Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Vehicle Repair Licensing

Which of these is the odd one out?
  • Hairdresser
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Collision Repair Centre
  • Petshop Owner
  • Chiropodist

If you said Collision Repair Centre you would be correct - all of the others need to be licensed to operate, yet there is no professional licensing requirement for collision repair centres, vehicle servicing and repair centres or vehicle recycling and dismantling yards*. I find it amazing that any vehicle, that has been designed and developed to exacting requirements to meet national and international standards on construction and use, to get the best crash test ratings from Euro NCAP or IIHS, can go to an unlicensed repair facility to have major accident damage repaired. 

Over the last 13 weeks Salvage Wire have been releasing podcasts that feature inspiring and challenging members of the automotive and vehicle recycling industry, and one of the questions we asked was ‘one thing that the government could do that would make the guests jobs much easier’, and in almost every case licensing was their answer; either licensing the business or the individuals completing the work.

Our completely unscientific survey results came from individuals in the automotive recycling industry and the collision repair industry based in the UK, Canada and the USA, and what does this tell us?

There is a drive to professionalise these industries from within the industries.

There is no desire amongst politicians to introduce licensing for vehicle technicians.

Professional Standards
As vehicles get ever more complex the technicians working on them need to be well trained and educated so that they can diagnose, test and repair these highly complicated systems or repair the vehicle structure so that it performs exactly as intended if involved in another accident or incident. 
The UK based, Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has been campaigning for years to get a licensing requirement into UK legislation and now know that this will not occur under the current government, so have changed their focus and are getting vehicle technicians to become ‘Tech Safe’ registered. This registration shows that the technician has completed training, is continuing to learn through continual professional development (CPD), and works to a set of standards set down by the IMI.
The UK collision repair sector has been working to a high set of standards that are now administered by British Standards - the worlds first national standards body and a leading global standards maker. Achievement of this standard is a requirement of many vehicle insurers and work providers for the repair of their policyholders vehicles.
The Vehicle Recyclers Association in the UK has recently launched a vehicle recycler certification programme in conjunction with e-bay, this is part of a push to get a greater share of the insurance funded collision repair market and supply reclaimed (or recycled) parts into this marketplace. 
All of this highlights a push towards a much greater standard of professionalism in the industry, where vehicles are repaired to the best standards possible, protecting vehicle owners, drivers and passengers from potential poor quality and sub-standard repairs. By getting businesses and their employees trained, registered, completing continual professional development and renewing their registration every three years standards will be lifted, work providers, vehicle owners and users will recognise the need for quality, licensed and accredited technicians and the unlicensed, untrained businesses will either raise their standards or leave the industry.
This is so relevant for the vehicle recycling industry, there have been complaints for many years about illegal operators undermining legitimate business; there is now an opportunity to do something about this by setting and raising standards, getting businesses and employees trained, accredited and registered; marketing the professional standard of the business and staff, providing the best quality parts, service and advice, and driving a bigger gap between legitimate and illegal operators.
But why should the industry do this? This is the government’s responsibility! Well, maybe, but in the current UK government we have a legislative body that does not want to introduce more regulations, rules and red tape so they have actively turned their back on this sort of activity. This means that the industry needs to take action, which it is doing. The onus is now on business owners and industry leaders to take the next step, invest in themselves, their businesses and their employees; be trained, accredited and certified, set the example and shout about it to attract new business opportunities, new partnerships with fleets, insurers and other work providers, set the best standards for service and quality parts so it becomes less about price and more about reputation and quality, and leave the illegals to their own, low value, low standard, marketplace.

For more information on certified reclaimed parts  - http://www.vracertification.org.uk


*All businesses have to be registered with various bodies and organisations (such as the UK Environment Agency), however some avoid this registration and enforcement can be poor; this is in direct contradiction to the situation that pet groomers, hairdressers and tattoo artists find themselves in!

Monday, 1 June 2020

Recommended Reading and Listening List

Over the years the Salvage Wire team has read and listened to hundreds of books, radio shows and podcasts and the list below gives a snapshot of some of our favourites and the ones that have impacted us most.
We are sure that readers can add more to the list and your suggestions are welcome.

