Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Winning in the vehicle recycling industry

One of the most difficult questions for any business owner to answer is Why are you doing this? Why do you do what you do?

For many this industry is all then know, their business was started by a previous generation and they have inherited their role as owner, leader and CEO from their father, grandfather, or another family member. So why are they doing this job?
For me, my role in this industry is to help others to grow, learn and develop and become leaders in the industry. Leaders who can then influence their colleagues, peers and workers to also grow, learn and develop and become leaders themselves.
In many cases this is not happening, and lots of people are just here for the pay check, or turn up because they have no alternative. 
There is hope for everyone though; if they set their minds to work and plan their future they can do almost anything!
Zig Ziglar in his book Born to Win says that “you were born to win, but to be the winner you were born to be, you have to have a clear plan to get there, this means having specific goals that you are shooting for.”
How many of us have set clear goals for our future, ever? Physical goals, spiritual goals, mental goals, family, financial, personal and career goals?  I suspect that many of us have a few goals on parts of our lives, but not all, and many will not have any goals over any part of their lives.
Once I realised that I needed a clear focus for my working life, a reason to work for example, then everything became much clearer and better defined. I want to help others become leaders in the vehicle recycling industry, and as I put everything I have into that then success has followed.
But how does this help the CEO facing financial problems, or regulatory issues, or lack of employees I hear you ask. It doesn’t give them immediate answers, and may not be swift enough to avoid financial collapse or a court hearing, but it can give them the focus, motivation and reason to go to work, to make a difference and be successful. If they can realise the ‘why’ of their role, understand what it takes to win, and lead others down that winning road then their business will be successful, their employees will thrive, their customers will be happy and satisfied and their profits will grow.
This is a life time of effort, because you never stop getting better, never stop growing, never stop learning, never stop teaching: and as soon as you reach one of your goals you need to set another so you do not lose momentum.
So what should you goals be? And how do you set goals that are achievable?
Goals will be different for different stages of your life, for your personal status( single, married, parent, grandparent), for your employment status (owner, leader, employee, retired), for your financial situation (home owner, renter) and more; separate short and long term goals will be required. 

Time needs to be taken to analyse your current situation and where you would like to be in a year, five years, ten years etc. Then write the goals down - nothing is true until it is written down - and then plan how to achieve each goal. Every goal is just a series of small steps between your current situation and success, breaking them down into chunks of activity makes them much less daunting and gives you a plan to follow.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Week in Words - Poland

Musings, activities and thoughts for the week.

Normality for a day, teaching technicians on electric and hybrid vehicle technology and how to keep themselves safe whilst working on these vehicles.
These guys are the lifeblood of the vehicle repair industry, a lot of the work they do goes on behind the scenes, is unreported and not very glamorous, but without them we would not be able to get our cars repaired. I salute them every time I visit one of these establishments.

Following a regular chiropractor visit a few hours of admin before jumping in the car to Heathrow for a flight.
The parking experience at Heathrow got me wondering, so many cars all sat stationary for a number of days, what an opportunity for an enterprising business to offer complimentary services for these owners; car wash, detailing, smart repairs and more can all be offered whilst these vehicles are not being used; efficient use of the vehicle keeps everyone happy and productive.

Three car recycling yards in Poland, three diverse operations all working in the same marketplace, all showed the immense investment required for compliant and legal business operations, one yard very conventional, another very modern and the final one a lot of fun - not sure that a drift team is part of normal operations though.

Krakow for the 4th annual recycling conference hosted by FORS, the Polish car recycling organisation; hosted in English and Polish with simultaneous translation, FORS attracts delegates from all over the world, plus a large number of senior policy makers and even a member of parliament to the conference and they are not frightened to attack a number of difficult and controversial subjects during the day. So different to what I have seen in the UK in the past 20 years that I have been involved in this industry; we seem to be afraid of confronting our MP’s, policy makers and legislators over issues that are fundamental to our industry and have a significant detrimental impact to our work.

Catalytic Converter recycler proudly showed the conference delegates around their facility - nothing was off limits including the laboratories and processing plant. Amazing insight into an often overlooked (by the media) process that returns significant value back into the end of life processing, creates no waste, and completes the recycling loop with everything that is removed from the catalyst going back into new products.

Finished off the week with a few hours touring Krakow.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

A great adventure, good friends, hospitality, inspiration and ideas - Recyclers Road Trip 2018

A great adventure, good friends, hospitality, inspiration and ideas - the feedback from this years Recyclers Road Trip to the ARA Convention included all of these comments
This year 19 recyclers from Holland, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom met in Jacksonville on their way to Orlando for the 75th Automotive Recyclers Association Annual Convention and Expo.

