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Delivering your parts - do you recognise this problem?

body panels
Packaging and delivery both have to be right if you don't want damaged goods.
We receive plenty of emails and calls from readers letting us know of issues affecting their businesses, but one theme that has become common place is parts delivery. Here’s what one reader told us recently - are you in same boat, or perhaps have found a solution?

“A recent problem we have is in relation to delivery of large body panels such as bumpers and doors. I believe some coverage on this would really benefit readers of your newsletter. Most couriers don’t want to take these large items, but the ones that do are refusing to pay for damages and are volumising the packages, resulting in horrendously expensive charges. This can be £50 - £60 per item when it’s normally £15 - £20. We have run out of options so all our panels are now collection only, I just wonder how other dismantlers are coping with this change? Or if there is another option for sending panels?”

The internet has meant that more and more parts sales are out of region and your means of delivery is critical. OK, many items are relatively robust and reasonably proportioned, and this suits your average delivery company. But when you take body panels for example, you are looking at large, light, easily damaged parts which require a certain amount of care, not only at the packaging stage, but also at the transportation stage.

One area you have control over is the packaging - let us know what works for you. Speaking to a leading auto recycler raised this issue. The delivery business is so competitive that prices have generally been driven down to the floor, with automated sorting facilities where parcels can get knocked about and delivery men having an ever increasing number of parcels per day to move. Items are going to suffer and your packaging must allow for this. Everything must be in a box and that box must give enough protection. The example this auto recycler gave us was of a headlight that then has a cylinder head put on top of it. This is what’s going to happen and the packaging must be strong enough to cater for it.

What you don’t have any control over is what happens when that part leaves your premises. We know of larger outfits that have gained control of the situation by setting up their own transport network to cover the country, but this isn’t an option for the smaller operator. Unfortunately, the smaller operator still has the same needs for his/her parts as the multi-site operator.

We spoke to John Bradfield from a company which is involved in delivery (but mainly in van hire). He talked through some of the issues he had come across, but what we liked was that he recognised that there is a major problem with auto recyclers when it comes to delivery costs and damages. “We have seen instances where the seller has received a delivery charge of £130 for a £100 item. None of us thinks that makes any sense”, he explained.

We’ve spoke further with him about the potential to set up a national service for the auto recycler which would cater for the industry’s particular requirements. He felt this should be a way forward, providing the users worked to recognised packaging methods and the courier worked to a recognised care routine. Unfortunately, that packaging and care may cost more than the average courier, so would it be used? After all, this could only work with enough volume.

On the face of it, we all naturally go for the cheapest option, but there’s more to this. Perhaps there are greater savings to be had from reduced returns of damaged goods and, there should be increased repeat sales due to higher customer satisfaction.

Here at atfPro, we would like to try and follow this one through. We plan in the new year to run a series of articles focused on best practice for packaging the range of items covered by the auto recycler and what we need a courier to do, to keep our items from being damaged.

If you have problems, and think this a worthwhile endeavour, then let us know, as if enough businesses are interested, then perhaps you can build your own network that gives you the service you need, at a fair price that doesn’t break the bank. email us here if you think this makes sense and you would be interested to follow its development.

January 2016

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