Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday 8 December 2023

You Have To Get Your Feet Wet

 When the priests got to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge, the flow of water stopped…The river went dry…..and the people crossed.” (Joshua 3 14-16)

There is so much leadership wisdom in this short passage - especially when you understand what preceded this.

The Israelites were moving from Egypt to the promised land, they had spent 40 years in the wilderness and had to cross the Jordan River to take control of the land flowing with milk and honey. They didn’t wait for the river to stop flowing or for a bridge to be built. No, they started out and got their feet wet before the river stopped flowing and they could cross into the promised land on dry ground.

In our business lives we should be looking at how to move forward into new pastures or new opportunities and as we do this we see the barriers ahead of us. It could be knowledge, registration or licensing, resource, equipment or much more, so we research, prepare, register, practice but we cannot move forward until we have put our feet into the water. 

The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness preparing, they didn’t wait for a miracle to occur before they moved across the Jordan River, they put their feet in and the river stopped flowing. 

Your may want to move your business forward or instigate change in the way it operates, but all you can see is that river in front of you that is stopping you from moving forward. It is time to take action; spend a few months preparing the changes or preparing for that forward movement, but the river doesn’t open up and welcome you in, you have to take a step or a leap of faith, get your feet wet and step into the change, or into that opportunity and watch it open up as you move forward.

You may just get your feet wet, you may go a little deeper and push forward, but there comes a time where the water starts to drop and you are through to the other side, or you may have to retreat, review, change and then put your feet in the water again. There is no fear of failure, if what you are doing doesn’t work then retreat and adapt, and there are two absolute rules here - never go so far that you are in danger of drowning and never retreat and go back in again without reviewing, changing and adapting the plan - a sign of insanity is doing the same thing each time and expecting a different result.

Over the last two years Salvage Wire have developed a number of new programmes for various clients, and in all cases we planned, prepared, and practiced before we took the plunge and made the changes, and as the changes or the new programmes were implemented we reviewed regularly, changed and adapted what we were doing so we could reach the other side. Yes, we got our feet wet, but only our feet and our clients are now on dry ground looking back at what they used to be whilst marching forward towards their new goals.

If you have an idea, and you are seeing a river blocking your way to that new idea, then contact Salvage Insight, enter your details and join us for a free 1-hour consultation where one of our consultants can discuss your idea in more detail and formulate an action plan for you. Find out more at

Thursday 23 November 2023

New High Voltage training for vehicle dismantlers and recyclers

Very soon after starting Salvage Wire we identified a need for high voltage vehicle training

specific to vehicle dismantlers and recyclers, so we wrote training and got it accredited. Over the last couple of years we have seen vehicle technology change very rapidly and we have just completed a review and re-write of the training.

Previously there was one training level, now due to the changes we have seen in high voltage technology there will be four training levels for vehicle dismantlers that reflects the increased level of technology in the vehicles and the changing needs in the vehicle salvage and dismantling industry. This new training provides a tiered approach to training that helps develop vehicle dismantling and recycling technicians, raises their knowledge, understanding and competence with these vehicles and the technology, and increases professional standards across the industry.

The training is specifically designed for vehicle dismantlers, it is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, and will soon be certified by TUV Rheinland - an organisation that will give global certification for the training; 

The training is at four levels and certification is valid for three years. Level 1 is awareness for leaders and managers. Level 2 is the lower level of technical training for technicians working on the vehicle that has already been made safe. Level 3 is higher level technical training for ‘live’ vehicles and Level 4 is battery strip. 

Level 1 - informs leaders, owners and senior managers about High voltage vehicles, what they need to do to keep their staff, their customers and their business safe; the processes and procedures required along with the risks of these vehicles and the need to invest in training, tools and PPE.

4 hours duration including theory training, practical demonstration, and assessment and this training can be face-2-face or on-line/remote

Level 2 is for vehicle technicians, parts storage and shipping, and drivers collecting vehicles and gives them the knowledge and confidence to work on high voltage vehicles after the vehicle has been made safe; to remove, store, sell and ship high voltage components.

