Creating a unique value proposition for all stakeholders is key says Thomas Maple.
As General Manager for the Fix Automotive Network in British Columbia, Thomas Maple has overseen incredible growth for the business in Western Canada. Starting out his collision career as Shop Manager for Fix Auto Calgary South Central, he later moved into operational support roles for the Fix Auto network in both Alberta and British Columbia. Collision Management asked him about his career path as well as some of the factors critical to running a successful collision repair business today.
How did you first get involved in the automotive space?
I’ve always loved cars. The majority of my career has been in the automotive sector, initially as a wholesaler, and later with a Toyota dealer as a business manager. Immediately preceding Fix Auto I was involved in the IT sector, handling national training initiatives.
With experience in both the automotive and IT sectors, did you see an opportunity to apply these skills to the collision repair industry?
Through speaking with friends in the industry, I could see the way things were evolving, an increased focus on IT, customer experience, and consolidation. I felt Fix Auto’s vision aligned with this and its openness to rapid change presented an exciting opportunity to apply my skills in a new venue.
What was it like for you, being operations manager at a collision facility?
I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with a great team of veteran technicians and estimators. It was a humbling experience. They really supported me coming in. Working with this team through high demand periods, particularly hail seasons, gave me a true understanding of the day-to-day challenges at the shop level. There are numerous stakeholders and variables in the collision repair process. Balancing these pieces and understanding how they fit together to drive the final result has allowed us to build strong support programs that are tailored to the challenges our network of shops face every day.
Having worked in operations in both the Alberta and B.C. collision markets, what are some of the similarities/differences you see in working with government and private insurance carriers?
While the core of the business, namely quality repairs and superior customer experiences, is consistent across provinces, the value proposition to our Strategic Partners is varied when dealing with government insurance markets versus private. In government markets, Operational & Marketing support takes precedent. Our specialized regional corporate teams reflect this and work closely with our partners to ensure consistency, social media presence, and brand awareness.
What do you see as crucial to running a successful collision shop today?
Today, consumers have more options and are better educated than ever before. A collision shop can only be successful if it can provide a unique offering. It’s no longer enough to simply deliver quality repairs. You need to exceed customer expectations—going above and beyond what’s required, you have to consistently raise the bar.
With the integration of NOVUS Glass and Speedy Auto Service into the Fix Automotive Network, how do you see these additional brands providing opportunities for your collision strategic partners?
Essentially it provides more consumer touch points and helps spread awareness of our entire network. It also allows the partnerships with those stakeholders we work with every day to flow smoother, tightly integrating the entire repair process. With NOVUS, Speedy, and Fix Auto under one network, there is the opportunity to service a customer’s entire vehicle repair and maintenance needs, delivering a consistent, superior service experience across all brands.