Ron Nagy remembers when he and his management team finally decided they needed to consolidate. The company was about to add its fifth location (Nagy's Collision Center now has eight shops in Ohio), and the leadership was spread across multiple sites.
"There are just too many times you have to talk face to face with people, even with e-mail and all the technology we have now," says Nagy, president and co-owner of the company. Nagy's centralized its corporate offices at a central site in Orrville to house marketing, bookkeeping, accounting, finance and other functions.
"We centralize anything we can to save money," Nagy says.
For owners who are expanding from one or two locations to multiple sites, there always comes a point at which certain functions like purchasing, accounts payable, human resources, payroll or IT support have to be consolidated. Doing so requires a balancing of responsibilities among the central office staff and the location managers, and instituting consistent procedures and processes to help make sure that documents and data flow seamlessly between the field and upper management.
Caliber Collision, which operations hundreds of shops in multiple states, has a multi-tiered management structure. Location managers report to regional/state-level managers, who in turn report to corporate headquarters. Human resources functions are spread through each state, although the department is centrally managed from the Louisville, Texas headquarters. Employee benefits and payroll processing are centralized there, as well.
The key to keeping everything in sync is to recognize the role of the centralized functions. "From my perspective, we understand very clearly that we're a support organization for the field," says Bob Kliewe, chief financial officer at Caliber. "The field team is working with our customers to restore their vehicles. Our goal is to maintain stability and support the field in any way we possibly can."