Marta Witkowska, Vice-President of FORS wrote “The Road Trip 2018 was a great adventure. We have spent three days visiting ATF’s with different ways of treating ELVs. We were impressed with the impetus of Central Florida Pick & Pay (CFPP) in Orlando (1000 vehicles accepted monthly!) and how perfectly All Pro Used Parts & U Pull It and Brandon Used Parts were organised. We enjoyed many ideas helping to develop sales, like the idea of separate area for VIP clients and promotional days for spare parts. 
We were joining the Road Trip for the third time and we’ve noticed that the environmental obligations for Authorised Treatment Facilities in the States are becoming more demanding. In Poland oil separators and airtight surfaces are, among others, the minimal obligations for ATFs. We are not able to keep ELVs on unprotected ground, that always surprises us while visiting ATFs in different States and the way ATF’s operates in the USA, we find much more practical.”

Scott Green from Pick-A-Part in New Zealand added “We came away inspired and enthusiastic to implement some new ideas. There was something to glean from each of the yards we visited and we wish to commend everyone we visited for their willingness to share their knowledge of our industry. We highly recommend the road trip to everyone and we look forward to the next one.”

The road trip included opportunities to share food together and this year’s restaurant was The Melting Pot where everyone enjoyed three different types of Fondue and far too much food!

Go-Pull It, Greenstar Recycling, Central Florida Pick & Pay, All Pro Auto Parts, Brandon Auto Service and Cocoa Auto Salvage all welcomed the road trip and treated us like friends, proudly taking us around their facilities, sharing lots of information and answering every question put to them.
Joanna Dabrowska for the Polish group highlighted the differences between the US and Poland “From our point of view, despite the fact that each yard was somehow different from other ones, the organisational basis was similar and different from what we can see in Poland. Most yards were focused on second use of spare parts while the price of scrap was not of significant importance. Also all of the yards were organised as self-service yards (or semi self-service yards), where the ELV’s are stored for 60 to 90 days. This is different from Polish situation, where self-service yards are not popular. In most yards in Poland, full-service is practiced, maybe because of lack of free space.”

Marta Witkowska continued “We should learn from American ATFs how to effectively sell, how to manage with auctions and how to constantly raise volumes of sale. Americans are absolute masters in establishing cooperation among each other and a hub and spoke sale systems. That’s what we try to develop in Poland.”

I would like to thank every recycler that opened the gates of their facilities to the road trip, who welcomed us and shared so much with the whole team, and to the members of the road trip for their enthusiasm, fun and fellowship, and we all look forward to meeting up in 2019 on our way to Charlotte.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Don’t Cut The Orange Cables

Our future is coloured orange. No, we are not thinking about the famous fizzy drink or the old mobile phone network, but high voltage vehicles.

A delegate arrived at a recent training course I was running on high voltage vehicles and told me as he arrived that he could sum up my course in one sentence “never cut the orange cables.” 

That statement is correct, but thirty minutes into the training I asked him if that statement still summed up the training and he agreed that there is much more to these vehicles than even he had previously thought.

In short - handle a high voltage vehicle incorrectly and it WILL kill you!
100v DC is enough to give a fatal electric shock, and many of these vehicles have batteries producing between 200 and 400 volts DC with future vehicles bringing in 800v DC batteries and much greater voltages in later generations.

As I travel around the world I see many disturbing sights at vehicle recyclers, including high voltage batteries removed from vehicles with the high voltage safety plug still attached, or stored in such a manner that could create damage with subsequent fire risks. Both of the following images were recently taken in vehicle recyclers yards in the USA

The image here shows a battery, in store in a vehicle recycler, that is still connected. This means that the battery terminals are live, they could fatally electrocute any person that touches the terminals, or if a metal object (pen, spanner etc.) fell out of a staff member’s pocket and shorted the terminals, create a very serious fire.

Many may have seen videos on social media of lithium-ion batteries catching fire, and many of these can be attributed to they betters being physically damaged; safe storage of these batteries is of paramount importance, hence why I was very concerned when seeing these batteries stacked on each
other with no apparent concern for safety, minimisation of damage, or reduction of risk.
If you look closely at the picture you will see another battery (with the green case) on the floor inform of the pile. This battery was still live and was wedged between two pallets. 

Examples like these indicate that there is still a very long way to go to make the vehicle recycling industry aware of the risks, to train their staff and put processes in place that protect their businesses from the risk of fatal electrocution or fire.

For more details on the range of training available from Salvage Wire, check out our website, our blog  or contact me at 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

DANGER - High Voltage

Many vehicle recyclers are handling high voltage vehicles and are completely unaware of the risks they exposing themselves, their colleagues and their businesses to.

What will it take to make these recyclers realise the danger and the risk of these vehicles; to train their staff, purchase necessary personal protective equipment and tools and set up a best management practice for the business? I hope that they see the need before one of their employees, colleagues or friends gets killed!

Battery voltages are rising, with up to 400v DC now, 800v DC in the next 12 months and in excess of 1000v DC in the future - these batteries are lethal if not handled correctly.