Technicians, parts team and drivers can start at Level 2 - they do not need to complete level 1 first, but they must be working in the vehicle salvage and recycling industry.

8 hours duration including theory training, practical training, and assessment. Training must be face-2-face

Level 3 for vehicle dismantling technicians and drivers collecting vehicles and enables them to safely assess and work on high voltage vehicles that are ‘live’; make them safe and confirm disconnection before continuing to dismantle the vehicle themselves or handing the vehicle to a Level 2 person for further dismantling; they also become the point of reference for technical queries and processes. Candidates for Level 3 MUST have completed Level 2 training within the previous 12 months

8 hours duration including theory training, practical training, and assessment. Training must be face-2-face

Note: A fast track level 2 and 3 training can be completed over a two-day period.

Level 4 – technicians will be able to assess and dismantle high voltage battery packs, store modules correctly and prepare for shipping. They will also understand the process to re-manufacture, balance, and test batteries.

There are 2 entry options for Level 4:

  1. Vehicle Dismantlers for Level 4 MUST have completed Level 3 training within the previous 12 months 
  2. Battery Dismantlers for Level 4 must have completed Level 1 within the previous 3 months Note: Core product businesses do not dismantle vehicles; they just deal with components that have already been removed so levels 2 and 3 are not appropriate - hence the option for battery dismantlers to jump straight into level 4

8 hours duration including theory training, practical training, and assessment.

So much of the work that Salvage Wire complete is dedicated to helping vehicle recyclers become leaders in their industry and this is another example of how Salvage Wire are raising professional standards, keeping people and businesses safe, helping them to become better, train and retain staff, and grasp the new opportunities that high voltage vehicles bring.

Monday 6 November 2023

10 years of Salvage Wire, 10 things we have learnt from our experience with clients, partners and friends.

10 years of Salvage Wire, 10 things we have learnt from our experience with clients, partners and friends.

1 - Reluctance to change

We have always done it like this’ are the seven worst words anyone can hear. This indicates that the speaker has no ambition to look at things differently, find ways to improve, become more efficient, safer or cleaner. A willingness to change means the business could be looking forward, finding that competitive advantage, reducing cost, being more efficient and improving profitability. Change does not have to be dramatic, it can be many little changes over a period of time, so much so that the changes are only really seen when the business looks back over a 12, 18 or 24 months and notices how much has changed for the better. 

2 - Resistance to learning from management 

One comment we do get is ‘why should I train my staff, it will cost me and they will either demand more money or leave and join the competition.’ I despair sometimes at the negative comments from some senior managers and owners, but it then gets me wondering why they are like this and how I can change their attitude by outlining the benefits of training.

  • Safer working conditions - reduce risk, reduce insurance costs, less time off due to accidents
  • Increased efficiency - more product per day, reduction in costs, increased profit
  • Quality Improvements - more satisfied customers, potential increase in repeat business 
  • Satisfied staff - more likely to stay because they feel valued and respected

Yes, it could mean a wage increase, however this will be more than covered by increased efficiency, safer working conditions, more repeat business, and better staff satisfaction. What would you rather have, employees who are trained, safe, efficient and respected or employees who are not trained?

3 - Rapid changes in vehicle technology

For many years vehicle technology hardly changed. Over the last 10 years vehicle technology is on a very steep trajectory - electric vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, vehicle structural changes, emissions regulation and more. Vehicles are now computers on wheels and the best technicians need to understand all of this so they can correctly diagnose faults and work on the vehicles. Repairing vehicles cannot be a process where you chuck new components at it until the fault goes away, you have to analyse, diagnose and correctly repair the vehicle, and then make certain all the systems are correctly calibrated and functioning before the vehicle is released to the customer - training and experience is vital. 

4 - Do not want to fail

Failure is part of life, without failure we do not learn, grow and develop. Too many are afraid of what could happen if they fail so they do not take any risks. Smart people try, if it doesn’t work they review, change and try again, and again, and again if necessary. A description of stupidity could be doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome each time. Thomas Edison found over 500 ways how not to make the light bulb - he kept going until he had perfected the light bulb. 

