The Interview: Rob Pugh

Just shy of celebrating his third anniversary since rejoining Fix Auto UK, 30 under 30 winner Rob Pugh speaks to bodyshop editor Simon Wait.

You were heavily involved in Fix Auto UK successfully navigating its way through multiple lockdowns. What have been your main takeaways from the pandemic?

The main thing for me has been the importance of community both at work and personally. At Fix Auto UK, our franchise partners have gone above and beyond for the network, which is testament to our network community. In a period of crisis is when you find out who your friends are and who stands with you, and what we’ve learned is what a great network and great community we have. We are really proud of what the head office and franchisees have achieved. They’ve come up with some great incentives and ideas around improving and securing cashflow, everyone came together to share what they were doing and they were all transparent and trusting of the network. We had the grants piece [where Fix Auto UK shared its understanding and experience of business grant applications with the wider industry], which started when Fix Auto Manchester East director James Gore made us aware of the possibility of gaining grant support. But my biggest takeaway as a group is how quickly we’ve been able to adapt and get 115 franchisees to work together.

What does Fix Auto now do differently?

From a Fix Auto UK point of view, like so many businesses, we now use a lot of Teams, Zoom, Google for communication and we’ve found we can do a lot while being home-based. You don’t always need to be on the road having face-to-face meetings like we and many others did before. Of course, that’s still very important, but we’ve now got these platforms where you can have multiple people on from across the country giving great input and contributing great strategies. For example, our national leadership team used to meet once a quarter at our head office, with people coming from as far as Scotland or Devon and staying over. Now we have monthly online Teams meetings meaning people are kept more up to date. Face-to-face meetings are returning as it’s getting safer to do so but, going forward, online meetings will continue where possible.

To read more, visit bodyshop‘s October issue.