Books
The One Minute Manager - Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson 

Servant Leadership in Action - Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell

Good to Great - Jim Collins

David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell

Permission to Screw Up - Kristen Hadeed


The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - John C Maxwell

Developing the Leader Within You - John C Maxwell

Profit First - Mike Michalowicz

Building a Storybrand - Donald Miller

Entreleadership - Dave Ramsey

The Trident - Jason Redman

The 5 Second Rule - Mel Robbins

The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek

Black Box Thinking - Matthew Syed

Born to Win - Zig Ziglar

Proverbs - The Holy Bible


Note: Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell have written extensively, if you like these books there are many more from both authors.


Podcast and Radio

Entreleadership podcast

Storybrand podcast

The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast

Depollution from Salvage Wire

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Battery Database

Every year there are fires in scrapyards across the world, in many cases the cause of the fire is not known but a large number are suspected to have been caused by batteries being mixed with the scrap.
Salvage Wire are calling on all vehicle manufacturers to release data that shows how many batteries are fitted in each vehicle, where they are and how to remove them.

The number of fires is causing concern across the scrap metal and vehicle recycling industries and action needs to be taken to reduce the volume of fires experienced.
One way is to make certain that all batteries are removed from end of life vehicles prior to these vehicles being crushed or shredded.

How difficult is that? I hear many ask. Surely these vehicles have a 12v lead acid battery that is normally in the engine bay, is easy to see because it is large and has two heavy leads going to the positive and negative terminals.
Agree, but many vehicles now have more than one battery in them, and some of these batteries are hidden away inside the vehicle and all of batteries need to be removed from the vehicle before the vehicle is crushed.

As an example, an Opel/Vauxhall Mokka could have 8 batteries in it when you include the 12v battery, tyre pressure sensors, key batteries and the telematics battery; the newest Ford Focus could also have 8 batteries including the alarm system and the number of batteries in each vehicle are increasing with every new model or upgrade.

We helped a vehicle recycler investigate which vehicles were causing fires as they were being crushed and identified a number that had an e-Call (or telematics) system fitted into the vehicle. These systems have batteries included so that they can operate after an accident, and in many cases the batteries are li-ion or NiMH types and are hidden inside the vehicle. 

If they stay in the vehicle they can explode as the vehicle is crushed, creating a fire. Or, they can start thermal runaway and catch fire some time later. By then the vehicle could be under a pile of scrap and a major fire could ensue. Also leaving them in the vehicle increases the risk of environmental damage after scrap processing.
In some cases the recycler does not have data to show how many batteries and their location so they do not know about these batteries, plus they do not look like a battery, and can be hidden away in locations that are not easy to access.

The vehicle recycling and scrap metal industries would like to work with vehicle manufacturers to produce a global database of all vehicles with full details of all batteries, where they are located in the vehicle, the chemistry of the batteries and how to remove them, so that we can reduce the volume of these batteries going into scrap piles, increase the volume of batteries being recycled and reduce the risk of fire.

Which global manufacturer is going to be the first to release their data so we can start this database? Over to you!

Common Practice

Common Practice: Indicates that a process may be standardised, for example; USB connections are common across a number of different components, DVD’s work in most DVD (and blu-ray) devices, and in the automotive industry there have been common practices on OBD ports for fault code readers, orange cable for high voltage vehicles and fuel inlets so mis-fuelling incidents can be minimised, bit one area that is not a common practice is the disconnection of high voltage systems on hybrid, plug-in and electric vehicles.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the manufacturers had the same disconnection plug, in the same place and the process to make the vehicle safe was the same. If only……….

There are three main disconnection processes, the service disconnect or big orange plug, the switch and the multiplug.

And the locations are all different; in the trunk floor, under the rear seat, behind the rear seat, in the engine bay, in the centre console, under a flap in the floor between the front and rear seats, and, underneath the vehicle!

It is really important that all service technicians, first responders and vehicle recyclers complete accredited training in how to safely work on electric and hybrid vehicles, have the correct tools and personal protective equipment available (and use them), and follow the manufacturers processes. 

For any one interested in learning more about these vehicles, completing accredited training and purchasing all the tools and PPE that will keep them safe and stop them being killed by an electric shock then contact Salvage Wire through our website.

All of the tools and PPE are available from EINTAC with a 10% discount by using the discount code SW1019


Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Best Management Practice

Electric Shock, Fire and Chemical risks are all part of working life as a specialist on electric and hybrid vehicles so we minimise and mitigate these risks by putting Best Management Practices (BMP’s) in place.