Years ago I was part of a panel interviewing candidates for a project manager role, I deliberately asked the candidates about projects that had gone wrong because I wanted to see how they reacted to failure and what they learnt. One of the candidates said that he had never had a project fail because he was so good - he didn’t get the role!

Failure is essential to learn, get better, stronger, smarter and succeed - do not be afraid of failure! 

5 - Happy with the status quo

The vehicle recycling and dismantling industry occasionally falls into this trap - we are doing ok so why change? As an industry we should be looking upwards and challenging not just everything we do, but the perceptions of the industry. 

We need to shout about how environmentally friendly the industry is, the benefits to the planet alongside the cost benefits of re-using vehicle parts. But we can do more.

Public, professional and governmental perceptions are that vehicle recyclers are just ‘scrapyards’ - dirty, smelly, poor quality, low standards, unsafe, I could go on… As an industry we need to change this through professionalism, working with politicians and government agencies to influence legislation, increase enforcement of illegals and combat the unscrupulous elements of the industry; but before we do this we need to get our own house in order, this includes our environmental performance, professional standards, training, association membership, certified recycler status and more, and use this to show that we are a professional industry and not ‘scrapyards’. All of which will improve the perception of the industry, increase sales of parts, bring the industry to the table in talks with government, legislators, enforcement agencies, vehicle manufacturers and more.  

6 - The larger the company, the slower they pay their bills

As a small business our cash flow is important, and the vast majority of our clients pay their bills quickly and without fuss, but bigger organisation can take months to pay - why is this? They have vast reserves, lots of cash flow but insist on taking 60 or 90 days to pay. We know who these are and price our work accordingly to allow for the delay in payment - they can do better and should.

7 - Who you know is sometimes worth more than what you know

Particularly when Salvage Wire first started I relied on people I knew from the industry who gave me tips, connected me to others, or gave me work - I will be forever grateful to them all. Over the last few years I have been able to do the same for a variety of others, connecting them, helping and supporting, giving them work or just being there to talk. It all helps.

8 - Preparation gives the ‘luck’ required to capitalise on opportunities

I have been called lucky for being in the right place at the right time for the EV boom - it has taken me 40 years to get here. My EV journey started before Salvage Wire came into being and has grown because I have invested in training for myself, been open to learn, worked on these vehicles, worked with others and taught many more. All of this ‘preparation’ has given me the chance to capitalise on the many opportunities that are out there.

9 - Never turn down the opportunity to learn

Every day is a learning day - a quote I often use. Rarely does a day go past without me learning something, and I get very annoyed with those people who have no ambition and look upon learning, training, or development as a waste of their time - our learning doesn’t stop the day we leave school, we have to continue that learning and I see so many wasted opportunities. In many cases this could stem from how people were treated at school, or at home, but many employers have had the opportunity to change that and failed to mentor their staff, improve them, develop them and allow them to soar. Look at the people in your teams, if they had been helped, mentored, and allowed to learn, grow and develop how good would they (and potentially your company) be now?

10 - Some conferences are worth the investment - but only because of the people you meet!

Conferences can be expensive, time away from the business, travel, accommodation and the conference costs can often run into the many thousands of £’s. Yes, I do learn from the speeches and presentations, but I learn more from the people I meet and interact with, and all of them are an opportunity to earn revenue. I spent over £2000 attending a conference in Vienna a few years ago that has turned into a contract worth over £10,000 a year from meeting one person at that conference. Now that is a great return on investment.

You have to be selective, I get so many conference invitations I could become a professional conference attendee - but pick the right conferences and your revenue will increase!

As I look back at 10 years of Salvage Wire there is one piece of advice I would give to everyone. 

Start each day with a little bit of quiet reflection - no phones, no music, no kids (I know, sometimes not possible), and think about the day ahead. Write down up to three things that if completed (or significantly moved forward) would make your day amazing - this is not a to-do list (keep that separate), it could be 1, 2 or 3 things, but no more than 3, that at the end of they day leave you with immense satisfaction and a feeling of a job well done. I have done this for years and kept all the records and occasionally will look back over them to see how far I have moved forward in that time - truly inspirational!

