BE2015: consolidation ‘unstoppable’

Consolidation is here right now and will not stop was the message from an expert panel discussing consolidation at the bodyshop Event 2015.

The seminar session – ‘Consolidation – what does it mean’ – saw a standing room only audience hear how Harvard breaks industry consolidation down into four stages – opening, scale, focus, and balance and alliance. Moderator Jason Moseley, said, ‘When it comes to consolidation, speed is everything.’

Opening the panel debate, Robert Snook, director of BSG, said ‘This industry is currently at stage one or two but it is only the start.’ Chris McKie, director – network development, Vizion Network Ltd explained, ‘This is a paradigm shift for the sector. Once it starts, there is no going back’. Dom Napier, commercial director of Elevation Group, suggested, ‘There are huge benefits to consolidation but you need to be at the forefront of it – standing still and doing nothing is not an option.’

The panel discussed the activity around investors looking at the UK’s bodyshop sector and Robert explained, ‘Right now investors see us as the ripest apple on the tree – this is the best investment they can make.’ It was agreed that the biggest winners in all of this might not even yet be in the market.

Discussing the impact all of this has on insurers, vehicle manufacturers and the supply chain, Chris said, ‘the supply chain will consolidate behind the frontline but it is important that there remains options. The moment you have one of anything, you lose innovation.’

With clear change ahead, the exact path is still not clear. ‘No one is sure of where it is going,’ said Dom, ‘but you have to be prepared to invest to drive the change your business requires. It’s got to happen now.’

All on the panel agreed, ‘all bets are off, the normal rules no longer apply,’