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Trade markets require much higher availability of parts

Automated parts storage
Modern automated parts storage coupled with the latest technology will play an important role in opening up the green parts market.
The sale of second hand parts to the repair trade is a complicated business and the factors affecting it fall into a number of areas which we shall explore over the next few months. In this article we take look at the availibility of our products to the mass repair market.


Last issue we focussed on quality and the need for standards across the country that a garage or bodyshop can rely on. It’s alright knowing that the product will be of a quality suitable for the repair, but knowing you can get hold of it is another matter.

As with the quality issues discussed in the last issue, quantity is again up to us. The trade market will never develop unless ordering is simple and availability can be (almost) guaranteed. The argument that the repair trade can buy what we have available and then go somewhere else for what we don’t have isn’t going to wash. This makes it harder work for the garage and let’s face it, none of us take the hard option when it’s someone else who is paying the bill. The question is, “How can we supply in volume?”

This comes back to something that has come up before, we have to work together; we have to hunt as a pack so to speak, which is not something the dismantler in the UK has been very good at. Yes, there are small groups of auto recyclers such as the National Salvage Association (NSA) for example but what a small body can do is limited as we have to supply a national resource. This calls for many more of us working to effective systems and making our stock much more automated. Then software within the garage or bodyshop can automatically order. It has to be that easy if we want this mass market and the bright future that goes with it.

The volume is out there. We estimate that within the UK there are approximately 2,000 businesses that are authorised treatment facilities or involved in auto recycling. We are also well aware that a number of those are currently not interested in the parts side of the business and equally a number of those companies are just not up to the job. We believe what you are left with is a core of perhaps 500-750 businesses that see themselves as professional operations which want to grow and expand their businesses over the coming years. So these businesses must be where the volume of parts comes from.

Technology has to play a pivotal role in this. The systems operated for parts ordering by bodyshops and garages must be modified (or written) to allow for selection of used (and remanufactured) parts. This must include automatic ordering from a central location and supply by yards closest to the repair. We have recently spoken to a company that has been developing a system that they believe will meet this need and we hope to have a full review of its capabilities within the next couple of months. One thing’s for sure, all software in our yards will have to talk to each other for this to work.

There is another tricky issue that this raises - pricing. A system operating on this scale would have to also operate a fixed pricing system. Bodyshops and garages are not in the business of routing through a list of different yards all offering different prices. No, we would have to operate a pricing structure that is based on the new part price and related to the quality categorisation of that part. This way, everyone knows just where they stand.

Naturally the detail would be far more complex but without such standardisation we are never going to capitalise on the true value of our market place. Let’s face it, the time has never been better; technology is at a point to easily accommodate the requirements; we have key auto recyclers who now have experience of working with trade and insurance on a limited basis; and, we have a country that is almost bankrupt. The time for more effective repair costs could not be better!

In the next issue we shall look at the third key problem; the credibility of the auto recycling industry.

Developing a national green parts market for our industry is one of the major themes at this year’s CARS expo. There will be seminars and forums where we as an industry can move green parts forward.

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