Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday, 20 March 2020

Road Map - Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Repairs

The UK was the first major economy to set a net zero emissions target by 2050 in law last summer, and in February the Prime Minister announced plans to bring forward a ban on petrol and diesel cars, which includes hybrid cars, to 2035 - five years earlier than initially planned.

We can draw parallels from Norway, who have already set out laws that ban the sale of brand new petrol and diesel engined vehicles from 2025 (a full ten years ahead of the UK); already over 50% of brand new vehicles sales are of zero emission vehicles.
Assuming similar trends over the next 10 years in the UK, the percentage of zero emission vehicles being sold will steadily increase, and as this occurs the volume of affordable used electric and hybrid vehicles in the market place will also steadily increase to a point where these vehicles will become the majority.
Depending upon the rate of change the UK Government have advised that they could bring the petrol and diesel ban forward by a few years.

This rate of change will mean that all businesses handling vehicles will have to learn about this new technology, and any other technology that becomes mainstream, such as Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles, so that they can continue to operate effectively. This will include training and development of their staff, investing in equipment and buildings, changing processes and procedures, understanding any new risks, health and safety implications, and also having the ability to work on every type of vehicle and powertrain on the road.

Don’t forget, this is not just electric and hybrid or fuel cell vehicles; there is an enormous amount of new advanced technology under development, including advanced driver assistance systems, autonomous operation, and many more innovations and designs.

All businesses involved with the repair, maintenance and transportation of vehicles will have to change and adapt, this includes: vehicle repairers, recovery agents, vehicle transporters, collision repair centres, valeting centres, fast fits, tyre specialists, windscreen replacement and many more, so how do companies grow, develop and become specialists in this vital area? This document will set out some proposals and suggestions for this development and growth.

Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great said “enduring great companies preserve their core values and purpose while their business strategies and operating practices endlessly adapt to a changing world’.

Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Build an organisation that can endure and adapt through multiple generations of leaders and product life cycles: the exact opposite of being built around a single great leader or great idea or a single owner or family.
Genius of AND
Embrace both extremes on a number of dimensions at the same time, instead of choosing A OR B, figure out how to have A AND B - purpose AND profit, continuity AND change, freedom AND responsibility etc.
Core Ideology
Instil core values and core purpose as principles to guide decisions and inspire people throughout the organisation over a long period of time
Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress
Preserve the core ideology as an anchor point while stimulating change, improvement, innovation and renewal in everything else.

Therefore all businesses need:
Level 5 Leaders who build a company that can tick along without them; who have personal humility AND professional will; are ambitious for the company and have a sense of purpose beyond their own success; and are relentless in stimulating progress towards tangible results and achievement. This culture should be encouraged and developed throughout the management team and through the core values of the business. Succession planning means that there will never be any gaps in leadership as the team expands or changes as leaders move upwards, retire or depart.
Who First - Assessing all current team members and making certain the right people are ‘on the bus’; This could be brutal, as those people in the wrong seats have to be moved and some may need to get off the bus altogether. Develop recruitment policies that are driven by the need to bring people into the business that fit the culture, the core values and the ambitions of the company. Continuously develop and improve staff knowledge, ability and competence and promote from within as much as possible.     
To Be Brutal about Facts - Being honest, open and unafraid of the truth can be difficult. The culture of the company must be such that all members of staff can be honest, open and unafraid to speak the truth. This brings out the best in the right people, means that all discussions and decisions are taken for the right reasons and exactly follow the culture and values of the business, and any wrong decisions are squashed before they create damage.
Discipline - Building an enduring culture of discipline will bring massive levels of success to any corporation or business, gives all staff freedom AND responsibility and will eject those that do not share the values and standards of an organisation. Staff will be loyal, they will arrive on time; they will want to grow, develop and move upwards through the organisation; they will give their best every day and will step in and help in a crisis or time of need. 

Technology - Vehicle technology is driving change across the automotive industry, and is what this paper is about; this is the final point, deliberately. Technology is subservient to the business, getting the leadership, structure, core values and culture of the business has to come before the technology. If the technology comes first then we are wasting our time - staff can be trained and developed endlessly, but without leadership, structure, values and culture the business will not see the fruits of that training and development because staff will leave. It is said that people do not leave their job, they leave their manager, and this is very true!

