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Letter to the Editor
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This article originally appeared in the April 2003 Issue of INSIGHT

Networking Caution: Don't Work Without a Net

by Karen Kilbane

Our feature article this month offers us some much-needed information about a fairly new phenomenon in our industry - the shop network. A basic definition of the term is difficult to devise in itself, and determining whether to join one network or several networks by sorting through the variety of offerings may seem an impossible task for shop owners.

Is network involvement, bottom line, a useful management tool? And, speaking of “bottom line,” where will the participation payment be found? Yes, this business expense will impact the shop’s bottom line.

A paint company representative mentioned that his group is asking collision repair facility owners if a network is something they think is needed and wanted in the industry.

This is a good question! INSIGHT has always been on what we see as the cutting edge of new technology and management tools, eager to try out new software offerings and state-of-the-art equipment. We applaud the leaps taken to make the body shop office more efficient, particularly during this past year.

However, if collision repair shops are being asked to slice yet another piece of the bottom line pie to pay for network involvement, we strongly recommend that independent shop owners and managers study the matter carefully to determine if the expenditure will increase work and make money for your operations.

Some of those already involved in a network are very happy with the program - and some need more proof that whatever fee they have paid is money well-spent. INSIGHT will continue to keep a close watch on networks throughout 2003, and will be eager to hear about shop experiences across the nation.

The entire USA is watching the war effort in Iraq as INSIGHT goes to print this month. Our wish is for the safety of our troops and for a quick end to hostilities. Our prayers are for innocent victims of war and violence throughout our world. Our hope is that peace, both fair and just, will come to the human family in our lifetime and for all time.

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