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UK Recyclers Road Trip - a lot of fun and loads of ideas!

UK Recyclers Road Trip
This year's Road Trip was bigger and better than ever. It's hard to explain just how much your business can benefit from seeing ideas in other countries that you can then bring home and implement here.

30 people, two lobsters, too many cars to count, 4 recyclers, over 650 miles and 2 awards. What am I talking about? The UK Recyclers Road Trip to the Automotive Recyclers Association Annual Convention. Andy Latham reports on the trip.

Meeting in Boston, recyclers from the UK, Ireland and Poland travelled across seven states visiting Robertson’s Auto Salvage, MA, Bishop’s Auto Parts, CT, Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts, CT and Chuck’s Auto Salvage, PA, before arriving in Baltimore, MA, for the Automotive Recyclers Association’s 73rd Annual Convention and Expo.

Robertson’s Auto Salvage is probably unique in being attached to a GMC franchised dealer, owned by the same family, that has just gone through a multi-million dollar refurbishment. With over 20 acres of land the yard stretches towards the nearby highway, the yard is equipped with de-pollution and dismantling bays, parts storage and offices/showroom. The tour visitors were welcomed with coolers full of beer (at 10.30 in the morning), and given a full tour of the facilities, including the GMC dealership.

Following a recommendation from Bubba Robertson, a large group diverted to Woods Hole for lunch where some of the team tackled the local lobster.

An evening meal at a Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse saw performances from talented chefs who provided fun and entertainment as they cooked our food in front of us. There are videos somewhere of some of the guys drinking Saki - see if you can find them!

Day two dawned cold and crisp with some of us having to scrape ice off the cars before we travelled to Bishop’s Auto Spares. Once again the welcome was very warm and hospitality was excellent. Again, lots of space with plenty of buildings for vehicle dismantling and parts storage, and every member of staff was very open and welcoming. Bishops are a proud member of Team PRP (see more here) and were able to give the whole team an idea of the difference this has made to their sales - being able to YES more often to customers has resulted in many more parts sales, much increased profitability, improved customer retention and repeat sales.

Following a short drive, Toms Foreign Auto Parts welcomed us all to their facility. Much smaller than the previous two with vehicles stored on racking, Tom’s (as its name suggests) handles non US vehicles, giving it a very similar feel to yards in the UK. Seen in both of the days visits were unique ways of packaging and sending large panels utilising two pallets, plenty of packing and a little bit of lateral thinking - an area I will develop more in another article. The visit included pizza, doughnuts and British tea!

Day three saw us travelling to another very warm welcome at Chuck’s Auto Salvage. One of our tour members said to me afterwards “for me, Chucks was the highlight of the trip. So similar to my own yard in both size and layout, mostly hardcore with a mixture of car racking and vehicles on the ground. They have a really nice slick operation, with unbelievable sales figures from such a small yard. It really shows that size doesn’t always matter, it’s all about good management and setting high standards throughout your business. I believe PRP membership has transformed this business, and my aim for the next year is to improve my overall business model and standards to those seen at Chuck’s.”

I don’t think I need to say much more about this operation other than quote Doug Reinert, owner of Chuck’s and ARA past President, who said “Our family and staff really enjoyed the opportunity to visit and share ideas with other recyclers. It was quite a treat to have the international interaction. Still a buzz here talking about the UK Recyclers Road Trip visit.”

Leaving Chuck’s, the group travelled to Baltimore for the ARA Convention and Expo where we were able to celebrate two special awards - Jason Cross receiving the award as ARA Member of the Year and Allen Prebble being given the President’s Award - Congratulations to both - there’s a separate article about this.

The 74th ARA Annual Convention and Expo is being held in Dallas from November 1st to November 4th 2017, plans are already taking shape for the UK Recyclers Road Trip and more details will be made available early in the new year, if you want to be kept informed then it will be announced on ATF Professional first or you can register with Andy Latham for regular updates.

December 2016

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