Salvage Wire Managing Director, Andy Latham, is speaking at the International Battery Recycling Congress in Berlin and will be highlighting this issue to the assembled delegates.

Risks include electrocution, fire and physical injury caused by the weight of the batteries; basic training along with the purchase and use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment plus a decent best management process and the use of free resources from the IDIS system will be enough to keep employees safe, minimise fire risks and protect the business. 

Vehicle Recyclers and their national trade associations need to commit to training their employees and members on how to recognise these vehicles, understand the risks, and invest in the PPE and tools required to minimise or mitigate those risks before there is a fatality in the industry.

Andy will challenge the vehicle manufacturers to open up their training to technicians outside of their franchises, to first responders, recyclers and body repair centres, and will also ask them to continue to fit their vehicles with simple High Voltage disconnect devices because in an emergency situation easy access to a high voltage disconnect could be a life saver.

All vehicle recyclers can find a best management practice guide at and can book WAMITAB accredited, high voltage training designed specifically for vehicle recyclers, by emailing 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Step out of your comfort zone

“Peter, suddenly bold, said, ‘Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” 

Many may know this quote from Matthew 14: 28 when Jesus appeared to his disciples walking on the water, and Peter decides to step out of the boat and walk on water as well.
It doesn’t go well - Peter starts to sink and needs extra help; the morale is that he tried, he stepped out of his comfort zone (he was a fisherman so boats were a large part of his life) and attempted something different.

The majority of the automotive recycling industry is also stuck ‘in the boat’; comfortable where they are and will only step out of their comfort zone to try something new or different when they absolutely have to.

This is especially true when dealing with high voltage electric and hybrid vehicles, and my major concern here is that it will take a life-changing or fatal injury to bring many to their senses and invest in training, education and protective equipment for members of their team.

It only takes 60volts and 1/2 an amp to kill - high voltage automotive batteries range from 120 to 400volts and anything up to 800amps; more than enough to cause some serious injuries or fatalities.
Salvage Wire are already on the case for the vehicle recycling industry with their WAMITAB accredited Safe Handling of Electric and Hybrid Vehicle training that has been specifically designed for vehicle recyclers.
This one-day training has been attended by over 200 delegates during the last three years; all of them leaving the day with an increased awareness of the risks, dangers and opportunities these vehicles bring, the knowledge to make these vehicles safe to transport, store and dismantle, and an accredited training qualification for their continual professional development.

Salvage Wire is bringing their training to Scotland on Wednesday 18 July and Warrington on Thursday 19 July, and there are places available on both dates for the very low price of £125 per delegate that includes all training workbooks, handouts, notes, lunch and a discount code for the purchase of high voltage tools and PPE.

Now is the time for automotive recycling professionals to step out of the boat, receive professional help and assistance to learn about the latest high voltage vehicles that will be coming into their yards now and in the future, grow, develop and seize the opportunities that these vehicles bring - book your training now or register an interest for training at another location at

Salvage Wire - Helping automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry -

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Don’t Ignore High Voltage Vehicles - they are out there and volumes are increasing!

Too many vehicle recyclers are sticking their head in the sand and not doing anything to understand high voltage technology; to understand the risks associated with electric and hybrid vehicles; to understand the opportunities that these vehicles bring them and to understand how their business needs to change and adapt to accommodate these vehicles.

Sales of Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug In Hybrid vehicles rose by 43% and 34% respectively across Europe in 2017, sales increases in the UK were 31% and 23% in both categories.

Vehicle manufacturers are predicting massive increases in sales volumes of these vehicles, with VW group expecting to annual sales of 2.5 million electric vehicles by 2025 and Bloomberg forecasting that full electric and plug in hybrid vehicles will form an ever larger percentage of vehicle sales in the coming years.

Why is this happening? Because vehicle manufacturers are being forced to reduce vehicle emissions; add in high oil prices, the decisions by many countries to ban the sale of new internal combustion engined vehicles at some stage in the future, the ever reducing cost of producing high voltage batteries, the increasing range that full electric vehicles offer, the increasing volume of charge points and the current debate around diesel vehicles and some could debate that the perfect storm has been created to condemn internal combustion engined vehicles.

These changes will have major knock-on effects to many different industries across the automotive marketplace, and the vehicle recycling industry will have to change and adapt to the new automotive landscape that will be created.
Progressive and forward thinking vehicle recyclers are already working on this, learning how the vehicles operate, looking at the opportunities this new technology brings, investigating the risks to their business, their staff and themselves, working out how to change, adapt, grow and minimise any risks, and how to provide the best service to their suppliers, customers and work providers.

You can find out more at the Salvage Wire Skills Lab at CARS on the 11 and 12 July, see for more details.

Salvage Wire also have training courses scheduled for July:
  • Wednesday 18 July in Edinburgh
  • Thursday 19 July in Warrington

Places are limited so contact Salvage Wire now to reserve your place

Helping Automotive Recyclers Become Leaders in Their Industry