Monday 16 October 2023

10 years of Salvage Wire

10 years ago I started Salvage Wire following the closure of Bluecycle, the salvage site for the UK’s largest motor insurer, Aviva; if anyone had said to me then that 10 years later I would be travelling the world speaking, training and consulting I would have told them that they were crazy!

My journey started in 1978 when I left school and started an apprenticeship - I always had a love of cars and I wanted to start work as soon as possible so took the apprenticeship route rather than staying at college and university. 

Spent a number of years working in the retail side of the industry and ultimately became After Sales Manager, responsible for service, parts and collision repair and reporting directly to the dealer principal before joining Norwich Union, the UK’s biggest insurer as a vehicle damage assessor.

10 years later I joined Bluecycle which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviva (the new name for Norwich Union) as Compliance Manager and spent 13 wonderful years as part of the team that took the company from a start up to a multi-million £ business dealing with all Aviva salvage vehicles and a number of other contracts for salvage. Bluecycle was at the forefront of internet auctions for salvage and changed the marketplace in the UK in a very short space of time.

We were told that Bluecycle was being closed and all our work was being outsourced and this meant that all staff members were out of work - faced with this dilemma I decided to bring Salvage Wire into a going concern.

A few years previously I had spent some time with my sister and she asked me what I would do if I was ever out of work, I had no answer. Over an 18 month period we built a business plan and decided to register Salvage Wire as a company and make it dormant, so if the need arose I could bring it into a going concern. Why Salvage Wire? My sister ran her own company called CAD Wire so it made sense to mirror her company name because we could be part of the same group if the need arose.

We very quickly realised that there was a need in the automotive recycling industry for quality training, especially on high voltage (electric and hybrid) vehicles, so training was written, it was sent off to be accredited and we started to deliver high voltage training that was specifically designed for vehicle dismantling and recycling.

There was a lot of training out there for vehicle repairers, for technicians who diagnose faults, make vehicles safe, repair the faults, put the vehicles back together and make them work again, but nothing for recyclers to assess the vehicles, make them safe, strip the high voltage parts, store and ship the parts. We aimed to fill that gap.

I completed more training for myself and also got accredited to deliver training to vehicle technicians, collision repair centres and mechanical repair shops for a number of organisations, and in 2019 we were approached by TUV Rheinland and asked if we would design their electric and hybrid vehicle training programme, which we did in 2020 - unfortunately a global pandemic made the launch of this programme slightly more difficult.

TUV Rheinland are a certification company who deliver training and certification on a global scale, so over the last few years I have been fortunate enough to travel across the world delivering their training. Salvage Wire now work for the vehicle scrap and recycling industry at one end of the process, for universities, research and development companies and vehicle manufacturers at the other end of the process (so we know what is being designed and will be coming into production in a few years time that will ultimately end up in a salvage or dismantling yard), and everybody in the middle - mechanical repair, collision repair, motorsport, vehicle converters, first responders, boat manufacturers, aeronautical industry and more helping them all to become more competent, have a better understanding and knowledge of high voltage vehicle technology.

We also still do consulting work and event planning, but training and development is the core of our business, and this is where our focus will be for some time as we develop new training, new accreditation and start to deliver globally certified technical, managerial, and leadership training to the vehicle recycling and dismantling industry in the future.

Our global training network is growing, more programmes are being launched, more training is available and Salvage Wire will coordinate all of the training, maintain standards across our training network and give consistent, quality training wherever the client is based with a certification that is recognised globally. 

Looking forward Salvage Wire have more ideas and innovation to bring to the marketplace, and we also want to resurrect some previous ideas that we allowed to drop due to pressure of work and a global pandemic.

Salvage Insight was relaunched recently with a new focus on helping the salvage

industry with ideas, issues or problems they face. Have you ever had an idea but didn’t know, or didn’t have the time to implement it? Talk to us and one of our consultants could assist you to resolve that issue or bring the idea into being. More details at where you can book your free one hour consultation.

Depollution podcast was an idea we had during covid, and went really well for around 12 months, but time constraints have meant that it hasn’t been our main focus so this
is something that we want to bring back very soon. Invitations to be a guest on the podcast will come out first - if you receive one please respond quickly so we can get you on the podcast.