Using all of the above we can now build a potential road map for automotive businesses to advance into the new ‘fully charged’ automotive era. 
If you want to build a road map for your business then contact Salvage Wire through their website

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Petrol and Diesel Car Sales Ban Brought Forward to 2035

The UK Government said today that from 2035 all new vehicle sales must be zero-emission vehicles, effectively banning the internal combustion engine from our roads.

Friends of the Earth’s Mike Childs said that the government was right to bring forward the ban, but that 2030 would be better than 2035 whilst the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that the 2035 target could not be met without ‘market transformation’. 

What are the facts:
  • Climate Change is bad for the planet and steps need to be taken to reduce our carbon emissions - the internal combustion engine is a contributor to carbon emissions so something needs to be done.
  • Norway have already legislated to stop the sale of brand new internal combustion engined vehicles in their country from 2025 - a full 10 years before the UK Government. Other countries in Europe, including Germany, are discussing the same rule for 2030.
  • The technology is already available, has sufficient range for the vast majority of motorists and charging infrastructure is improving. 
  • We are 15 years away from the proposed ban, a massive amount of time to develop the technology, build the charging infrastructure and develop new zero emission technologies.
  • This is not just electricity, zero emission vehicles include hydrogen powered fuel cells, so we are not completely reliant upon electricity
  • This is not a switch off of petrol and diesel powered vehicles, they will still be available to purchase up to the end of 2034, and it will take a number of years for these vehicles to roll through to the end of their lives and be replaced by a zero emission vehicle - and this was one of the reasons why the government brought forward the ban: the original date of 2040 would mean that there would still be internal combustion engined vehicles in use on the zero emission target date of 2050.

This will involve everyone, vehicle manufacturers, governments and legislators, power suppliers, drivers, owners and companies. 
  • Vehicle manufacturers need to bring affordable vehicles to market and increase supply
  • Governments and legislators need to help vehicle owners and drivers make the switch to zero emission vehicles
  • Power suppliers need to improve the grid, continue to invest in renewable power and the oil companies need to change and become power suppliers - as they see the sales of petrol and diesel (and oil) drop, they need to back fill this with hydrogen. Once the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is there people will purchase and use hydrogen powered vehicles.
  • Vehicle drivers and owners need to look at their daily use, accept that the vast majority of them only travel 30-40 miles a day and an electric vehicle will be perfect for them. Fit a charge point at home and purchase a vehicle - for those that cannot park outside their house see the next point.
  • All companies, however small or large, need to invest in charging points so that their employees and customers can plug in and charge whilst the vehicle is not in use. When does a car stand still the most? At home, at work or when you are visiting a tourist attraction, shopping centre, city or town centre or an hotel - every single one of these needs enough charge points to cope with demand.

Is this a challenge? Yes, but more importantly this is an opportunity for the UK to show that it is one of the leaders in zero emission vehicles, that we can step up to a seemingly impossible task and achieve net zero by 2050; we can contribute to our planet and give our children and grandchildren a future that does not include the threat of global warming, and that they can still have personal mobility and the freedom to travel that we have.

Friday, 24 January 2020

New Offering From Salvage Wire

Salvage InsightA new offering from Salvage Wire

How can the vehicle salvage and recycling industry react to the challenges they currently face, the changing future, bring best practices into their business, attract staff, retain talented staff, remain relevant, profitable and successful?

Led by a former FTSE100 board level manager and leader, Salvage Insight is a range of Intensive Management Boot Camp/Hot House options for business owners and managers who want to:

  • Measure current value creation, exploring areas of high margin untapped potential. 
  • Create compelling customer experiences and value to give clear competitive advantage.
  • Market, promote and sell more effectively.
  • Improve profitability.
  • Manage smarter at every level of the business…and deal with non-performance.
  • Determine the most effective light-weight, fleet of foot management structure with strong value based performance metrics.
  • Create a Strategic Vision, refresh mission statement and develop a new time-bound Business Plan.

Find out more by contacting Salvage Wire at 

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