Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday 23 December 2011

International Round Table on Auto Recycling 2012

Building on past success in Japan, Australia and Canada, the 6th international Round Table Meeting will take place in Liverpool, England, June 14-16th 2012.
Leading international automotive recyclers and industry officials will come together in one of the most historic cities in the United Kingdom.
The three day event includes a day at Europe's premier auto recycling show CARS

Full details of the whole event can be found on the IRT web site (

Final Comment on 2011

The year started with the Irish Government issuing a consultation document that detailed possible future total loss legislation. Ireland has since had an election and a change of government so this consultation has been shelved for the moment. It won’t be long though before it comes back, and if it works in Ireland, it will work anywhere in the world.

Take a step back and look at your business; are you following the various Codes of Practice and guidance papers that show how things should be done? These can easily become legislation that could be far more costly and invasive than the current processes, so think very carefully before you sell that piece of salvage or cut the front end off a bodyshell.

The price of decent salvage is higher than it has been for a long time and it is more difficult than ever to make a profit, but it is possible! How quickly do you turn your stock around? What is in demand? What do you have too much of in stock? How much money is tied up in ‘hulks’ that are taking up space in your yard? How efficient are your sales staff? How do you sell parts, market your business, and gain more quality stock? The ideas are out there, all you have to do is look, share ideas with successful businesses, learn, develop and implement processes.

Join a salvage organisation who can show benefit to the industry and their members, use them to gain discounts on valuable services such as insurance and training. Your membership helps them to influence national and local government, change legislation that is inappropriate, develop new processes and standards that benefit the industry and bring new ideas and talent to help salvage businesses grow.

Exporting will not stop; we work in a global industry so it is time to get used to dealing with customers from other countries on a regular basis.

It is time to catch up with the real world, use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media is not something that you can ignore any longer. Technology like this can give you immediate feedback, marketing and customer access, and it is free! Ignorance is not an excuse, take the time to learn how these systems operate and the benefit they can bring you, the world is using them, why aren’t you?

Environment Agencies are there to enforce regulations and legislation and make sure the risk of pollution is limited. They are very good at prioritising who they need to visit, and if they are visiting you more than once every 6 months then you need to look at how you run your yard and improve so the focus can move onto those that do not comply.

Technical Competence is here to stay, it won’t go away and this sort of training and qualification will increase – and it will benefit the industry - if you haven’t got it by the end of Feb 2012 then don’t expect your licence to continue.

Grumpy salvage operators love other grumpy salvage operators, try and get out a bit more and away from the industry, make friends with people outside of the motor industry who have equally difficult and frustrating working lives and get some perspective, if your business isn’t working then stop blaming everyone else.

Now is the opportunity to change; the vehicles we deal with are changing dramatically all the time and the next few years will be no different, hybrids, fuel cells, electric vehicles, aluminium, composites and even more advanced steels are in use now. The opportunity to be ahead of the competition will not last forever so 2012 may be the time to invest in the future. Are you going to take up the challenge?

This industry is full of intelligent, dedicated, professional, experienced and adaptable people who want to move forward; for those who cannot see the future with this sort of enthusiasm then please step to one side and allow the rest of us through.

Friday 16 December 2011

Vehicle Damage Assessor Day 4

3 vehicles in 7 hours, doesn't seem like much but it is amazing where the time goes. