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Technology gives us the opportunity to extend our markets, both to private and trade buyers

Increasing the vehicle dismantler's profit from used parts

Keeping track of your stock is key to any dismantler maximising his profits and that does mean computerisation. Those already well down the technological road have seen major benefits, especially when systems allow for selling over the internet. After all, it’s a big market out there - and now it doesn’t even cost you to dip your toe into the water.

So how do you get on the band wagon for free? It’s simple. Actual Systems’ Pinnacle Easy software is available for free. If you have not yet committed to computerising your stock then this might be just for you. Not only is ’Pinnacle Easy’ meant to be easy to use, you can download it for free! Actual tell us they have developed Pinnacle Easy for the progressive dismantler who perhaps isn’t ready for the “bells and whistles” of Pinnacle Pro, but would like to computerise their stock control and invoicing systems, list their parts on-line on systems such as Autopartstrader.co.uk, Bluecycle and CarParts-uk, and capitalise on the industry leading Pinnacle Interchange database to identify parts. In fact, it does everything a small dismantling operation will need a computer to do.

Their offer with the free download of Pinnacle Easy is, of course a marketing ploy to get you hooked on their system but marketing ploys only ever work if the goods turn into more profit. Actual’s UK Head, Dave Morgan is convinced it will and that’s what we need to focus on. After 25 years, no-one would dispute the ease of use and effectiveness of their software but it is the new developments allowed by technology that offer real hope for increased parts sales in the future.

The dismantling industry has always been held back by the insular attitude of many, being content to run their yard and sell to their locality, but the world has changed. The motor car has become more complex and the young men of previous generations no longer tinker with their cars in the numbers they used to. Many can now afford to buy new cars and use garages when needed - not a great model for future business.

Then along came the internet and suddenly many dismantlers realised the vastness of the market that existed past their own locality. Items such as the odd alloy wheel suddenly became saleable, whole cars bought and sold from the other side of the world and the boom in couriers making transport of used parts affordable. The change has been both swift and extensive. What the computer achieves through programs such as Pinnacle’s Software, apart from making it easy to manage our stock, is to link us all together.

What does all this mean? Quite simply, you have instantly extended your market to the whole of the UK and beyond, whilst at the same time increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your business by having full control of your stock. Your parts will be available to anyone searching for those parts. Just as an example, take a look at Autopartstrader.co.uk and you can see how your stock could be instantly available to an enormous customer base without lifting a finger. Extremely common parts may be saleable locally but those less common parts now have a wide audience and can command good prices. Pinnacle also has a link to eBay which makes listing very straight forward. This is proving very popular worldwide, in fact one of our US customers has around 20,000 parts listed at any time!

Another big plus is that other sites can sell your parts and you can sell parts from other sites. Why do you want to do that? Because by being able to say ‘yes’ to your customer there is every chance he/she will come back to you, plus you will make on the part you are selling from the other yard. This really is a win win situation.

Taking all this a stage further, by linking together through these technologies, the insurance industry will at last be able to rely on volume supplies from our industry. The potential for increased sales through insurance and general garage work is vast, far outstripping our current hopes and aspirations. And don’t take my word for it. In the States only 5% of the dismantlers’ sales are to the general public. Imagine the volumes the repair trade could take if can get our act together. This is way more than icing on the cake!

Is this but a dream, is it just hope, or is technology now giving us a real opportunity to capitalise on our businesses? The volume of used parts sales is just a drip compared to the flow of new parts sales but to benefit from the technologies being offered to us we must all work as an industry and not individuals.

Actual Systems have been serving the dismantling industry for a quarter of a century now. In that time the company has expanded far and wide, employing in excess of 50 personnel in the UK, USA and Australia. We visited their Edinburgh base to find out what benefits they plan for the industry in the future. This is what we found out.

Dave Morgan
Actual's Dave Morgan
"it's all about increasing sales"
Speaking to Actual’s Dave Morgan, it becomes clear that there is so much happening with technology to make life easier and more efficient. Simple things such as picking up addresses from just the postcode can save so much time, the same applies with VIN look ups. Caller ID can bring up the records when a customer rings so it’s there in front of you, again saving time and effort. Have you considered the time that all these minor operations take in a week? Perhaps you could reduce your staff numbers or deploy them in more profitable ways with the time you save.

We have seen portable computers for use in the yard for many years but the latest generation of PDAs and smart phones do so much more. They’re small, you can take photos, access and update your stock on your main system, scan barcodes, you can even use them as a telephone!

Actual believe a big change that’s coming is the use of RFID tags for stock. These small chips allow your system to automatically know what is in stock. All parts within range are registered. The PDA we mentioned earlier will be able to give you access to information from your system wherever you are, as long as you have a signal. Mobile web usage is already fast becoming the norm.

Some of us have a natural dislike of computers and technology, but we have no choice but to embrace it if we want our industry to prosper. Used correctly, it should save us time on mundane tasks and allow us to increase our sales to much higher levels which should lead to increased profits! That’s what we all want but it is really up to us!

Contact point

To find out more about Actual systems complete range of products, visit
their website.

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