle East it will simply skip a generation and go from not connected to connected.’

Among the other speakers, Anna-Marie Baisden of BMI predicted slow and steady growth in the region during 2017, but from a low base, while Thatcham’s Dean Lander looked into his crystal ball to imagine the bodyshop of the future, saying, ‘Cosmetic repairs will be the majority of future work, but cosmetic repairs of tomorrow is worlds apart from cosmetic repairs of today.’

The event concluded with a stand-out session on Big Data from AkzoNobel’s global OEM key account manager Amjad Farah. He encouraged businesses to make the most this new technology rather than being afraid of it, pointing out its benefits and warning of the dangers of basing business decisions on ‘the average’ number without digging deeper.

A full report on IBIS ME 2017 will be included in the next issue of bodyshop Middle East, when we will examine each illuminating presentation in full.

IBIS Middle East 2017 is only possible thanks to the continued support of our partners. We’d like to thank lead partners AkzoNobel and Audatex, and partners Al-Futtaim Auto Centers, Fix Auto World, Spanesi, Teroson and Thatcham Research.