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Technology continues to improve parts locator services

1st Choice Spares
Increasing parts sales is key to the future of many reader's businesses and parts locator systems are constantly changing to help that happen.
Technology has revolutionised the opportunities parts locator systems offer the vehicle dismantler. We take a look at the UK’s leading supplier, 1st Choice Spares to see what’s available from parts location companies today.


Nick Elia founded 1st Choice Spares over 20 years ago and in that time has seen what was a call centre driven business change into a technology business. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the business model was all about premium rate telephone numbers, fax machines and rooms full of operators taking details.

Today parts location is internet based, and 1st Choice is at the top of the tree. Initially, the internet model reflected the old telephone based systems with requests being taken on-line (rather than phone) and then either faxed or later emailed. These were basically dumb systems. In other words, if you were a subscriber to 1st Choice you would receive all requests.

Now, with developments in technology, these systems are much slicker with the emphasis on the dismantler only getting what he wants. This saves the need for wasting time on requests that aren’t applicable. The criteria that can be set are detailed and extensive, the obvious one being manufacturers and models. But you can drill down much deeper, selecting the type of parts you want enquiries for - engines or gearboxes for example. So, if you specialise in Nissan gearboxes, then that’s all you get. If you specialise in a range of models, say Volkswagens and BMW’s that’s no problem either. You decide what marks and what parts, you can even specify 4x4s or vans.

Another great way of selection is by postcode. Say, for example you don’t offer mail order but you can offer local delivery, then you may wish to only take enquiries from your locality. This also works if you offer collection only. There are many other options on this system which can be tailored to suit the way you operate.

Another aspect that parts locator systems such as 1st Choice take seriously is the quality of their subscribers. Nick explained, “We want our service users to deal with professional dismantlers only. Otherwise, they won’t come back”. To help weed out disreputable operators, 1st Choice have a star rating so buyers can see how good the supplier they are dealing with is. The criteria that make up a company’s star rating includes aspects such as the length of time on the system, the number of complaints against them, and the way they resolved those complaints. “Nobody wants an unhappy customer”, Nick explained.

Changes and improvements are continuing all the time and their latest development is into on-line salvage auctions. At the time of writing the launch was planned for early in the New Year. The exciting point about 1st Choice’s auction is that there are no commissions, just a fixed fee which should bring down the cost. We shall let you know and give you a full report when the auction is available. For more information, you can visit 1st Choice's website here.

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