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Executive Vision: Rick Orser of 3M on taking a proactive approach to solving challenges

Rick Orser, General Manager, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division.

By Mike Davey

London, Ontario — October 25, 2016 — Executive Vision is a regular feature focusing on discussions with key players in the auto claims economy and the auto industry, their views on the present industry and their vision for the future. Rick Orser is the General Manager of 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. He joined 3M’s Automotive Aftermarket Division in 2012 after several years with the company in other divisions. He holds a Bachelor of Business Management from Ryerson University and serves on AIA Canada’s Collision Council. In this article, Orser outlines 3M’s proactive approach, the importance of building a strong team and strong processes and discusses the company’s collaboration with Festool Automotive Systems.

Collision Repair magazine: What do you see as some of the most critical issues for the collision repair industry?

Rick Orser: At 3M, we see the three most critical industry issues as people, productivity and increased repair complexity. This is aligned with the priorities identified by CCIF and forms the focus of AIA Canada’s Collision Council. 3M takes a proactive approach to these priorities—through our involvement with Skills Canada and trade school programs, training the technicians of the future; our work with OEMs to develop products dedicated to collision repair; and our overall commitment to shop productivity.

CRM: In your view, what’s the single most important issue? What would you suggest to a shop owner who is trying to deal with that?

RO: The most important issue is people. It all starts with getting great people. Once you have a strong team, you develop strong processes that allow you to manage the increased repair complexity which drives increased productivity. When we look at highly successful collision repair shops, they all have that connection and commitment to a strong team approach.

CRM: 3M is a big company that serves a lot of different markets. Does this broad scope help the automotive aftermarket division? Can you give us details?

RO: 3M has many divisions servicing many markets worldwide and the automotive aftermarket is part of our core. We bring our science, through our products and people, to the collision repair industry to help body shops advance their business. Our dedicated research and development teams work with the industry to create new products and enhance existing products to better meet the changing demands of collision repair. Whether it is abrasives, masking, paint application and preparation systems, or adhesives, 3M has a history of innovation and leadership in the collision repair industry. In fact, last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of masking tape and 2017 will mark the 15th anniversary of the 3M Paint Preparation System.

CRM: In your view, what are the most important steps for a shop to take to secure longevity?

RO: Securing longevity is all about using efficient products with lean processes, making strategic investments in people, and continuing to embrace new and changing technologies. This facilitates increased customer satisfaction and positions you well for the future.

CRM: What do you think will be an area of growth for collision repair facilities?

RO: Education, training and investments in technology are going to be the foundation for growth for collision repair facilities. As vehicle repairs get more complex and OEM certification programs advance, shops need to stay current.

CRM: Thinking solely of how it’s going to change the business, what’s the biggest change we can expect in the next few years?

RO: The biggest change will be the continuing technological advances—autonomous vehicles, collision avoidance and advanced materials. Social change is also happening and it is impacting the number of vehicles on the road. Millennials are not buying as many vehicles; instead they are sharing or renting vehicles.

CRM: What does the future hold for 3M? Can you give us any hints about new products we might see in the near future?

RO: We are always focused on increasing the productivity of our customers and bringing forward new technology is one of the ways we do that. An example of this is 3M’s recent launch of the Total Automotive Sanding System. We sought out the expert in dust extraction, Festool Automotive Systems, and combined our efforts to develop a holistic solution for the collision repair market.

3M is well positioned for success both in the short and long term. Consistent with our corporate vision, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division is committed to 3M technology advancing every shop, 3M products enhancing every repair and 3M innovation improving every technician’s life.

We are a leader in the collision repair market and we want to continue to help shape the future of the industry.

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