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Green Parts Survey - it’s not good news

Bodyshops and green parts
The potential for green parts is huge and this survey should point us in the right direction.
The ABP (Auto Body Professionals) recently surveyed over 1,500 bodyshops (ABP members and non-members) of all sizes, franchised and non-franchised, single site and multi-site on the use of green parts. Many of the responses don’t make good reading but the message is clear; if we want serious volumes of trade sales then we’ve got to buck our ideas up!


The on-line survey included 10 multiple choice questions with the aim of assessing the attitude of the body repair industry to using green parts. The questions were designed to show where resistance from trade markets exists. The survey was instigated and designed by FAB’s Jason Cross, who must be the country’s leading trade supplier of quality, green parts to an approved standard.

Jason Cross said, Here at FAB we have worked tirelessly to build relationships with trade and fleet outlets and we are now recognised as a reliable, worthwhile supplier who can offer trade markets both environmental and economic benefits. The reason for the survey was two fold, firstly to pinpoint key areas where the auto recycling industry is failing the repair sector, but equally important was to show up any misconceptions the repair industry has about the use of green parts”.

The results were given at the Autobody & Motor Claims Expo in Manchester on March 25th and make interesting reading - The 10 questions with our conclusions are listed below but the full list of responses is well worth a read and can be found on the MVDA blog here. We recommend you open the blog on a separate page for reference.
How frequently have you fitted green parts in your body shop in the last year?
The response here was quite positive with only 12% saying they had never fitted a green part. Unfortunately, as you read on, the 88% who had fitted green parts were not always raving about them!
Why don’t you use more green parts?
There were numerous reasons but it comes down to no demand, poor quality and poor availability. Two of those issues are directly down to us and the third (demand) will grow when we correct the other two issues.
If you have fitted green parts in the last year, what was the reason?
By far the biggest reason for using a green part was to save a vehicle from becoming a write off. How many other vehicles could have been saved with our parts? The other big reason was for jobs where the customer (rather than insurance) was paying. This area of business is wide open to us if we only get our act together. The spend per year on parts in this non insurance repair area alone is £215 million!
If you have fitted green parts in the last year, how did you obtain them?
The responses are split between local salvage suppliers and ebay. What’s interesting is that only a few companies were mentioned by name. This demonstrates to us that the bulk of dismantlers aren't being recgonised as specific suppliers. Just being 'ebay' or one of the 'local yards' means you're not standing out like those 14 individual businesses that were named.
Do any of your current insurance work providers request the use of green parts on their repairs?
Here again, saving a write off comes out tops followed very closely by no request ever given for green parts use.
Given a choice of parts to repair a vehicle, would you fit green parts as a preference over aftermarket (non-OE) parts?
9% did state that this was their body shop’s standard practice and 54% did occasionally, depending on criteria use a green part. But then 37% would rather use an after market part than a used OEM part. This says loud and clear, no faith in the part they will be supplied! We need quality standards and quality service if we are to open up this market.
Would you like the opportunity to have a ‘one stop shop’ single contact option available when ordering your crash repair parts that would provide new OE or green OE or non-OE items?
Apart form the 11% who had no preference, this was pretty evenly split between those who would like a ‘one stop shop’ (providing the service was quick, straight forward to use and cost effective) and those who preferred to retain their existing supply chain options. Again, the ball’s in your court and the key statement here is “quick, straight forward to use and cost effective".
Would a straight forward easy to understand national grading standard for green parts help with your decision to use green parts in your body shop?
OK, 18% said no, so they are the hard nuts to crack, but that leaves 82% who said either yes or possibly. This is a no brainer. We already have a grading system that we can all work to starting tomorrow. FAB work to it, Andy Latham is running courses on how to work to it - as we previously stated, the ball’s in your court!
Do you have a comment on what the green parts industry needs to do to gain greater acceptance within the crash repair industry?
Make sure you go and read these responses, here’s the link again. This is the body repair industry, a huge potential customer telling us what they want. It’s not all bad and it’s not only the auto recycler who needs to change, the insurance industry must amend their attitudes as well.
If you believe that you would never be interested in using green parts in your body shop, could you please state your reasons
Again, please read list if you seriously want to build your business. Here’s a taste of a few responses. "If we could source and get a correct, good quality part then we’d rather fit green than non-OE - No reason not to use green parts as long as customers fully accept - Too much trouble in terms of quality, part variations and inconsistent supply". These comments are from repairers who say they would never be interested in fitting green parts. It isn't hard to see from these statements that given the right circumstances, these bodyshops could become regular customers.
atfPro’s Conclusion
Although there’s plenty of negatives, there is also a lot of ‘maybe’s’ and ‘possibly’s’ in their with provisos. Most of those provisos we can fix and fix quite easily. Quality, quantity and service. It is possible, FAB Recycling has proven it time and time again. Even in this issue of atfPro, My Green Fleet (a FAB company) has announced a tie up with British Gas. This is a huge market for us and there's plenty of business to go around but we have to do it right.

Maybe it’s time for a group of professional dismantlers to get together to form the supply chain that’s needed, all working to the same recognised standards. I would suggest that FAB could spearhead this movement as they have more than demonstrated what is required to be an accredited supplier to trade markets. I’m sure Jason Cros won’t thank me for putting his name forward but the reality is that you may think you know how to supply the trade markets but we believe FAB actually KNOWS how to supply them. If this is something that may be of interest or you have views or opinions of your own, then let us know, email the editor, Chris Floate.

May 2015

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