These vehicles can kill, incorrect handling or the failure to use appropriate tools and personal protective equipment could result in a lethal electric shock. Between 70 and 90 volts is enough to stop the heart from beating and most electric and hybrid vehicles work between 120 and 800 volts. Incorrect handling can also cause fires and battery fires are incredibly damaging with temperatures in excess of 500C in some cases, and a damaged battery could leak electrolyte which is very harmful to health.

There are three levels of risk, low, medium and high.

Low would include sales staff, valeters, drivers and the like. They need to know how the vehicles operate, how to plug them in to charge, the risks and dangers of use, and most importantly to never work on the vehicle when it is plugged in. I know this looks really obvious, but never wash an electric or hybrid vehicle when it is plugged in charging, for example. Why do I say this, well some valeters were killed by jet washing a plug-in hybrid when it was charging - a jet wash aimed at a charge plug doesn’t do them any good.

Medium. This includes incident response and recovery operations. Responders and recovery technicians need to be trained and have the appropriate PPE to keep them safe, they need access to the manufacturers details on battery location and how to make the vehicle safe. 
With the vehicle off, remove the key, put the handbrake on and chock the wheels to stop it moving, disconnect the low voltage (12v battery), check the high voltage system for damage and perform a shut down process if required. 

High. Vehicle repair and maintenance activities.
Here we have two levels of risk

1. routine maintenance when completing work that excludes the High Voltage systems, for example changing the engine oil and filter on a hybrid vehicle, replacing brake pads, or suspension work.


2. work involving the high voltage system, which could include collision repair activities, coolant or air conditioning work, or removal of a high voltage component.

With both levels of risk it is imperative that the technicians are trained to the appropriate competency level and are confident to complete the work; they must follow manufacturers guidelines; use suitable PPE and tools for the activity; and prevent unauthorised access to the vehicle by other people.

The guidelines below have been written for vehicle salvage and recycling operations, it is free to use as a template for readers to write their own best management practice that reflect their unique business, operation and circumstances - if you would like a copy then please contact Salvage Wire through the website www.salvagewire.com 

Specialist High Voltage PPE and tools
There are lots of kits and choices, but the minimum for a workshop must be:
  • Linesman’s Gloves (electrical safety gloves) Class 0 minimum (1000v rated)
  • High Voltage footwear
  • Safety Rescue Hook
  • Eye protection
  • Multimeter - Cat 111, 1000v minimum
  • Warning Signs
  • High Voltage Tools




All tools and PPE are available from EINTAC (https://eintac.com) and if you quote discount code SW1019 there is 10% off every order.


First responder or recovery personnel would not need all of the above, but gloves, footwear, eye protection, warning signs and HV tools should all be available.
It is recommended that recovery trucks carry neutralising kit for electrolyte spills.


Recyclers Best Management Practice Guide

Before vehicle collection
  • Train drivers how to identify risks from these vehicles and processes required to make vehicles safe. 
  • PPE and Neutralising kit should be available to drivers at all times and they have received training in how to use them.
  • Identify Electric and Hybrid vehicle prior to collection.
  • Investigate type of incident and damage sustained (flood, fire, accident damage)
  • Assess likelihood of battery damage (has vehicle sustained damage to area of vehicle where battery is housed etc).
  • Warn Driver of potential risks.

During vehicle collection
  • Utilise PPE
  • Assess vehicle condition and damage sustained prior to loading vehicle.
  • Mark vehicle with appropriate warning signs
  • Check battery status, including potential for any damage - inspect battery for physical damage, leakage or thermal incident (fire or discolouration of HV cables).
  • Telephone for advice if necessary
  • Complete neutralisation of any spilt battery fluid
  • If necessary, de-energise vehicle. 
  • If unsure - LEAVE IT WHERE IT IS and get a specialist.