I would like to say that I had a business plan that worked - I did have a business plan, but like many this got adapted, changed, scrapped, re-written, adapted, changed, scrapped…. and we are now where we are. What I did learn was never to be too prescriptive and detailed on the business plan and be prepared to try something, fail, learn, change and try again. Never be afraid of failure, use it to learn and move forward.

I have been blessed, I am doing better than I deserve, but I am never satisfied, I always think I can do better, change, improve and develop. But one thing I do know is that my faith has been an integral part of this journey and without my church family, my mentors, the bible and Jesus I would not have got this far - have a look at for more on how you can be recycled.

Salvage Wire’s mission has always been ‘Helping automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry’ and this remains the case as we move forward into our next 10 years; we want to help the vehicle recycling and salvage industry be recognised globally as a professional, qualified, safe, respected and efficient industry, an industry that can be trusted and become an equal partner with vehicle manufacturers, vehicle repairers, regulators and legislators.

Friday 2 December 2022

The Life of an EV Trainer

 Cyprus, Spain, Brazil, US, Ireland and Jamaica - just some of the places that electric vehicle technology has taken me so far this year - a life that sounds very glamorous which, in reality, can be the exact opposite.

Don’t get me wrong, this job takes me to places I would never have been to otherwise, puts me in the middle of a amazing communities and people, and  gives the ability to teach about new technology and the future of the automobile; but there are a few downsides, including weeks away from the family, too much time in airports, airplanes and hotels - OK if you like your own company - and lost luggage!

Cyprus - on a British Army base training REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) at the end of March - the UK was getting snowed on and I was in the sunshine.

Spain, likewise, very cold in the UK and pleasantly warm in Spain, training Spanish and Portuguese technicians in English - on-line translation services via a zoom connection are amazing.

Brazil took three flights to get there, again translation services required, but this time with an excellent translator who was with us in person, training at a technical institute with a Prius donated by Toyota that we took the battery out of many, many times - just don’t tell Toyota how many.

USA for training and trade shows - travelling over 2,000 miles whilst across the country.

Ireland. always enjoy travelling to the Emerald Isle - Guinness doesn’t taste the same anywhere else in the world. This time the car was put onto a ferry across the Irish Sea, the only issue is that I live almost as far East as you can get in the UK and the ferry ports to Ireland are on the west coast. Travelling home I board a ferry that gets me into the UK around 1am and I have a 6-7 hour journey across country to home - the benefit at that time of night is the traffic volumes are extremely low. 

And finally to Jamaica - three flights to get there, six hour delay in Miami and no luggage when I got to Kingston - so no tools or PPE for the first two days of training meant quite a bit of improvisation was required, along with a trip to the shops for some clothes and toiletries.

All of this pales into insignificance when you look at the impact of EV training for each of the candidates. In Jamaica all of the candidates were trained to level 3 and also given train the trainer competency, so they can now go out and train another 200 technicians and 200 first responders as Jamaica ramp up their adoption of electric vehicles. The British Army are bringing cleaner vehicles into their fleet and the engineers have to keep them running, dismantlers in Ireland are probably amongst the best trained in the global industry as the Electric Elves programme gives them training at no cost, and I know that the guys in Brazil have taken what they learnt and are now sharing this knowledge with many other candidates in the country.

Everyone who received the training learnt about the new technology, how it works, the benefits it brings to the climate, reduced CO2 emissions and cheaper running costs, as well as how to stay safe when inspections, diagnosing, assessing, transporting or working on these vehicles, and all are better prepared for this revolution in how we run and power our vehicles in the future.

Sounds like fun? Well, come and join us, we are looking for EV trainers who want to travel to customers in their own country or travel the world, for more information contact and send us your CV.

Friday 8 July 2022

Best Management Practice for Electric Vehicles

 Visited a vehicle repairer recently for a pre-arranged training day and was amazed as two of the candidates refused to start the training, one said that he didn’t want to do the training and the other claimed he was too busy. Even more amazingly, the business owner accepted this and allowed them to not complete the training!

