Portsmouth Home to 700th Bodyshop to gain the BSI Kitemark Certification

Press release - 29 June 2010

ABL Portsmouth, a bodyshop in Portsmouth, has become the 700th bodyshop to gain the BSI Kitemark certification, setting the high standards that consumers and fleet managers expect when having their cars repaired. In addition, they achieved this in just two months.

To gain the highly regarded Kitemark, the vehicle body repair shops must prove that they conform to tough standards. These include strict requirements that focus on skills, repair methods, equipment and materials. All these elements are then assessed by independent BSI inspectors and must meet stringent benchmarks if the valuable Kitemark is to be awarded by BSI.

ABL Portsmouth opened in April this year but is part of the ABL Accident Repair Group, which is an independent company comprising of two other bodyshops based in Redhill, Surrey. Autobody Language Ltd the original shop has been running for 17 years and both the other two sites hold the BSI Kitemark. Portsmouth was opened predominantly to service existing work providers who were looking for coverage in the area. Portsmouth repairs 150 cars per month currently and has 15 members of staff.

David Morriss, managing director at ABL Portsmouth commented: “Kitemark certification is the way forward, standardising the quality of repairers. Our whole company ethos is now based on PAS 125 and Kitemark, we have felt the benefits of putting in place the evidence-based disciplines. We believe that we had most of the disciplines before we gained the approval, but they were not evidence-based and therefore could not be judged or evaluated.

“The PAS 125 and Kitemark structure has helped us focus our business and make people more accountable. It was because of previous knowledge and being able to replicate the systems that were in place at the other two sites that we were able to gain the approval in such a short space of time. It has tightened up all our internal processes, which actually makes the company run smoother.

“We also found it easier to set the standard at this site in Portsmouth, as it was completely new with predominantly new staff, therefore we did not have to change employees’ ways of working but just set the disciplines and processes in place so that everyone joining the company understood that this was the only way forward.

“I also believe the main benefit for ABL Accident Repair Group is the motivation the ATA qualification can give to our employees. This structure has, for the first time, provided a career path for our skilled staff. It provides recognition of their value to the company, combined with additional responsibility. This is the much needed stepping stone which will enable good workshop employees to climb the ladder to Workshop Controller and Bodyshop Manager.”

ABL Portsmouth’s future expansion plans are, with the support of their insurance partners, to expand further in 2011 and PAS 125 and Kitemark will be a fundamental part of this expansion.

Scott Hanney, business development manager at BSI added: “We are impressed with the dedication shown by the team at ABL Portsmouth bodyshop in achieving the Kitemark especially in such a short space of time and we truly believe that it will benefit their organisation and their customers. By gaining the certification it demonstrates how serious the bodyshop is about getting critical vehicle body repair safety processes right. “