Vehicle on-site - Parking/Storage
  • Suitable tools and PPE available
  • Access to vehicle information resource (see resources below)
  • Re-Assess vehicle for potential HV battery or HV system damage - inspect battery for physical damage, leakage or thermal incident (fire or discolouration of HV cables).
  • Mark vehicle with appropriate warning signs
  • De-energise vehicle, if unsure seek advice before de-energising
  • Once de-energised store vehicle on flat ground or suitable racking
  • Train staff how to handle vehicle correctly to avoid any further damage to HV systems, and only trained staff allowed to work on vehicle until it is deemed safe.
  • If a flood damaged vehicle, lift one end of the vehicle to drain as much water as possible prior to storage.
  • Make vehicle water tight prior to storage

Dismantling/Repair
  • Suitable tools and PPE available
  • Never work on vehicle alone - always have colleagues around ‘just in case’
  • Manual handling guidelines must be followed
  • Follow manufacturers guidelines or other resource (see below) when dismantling vehicle
  • Only trained staff allowed to work on vehicle until it is deemed safe.
  • Store battery appropriately - never mix battery types, store in the same orientation as when in the vehicle, store in such a manner that they cannot fall, or have anything fall on them.

Resources

Note: This is a guide only, all vehicle recyclers are advised to complete their own best management practices that are suitable for their specific requirements, operating practices, local rules, legislation, training and standards.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Reduce employee turnover, reduce safety incident rates, attract better employees and increase profit.

Reduce employee turnover, reduce safety incident rates, attract better employees and increase profit. I am sure that most automotive recycling owners and managers would jump at this combination of win, win, win and win!

I can hear the doubters now; in this industry it won’t work, it will cost too much money, I haven’t got the time and many more objections. 

Before we start outlining our ideas lets be honest. This will not be an easy fix, it will take time, commitment and some cash, but the benefits far outweigh the investment that is put in.

We are talking here about Servant Leadership.
In a nutshell, Servant Leadership is described as helping your team (or your staff) be the best that they can be.
Many assume that you cannot serve and lead at the same time, but you can. This concept has been around for 2000 years but came into prominence when Robert K Greenleaf published ‘The Servant as a Leader’ in 1970.

Lets split this into two parts:
Servant - this is an implementation or operational role 
Leadership - this is a strategic or visionary role

All good leadership starts with a vision that outlines the purpose of the business, a picture of where the business is going and the values that will guide the business on its journey. This role is very much the traditional pyramid shaped hierarchy, with the bosses at the top of the pyramid and the staff cascading down to the base - it is clear who works for whom and who is responsible.

The servant part flips the pyramid upside down, this puts the customer contact people (and the customers) at the top of the organisation and the boss now becomes the least important person in the business because it is now the customers and the customer facing staff who are the most important and the bosses now have to work for the customers and the staff.

Implemented properly the benefits are massive; employee retention rates rise, staff are happier and satisfied with their work, because staff are happier the customers are better served, happier customers return for more purchases, people want to come and work for the business and profits are lifted.
Waste Connections in the USA were losing over 40% of their employees each year, many of them voluntarily leaving. They introduced a significant change to the management culture of the business that was based on Servant Leadership and over 5 years saw employee turnover rate drop from over 40% to 17%, and safety incident rates drop by 40%, over the same period they saw earnings rise, and Waste Connections became a place where people wanted to be rather than had to be, and they also attracted better employees because of the great culture in the business.

Want to know more - come to the Salvage Insight Launch Day on Wednesday 17 June at Stonebridge Golf Centre, Meriden, Coventry, where Peter Judd, Head of Salvage Insight, can tell you all you need to know.
Full details, please contact Salvage Insight via andy@salvagewire.com

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Parking your car during Covid-19

Never before have so many cars been parked up and not moved for weeks on end - once the lockdown ends many will stay exactly where they are, why? A lot of modern petrol,
diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles are very sophisticated and their power hungry electronics mean that they are constantly ‘on’, using battery power to keep them ready for operation and maintain the ‘memory’ of all the ECU’s and computers, so this enforced lack of use could mean that the vehicle battery is drained of power and will not start the vehicle when needed.
Most of these vehicles are designed to retain their battery status for a few weeks - think long term parking when on holiday - but not for much longer.
An unattended battery in any vehicle will eventually lose its charge. Failure to keep the battery topped up could leave you in trouble, remove the battery from the vehicle to charge it and you could end up needing a full ‘re-boot’ from the local dealer, best option in this
circumstance would be to bring one of the vehicle recovery services out to put a booster on the battery so the vehicle can be started and the battery then brought back up to full power.
To be certain, make sure you start and run the car every week and once it has armed through drive it for about 15 minutes if possible. Driving the car periodically has several benefits. It will maintain the battery's charge, keep the engine and other components adequately lubricated and using the brakes will keep the discs clean and free from rust.