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Refinish firms told: diversify or suffer

Automotive paint supplier Standox has unveiled a three-point plan to help refinishers build on their strengths and find growth in a shrinking market.

The move comes as it launches a range of support services that focus on making refinishers more flexible and more responsive.

The company is urging refinishers to increase and expand their core competency by investing in new sites or merging with existing ones. By setting up or taking over a bodyshop, a refinisher can become a full service operation, says Standox.

The second part of the plan calls on bodyshops to concentrate and specialise in areas such as repairing minor paint damage. Finally, Standox says bodyshops must diversify into areas like industrial coating or face tough consequences.

Herbert Born, Standox managing director, says the contraction of the refinishing industry is continuing rapidly across Europe.

“In the UK, the number of refinishers has decreased by over two thirds in the last 10 years and the next five to six will probably see further significant reductions,” Born says. “The reasons are the continued concentration process, weak demand and increasing requirements made by environmental and health protection together with increasing cost pressure.”

But it is not only the number of shops that is decreasing, he says. “The number of car dealerships offering refinishing services is on the increase and the size of the operation is growing,” says Born.

“This is why we are presenting advisory packages and business promotion concepts designed to safeguard and increase refinishers' productivity and profitability. “We will not leave our customers alone when it comes to selecting and implementing their individual strategies.”

Now the company is pooling all its resources to offer a Standox branded consultancy service, which includes advice on management and organisation, information technology, product and service, safety, distribution as well as marketing and sales.

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