Volume 13, Issue 1 - January/February 2009

15 Minutes With

Barb Moran
of Moran Industries

Moran Industries is a Midlothian, Ill.-based franchiser that specializes in the automotive aftermarket. The company has seen great success over the years in operating multiple brand names and now more than 200 franchise locations. In March of 2008, Moran Industries broke away from its traditional segments by launching the companyís first window film-exclusive franchise called SmartView Window Solutions.

At the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Window Film had the opportunity to sit down with the companyís chief executive officer, Barb Moran, for a brief interview. Here is a condensed version of what transpired:

WF: Barb, your background is in the automotive aftermarket industry, but recently you made the decision to enter both the architectural and automotive window film segments with an exclusive franchise. How long did it take you to make a decision and bring this concept to fruition?

Moran: I would say itís been about a three year, maybe a little bit longer, process. That includes about a year and a half of beta testing in our facilities. Then there was an evaluation period to see if it could really stand alone, followed by the development of manuals, business systems, training structures, brand creation and such. So, it was definitely a little over a three year process.

WF: Looking back, what would you say are some of the key differences between entering the window film product segment versus others?

Moran: Well, first of all I would say that the automotive aftermarket segment has dramatically changed over the years. It used to be that you specialized in your given field; now, whatís happened is, consumers want one place to go to Ö they donít always know exactly what they want. What we wanted to do is, we wanted to create lead generation through various product lines and services, but all automotive related.

When we originally recognized a need in the automotive tint market, we had reviewed [the flat glass side] ten years earlier and discovered it was mainly a commercially-embraced product, rather than residential. But once manufacturers recognized which product quality changes they needed to make in order to capture the residential market, thatís when we decided to look at it again. Then the challenge was driving consumers to us and then introducing them to other [residential] product lines.

WF: With the economy as it is, perhaps more than ever, tinters are inevitably considering diversifying their product and service offerings to make up for slower sales. What advice would you offer window film professionals who are facing this decision?

Moran: Well, first and foremost, you have to do beta testing. My father [who founded Moran Industries] first thought of co-branding in the early 90s. At that time, he began buying companies of various concepts that were not just in his areaóthe transmission segment. He looked at and began adding other segments, including undercoating services, window tint, car audio and alarms, to name a few. But he spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make all of these work together. You canít always throw everything together, but certain things just naturally blend.

When I look at those in the [automotive] window film business Ö I donít know that they should be looking at things like the audio or alarm sectors, as much as they should be looking at ways to evolve into a green conceptóhow they can bring in things that are outside of automotive to diversify this concept. For me, I would say itís not so much looking within automotive, but looking at other areas [within film], because theyíre already in film and they can offer carbon footprint advantages.

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