Quality and consistency is more critical than ever when it comes to vehicle refinishing.
Enzo Di Loreto began working in the collision repair industry right out of college for a Canadian collision repair franchise organization. Approached by BASF, DiLoreto served as Ontario Regional Business Development Manager and was later promoted to the Canadian Refinish Leadership Team overseeing all Canadian Business Development Managers. Currently, he serves as North American Direct Distribution Manager, his current position. Collision Management had the opportunity to interview him and ask about his view on the collision industry, including BASF’s objectives in the Canadian marketplace and issues such as low VOC requirements, cycle time efficiency and other trends.
In your role as the North American Direct Distribution Manager what are some of your current key objectives when it comes to BASF’s auto refinish?
While there are a number of key objectives we’re striving to accomplish, some specific objectives revolve around the continued sales growth of products and services throughout North America. Executing against our strategic targets and continuing to expand our distribution network and constantly fostering and developing our internal talent pool, also are key objectives.
As OEMs continue to use higher quality and more sophisticated finishes, such as three and even four stage clears, from your perspective, how has that impacted supply/demand for the type of refinish products offered in the Canadian marketplace?
At BASF, the fact that the two top quality refinish brands (Glasurit & RM) that continuously meet and exceed our OEM customers high expectations and standards, is something we are very proud of. Both R-M & Glasurit pride themselves on working closely with OEMs and maintaining OEM certifications all around the world. Our global colour labs spend a lot of time developing colours as well as working with OEMs directly to ensure that if their vehicle needs to be repaired, the colour match will be flawless. As vehicles continue to become increasingly complex to repair/refinish, this becomes ever more important.
In terms of demand for certain products, such as Glasurit 90 Line, or R-M Onyx HD, do you see concentrations in certain parts of the country or is demand fairly evenly spread? And if so, why do you think that is?
The demand for both Glasurit 90 Line and R-M Onyx HD are fairly even and equally represented throughout the country. Both Glasurit and R-M are designed to offer top quality and performance, while offering a lifetime warranty with exceptional colour match and world-class finishes.
In terms of VOC compliance, can you tell us a little about BASF’s approach to that within the Canadian marketplace?
BASF pioneered low VOC technology over 15 years ago with the launch of our Glasurit 90-Line system. One of the more recent low VOC solutions is our R-M Onyx HD system. This unique system allows collision repair centers to utilize both a water based and solvent compliant system, in one, depending upon the painter’s preference, the weather or the specific requirements of a single job.
For those owners and painters out there, think of those times where you’ve said to yourself, I love the coverage and metallic colour performance of my waterborne paint, but this week I just need to crunch through some work and get the higher hiding and speed that can come from solvent borne paint. With Onyx HD you can do just that. The demand for this product has grown more than we originally anticipated, with customers providing very positive feedback on its performance, especially for colour matching and speed.
With constant emphasis on reducing cycle times and now with some vehicles requiring more complex repairs, how is BASF helping its collision partners meet these objectives through technology, training and process?
Many of our customers have enjoyed and had great success with BASF’s Advanced Process Solutions (APS). APS is a customizable repair process built on Lean principles that is proven to significantly reduce supplement count and parts issues that interrupt the repair process. In simple terms, APS focuses on creating a predictable workflow by uncovering all needed repair operations and obtaining all correct parts before the vehicle enters production. The benefits of the APS program include a drastic reduction in cycle times and increased touch times as well as satisfying or even exceeding insurance expectations.
BASF has developed a very strong support network for its collision customers over the years. Can you tell us a little about what perhaps sets it apart from rival competitors in the marketplace?
One of the things I believe sets BASF apart from the competition is our unique chemistry, passion for the industry and exceeding our customers’ expectations by providing them with first class, innovative, high quality products delivered alongside of our advanced business solutions that are specifically tailored for the individual’s needs. A key enabler in achieving all of this is being able to deliver all of this with dedicated, caring, knowledgeable and professional employees who take immense pride and ownership in helping our customers become more successful.
Looking to the future, are there any emerging trends you see related to automotive refinish and if so, how is BASF helping its clients to meet those trends?
There are many trends impacting our market today. We could talk about safety features on vehicles, collision avoidance technology, collision repair center consolidation, pressure from insurance companies for faster cycle times or the need to source talent in an industry that is generally falling significantly behind other trade occupations for young apprentices.
However from a specific refinish standpoint, I would like to focus on one key challenge that is going to continue to increase in relevance and is very important to BASF. That challenge is the pressure on distribution. Distributors are really feeling the pressure from a multitude of different aspects such as increased discounts and expectations to maintain an enhanced service level at a lower price. At BASF we are focused on ensuring that our distribution partners are financially strong with efficient and effective operations to meet customer needs. This is more than just additional incentives. It’s about creating an aligned strategy for the end user, it’s about simplifying business processes, it’s about aligning appropriate resources to support and define who will do what and when. Most importantly, it’s about accountability and trust. BASF believes that working closely with our distribution partners ensures any redundancy across the value chain is removed. This combined performance cannot be matched by others.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We’ve just launched a new brand of primers and clear coats focused on the value-priced market. This new brand of clears and primers (Norbin) is being launched in both Canada and the U.S. It is critically important, as a supplier today, to ensure our customers have all the right products and solutions to meet their current and future needs. As I mentioned earlier, enabling our customers and partners to be more successful is very important to us, and at BASF we take this responsibility very seriously. So thank you to everyone who has made BASF the success that it is, we look forward to continue earning your business day after day.