The training went ahead with the remaining candidates and it was soon apparent that this repairer did not have any best management practices in place, and any processes that were written down were only there to satisfy business requirements and audits and were, in reality, largely ignored during day to day operations.

When you are dealing with high voltage vehicles this lack of leadership is very worrying, especially with the risks that these vehicles carry, and part of my role as a trainer is to highlight the need for senior people in the business to take responsibility for the safety of themselves, their colleagues and the business; well written and consistently followed best management practices are essential, especially where high voltage vehicles are concerned.

When building a best management practice for high voltage vehicles there are four stages to consider, these are:

  • Vehicle collection/delivery
  • Vehicle receipt and assessment
  • Vehicle Depollution and dismantling
  • Parts storage and shipping

We also need to outline the levels of training required, which are:

  • Electric Vehicle Informed Person (EVIP) - vehicle purchase, senior management, health and safety specialists, parts and shipping
  • Electric Vehicle Competent Person (EVCP)- dismantling and vehicle collection
  • Electric Vehicle Authorised Person (EVAP) - technician assessing condition, powering down and removing HV battery
  • Senior Electric Vehicle Authorised Person (SEVAP) - senior technician who may strip HV battery


Vehicle collection

Where is the vehicle coming from, has it already been made safe, are there any special instructions or detailed information that the collection driver needs to be aware of. Equally, if the driver is given any specific instructions about the vehicle when it is picked up are these given to the receiving yard?  

The driver will need to assess the vehicle prior to loading it onto the truck, 

  • Is the battery damaged?
  • Is there any risk the battery may catch fire during transportation?
  • Does the vehicle need to be made safe prior to loading?

Collection drivers training should be equivalent to EVCP with specific training for vehicle recovery or towing

Vehicle receipt and assessment

Who is responsible for receipt of the vehicle, are they qualified and do they have appropriate personal protective equipment?

High voltage vehicles should be parked in a designated area until they have been assessed and powered down?

During the assessment the operator needs to determine the condition and health of the battery, is it suitable for re-sale and re-use, should it go into second use as a stationary storage device or it is only suitable for recycling? 

The vehicle should then be powered down and made safe prior to depollution and dismantling. All of this is ‘live’ work and needs to be completed by a suitably qualified and experienced person - probably an Electric Vehicle Authorised Person

Vehicle Depollution and dismantling

When powered down, or made safe, high voltage vehicles have stored energy that is constrained within the high voltage battery, meaning that the rest of the vehicle can be depolluted and dismantled by suitably trained technicians, minimum of EVCP qualified.

Removing the battery becomes an EVAP operation because of the energy stored within this component.

Some vehicle dismantlers may want to further dismantle the HV battery down to individual modules, and this is SEVAP competency.

Parts storage, sales and shipping

High voltage parts, excluding the HV battery, can be stored in normal parts storage areas as the risk posed by these is no greater than any other component, the HV batteries are a completely different prospect, and you will need a specific storage area with restricted access.

  • Battery chemistry must be kept separate; 
  • batteries need to be secure so they cannot fall or have anything fall on them;
  • keep them dry; 
  • do not stack and follow manual handling processes due to the weight of these components;
  • when shipping these components follow all rules and regulations that apply in the area you are operating as these components are considered to be dangerous or hazardous goods in almost all jurisdictions.

Whoever is responsible for battery storage, sales and shipping must be trained and qualified appropriately, and this will almost certainly be different to the training and qualification that is required for a vehicle dismantler or technician.

Everyone dealing with these vehicles needs to be trained to the appropriate level, and also be equipped with all necessary high voltage personal protective equipment and tools, including, but not limited to:

  • High Voltage Gloves
  • Insulated safety shoes
  • Face/eye protection
  • Safety rescue hook
  • Cat3, 1000v Multimeter
  • High Voltage hand tools
  • Warning signs

The list above is not exhaustive and there could be additional elements that need to be considered, but it is incumbent on all businesses to put steps in place to keep their employees safe, build best management practices, use them, and also when scheduling training make certain all the staff involved know what is happening, when and why their involvement is essential!

If any business would like help to design and build their own best management practice for high voltage vehicles then please contact Andy Latham at Salvage Wire (