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Technology is key to ASM’s future

ASM Auto Reycling
ASM Auto Recycling takes parts sales seriously, using the very best systems on offer to maximise the number of parts sold per vehicle whilst maximimising price.
Oxfordshire based, ASM Auto Recycling is one of the more progressive operations in the UK, constantly analysing and taking advantage of what they see as benefits to the business. One area that creates a real benefit for ASM is the use of technology, and as one of the main users of DH System’s Frontier Salvage and Vehicle Dismantling system (which has recently seen major enhancements), we thought it time to take a closer look.

ASM’s history goes back to the 70’s when the business was a scrap operation, getting a few scrap cars in. The purchase of a yard in the 80’s that included vehicle dismantling, was the way founder, Pat McDonagh, entered this sector. The business was based in Aylesbury, Bucks, but when the need for more space became essential, availability of the right site around Aylesbury proved to be a problem. Eventually they found the 10-acre site in Thame, Oxon, previously owned by a manufacturer of porta-cabins.

Today, ASM has five sites based around Oxfordshire, Bucks, Beds and Herts., and the business is split into two entities - automotive recycling and scrap metal recycling.

Moving to Thame also saw ASM expand its vehicle auctions. At this time, their traditional physical auctions were replaced by an online auction platform. Director Chris Morgan said, “We were very fortunate to know Richard Martin at Motorhog, who we partnered-up with to widen both companies auction customer bases. His experience in the online marketplace meant we were up-and-running very quickly and without too many teething problems”.

Whilst salvage plays a significant role in the business, there is an equal emphasis on parts sales as well. ASM, as with other key Frontier users, have been very much involved in the development of the system, ensuring that the software does what they need it too.

DH systems at ASM
Automated systems (thanks to DH Systems' Frontier salvage and parts packages designed for the dismantler), keeps processing costs down, reduces errors and returns, maximising the profit from each part.
MD of the business, Paul McDonagh explained, “We can’t really control or predict the future of our marketplace, and as a business we just have to function according to whatever legislators decide, and also, how car manufacturers alter the designs of their vehicles. Our profits are therefore very much dependant on maximising revenues from every vehicle that enters our sites, and that means trying to sell as many parts as possible.”

As with all auto recyclers, the market has changed over the years. Gone are the hoards of DIYers routing around the yard on a Saturday afternoon, to be replaced by the garage trade who are now carrying out those repairs on their behalf. Paul said, “40-50% of our business is parts sales and of that, approximately 75% goes into the trade”. A fleet of six vans are kept busy delivering parts over a large area. Ebay is also an important part of the business, with a separate manager responsible for identifying those items on vehicles that might not sell from the yard but that are more likely to on eBay.

To maximise the profit on a part, it isn’t only a matter of getting the best price for it. Getting that part off the vehicle and to the customer with the minimum of cost is equally important, and that’s where the latest version of Frontier Dismantling comes in. This is far more than just a stock control package these days, it’s now a really comprehensive dismantling system. It lets the sales team know if a part is available, it then tells the dismantler to remove the part, and then advises the sales team that the part has been removed and is ready for despatch.

Putting it as simply as this really doesn’t do the system justice. If we take that first statement, is the part available? In days gone by you might know you have a Corsa alternator in stock, but today you need to know which one of three possible variations is the right one.

Vehicle recognition often ensures you know what the customer wants (even if he isn’t sure), but if you haven’t got that Corsa alternator in stock, is the same one fitted to a different model? This is an area that DH Systems has really worked on (and continues to do so) as no one wants to lose a sale. DH has built a parts inter-change based on original equipment manufacturers' part numbers so that you can be sure that you have the correct item. Detailed parts matching is an on-going programme and will only get better and better as time goes on. In the meantime, ASM are selling more parts than ever before!

There’s a huge benefit gained through automated communication between the various functions. There are no phones in use, instead touch screens now show the individuals what job to do. Once completed, the same touch pad will then indicate to despatch and sales that the item is now ready and checked. This is all about efficiency. Minimise the time taken to do the job, reduce the likelihood of errors, and cut down on the volume of returned parts.

ASM are very pro-active when it comes to the processing of their scrap arisings from cars, not really surprising given that their sister-company is ASM Metal Recycling. However, they haven’t yet invested in one of the specialist grab attachments for their 360, instead preferring to use a four tine grab to remove engines and gearboxes and then hand remove the bulk of the wiring.

So what of the future? Paul said, “We don’t really do anything different to any other salvage companies, but we just try and ensure that our customer service levels are as good as they can possibly be. DH Systems' improvements in parts data matching is a big step in helping us to serve all of our customers even better… the insurance companies, the body shops and everyone else.

You can visit ASM's website and on-line auction here and if you want to know more about DH Systems and their Frontier parts and salvage, click here.

February 2015

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