BMW April 2022

For many years now, Glasurit has been the market leader for premium refinish solutions in South Africa. The success of Glasurit – next to having high quality and easy-to-use products with approvals from all major OEMs – is undeniably linked with its core belief of being a true partner to the body shops. 

It all starts with the local setup. Through the unique nationwide sales organisation, the Glasurit employees are always close to their customers with personal, commercial and technical support. At the same time, the local organisation – as a full subsidiary of BASF Coatings – has a direct link to the Research and Development (R&D) and production colleagues at the BASF Coatings sites in Europe. “If we need a unique solution for our market in South Africa, I don’t have to ask an importer or supplier, but can approach an internal BASF colleague directly who also shares our philosophy of putting our customer first,” Tobias Vuillemin, Commercial Manager of BASF Coatings South Africa, explains.

But it is not just the unique organisation that sets Glasurit apart. The brand also offers a broad range of training in its own Refinish Competence Centre (RCC) and even on-site at the customer’s premises. In addition to this, BASF goes beyond and gives customers access to Glasurit’s collective knowledge through its digital platform Glasurit Know-how – seen in the May-June 2020 issue of Automotive Refinisher. Even in times of social distancing and travel restrictions, the Glasurit customers always get the technical support they need from their partners at BASF Coatings.

In this edition we get the chance to look at one further aspect of Glasurit’s true partnership for body shops in South Africa – the customised consultancy offer. Automotive Refinisher speaks to Paul Rathbone, the Glasurit expert on body shop consultancy.

  1. Paul, when preparing for our conversation I stumbled across the Glasurit Ratio Concept Plus – your modular service approach – on the Glasurit webpage. Can you give more detail about this offer for our readers?
  2. As you already mentioned, the Glasurit Ratio Concept Plus is a modular service approach which comprises a large range of our consultancy portfolio or how I like to call it “the fitness programme for each body shop”. The offers range from process optimisation up to developing the optimal layout for a new shop. It also entails business seminars and body shop audits – and can be tailored to the needs of each individual customer.
  3. You just mentioned the body shop audits. Isn’t this something that is done by OEMs and insurance companies to assess the conformity of a shop to their policies?
  4. It’s not exactly the same. Our body shop audits are not there to check whether the shops are compliant, but rather to help them to discover their true potential. Over the course of a couple of days, I examine all aspects of the refinishing process in the body shop. This systematic analysis leads to a range of recommendations on how to increase the productivity of the shop. The findings are summarised in an action plan that can then be implemented by the shop – again in partnership with the Glasurit experts. As an added benefit, the thorough check will prepare the body shop for a future audit by an OEM or insurer.
  5. With the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown, the pressure on the profitability of the panel beaters is now higher than ever. Does your consultancy also cover this part of the business?
  6. It’s not just covered, it´s one of the key aspects of our consultancy work. Profitability being the result of productivity – or speed of repair – paired with optimal paint usage, we always look at it from different angles. 

As said before, process optimisation is one of the key components of our consultancy. With many small adjustments, again tailored to the needs of the individual shop, we can optimise each step of the process and with it significantly increase the speed of repair. We also support shops in bringing their paint usage down – and with it the cost of each job – while simultaneously maintaining the quality of the repair.

  1. Doesn’t that mean that in the end you as paint supplier will sell less paint to the shops, as the repair is done with a smaller consumption?
  2. Yes, but this only holds true if the shop is doing the same number of repairs. However, with the increased productivity more jobs can be done – a win-win situation for the customer and us as supplier.

Let me reiterate here that my focus is on supporting the customer in having a sustainable and healthy business and not on our paint sales. Together with the owner, I therefore also look at his Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and see where there is room for improvement based on my experience with many other shops.

  1. Can you give me an example of such a KPI?
  2. Let me connect the example with what we have just discussed. To assess the profit a shop makes, looking at the price of – for example – a tin of hardener is not going to tell you the truth. Rather you must check the cost per panel which factors in the paint usage of the ready for use paint mix and the time to get the job done. 

With our products you can reach the premium quality with a lower consumption and a higher speed – for example because you need fewer layers of basecoat. This cost per panel is one great example of a KPI that we can bring down significantly with the proper use of Glasurit products. Our technicians in the field can already help greatly and when a bit more support is needed, we’ve got it covered through our consultancy concept.

As I won’t have the chance to see all customers within the next few months, I would like to use this chance to send a message to all the painters, body shop owners and everyone else reading this article: Stay safe, healthy and optimistic – we will get through this challenging time together.