Industry Leader Interview – Mark Bull FIMI, Managing Director of Auto Body Projects and Trend Tracker Limited

We’ve been chatting to Mark Bull FIMI, Managing Director of Auto Body Projects and Trend Tracker Limited.

How did you get to where you are today?

I guess it started back in 1979 when I first entered the automotive industry as an apprentice with Leicestershire Co-operative. In a relatively short time-frame I rose from being an apprentice to a position of group manager for fleet, transport and retail garages, including a number of bodyshops, by the time I parted with the company in 1996.

I then enjoyed 7 years at the RMI as National Manager for the Bodyshop Services and Independent Garages divisions, before moving back into the commercial world as UK Network Manager at Zurich Insurance.

In 2006 an opportunity arose to become director at Auto Body Professionals Club where I remained as co-owner until July 2017.  In conjunction, I also became owner/director of Auto Body Projects, which I continue to trade through today.

Having decided to move on to pastures new following a challenging period toward the latter end of my time as co-owner of Auto Body Professionals Club, I now enjoy a healthy work/life balance and have been delighted with ‘project Trend Tracker’; an opportunity that I saw approximately 18 months ago, which added to my Auto Body Projects consultancy business.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry?

There are many challenges faced by body repairers, motor insurers and suppliers alike, but to deal with these and to appreciate respective positions, one of the biggest challenges continues to be that of communication and positive engagement by all stakeholders.

How are you and your business dealing with this?

Trend Tracker’s recently published ‘Future of the UK Car Body Repair Market 2019-2024’ provides independent market research and analysis around many of the challenges, which aids constructive dialogue to be based on evidence, rather than hearsay.

Via Auto Body Projects, the aim is to engage with like-minded people/businesses in open and transparent dialogue to develop a more rounded understanding of respective positions and requirements.

You’ve become a strategic partner for the new ARC 360 event, explain your reasons why?

Firstly, I was delighted to be approached to be a strategic partner and it appears clear to me the market is seeking an innovative, fresh and a more dynamic approach to networking; ARC 360 is a vehicle that has an aspiration to listen to what the market wants and deliver upon it. That’s the simple attraction for me, helping to deliver what the market wants.

Out of your business achievements, what are you most proud of and why? 

That’s a difficult one as I’ve enjoyed much of my working career, always looking to enhance each business that I’ve had the privilege of working for, but with the Trend Tracker market report being my most recent accomplishment, I’m extremely proud of the final result – the final ‘Future of the UK Body Repair Market’ report – which analyses where we are today within the accident repair and motor insurance industries.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the industry?

Be willing, be aspirational, be hard working, ethical in your approach and never doubt your own abilities; be knowledgeable, likeable and respectful along the way and don’t tolerate mediocrity, it’ll only hold you back!  …and if you become unhappy with those around you, move on!

If you could change anything what would you do to make the industry "Better tomorrow”?

Although the motor insurance and repair industries have been labeled as dysfunctional, I feel that both do an incredible job in their respective markets. Embrace new technologies, develop creative solutions and encourage meaningful cross-business or cross-industry communication.

What's your top tip for being productive?

That’s fairly simple, application and focus.

What gadget can't you live without?

I’d like to think I’m not dependent on gadgets, I’m not materialistic in that way, however we’ve all become slaves to our smartphones, so that’s the go-to gadget I guess; I do prefer to pick-up my guitar though!

Talent or Perseverance? 

Perseverance. If you have the talent, perseverance will see it shine through.

What do you do to switch off or escape from work?

Just the norm here. I’m a big Leeds United fan and that’s far more stressful than anything related to work!  Music, especially live music, golf, sport, theatre and holidays with family are the other extra-curricular activities that I enjoy when switching off, ooh and I’ve been known to like the odd beer to relax as well!

Be willing, be aspirational, be hard working, ethical in your approach and never doubt your own abilities

Mark Bull


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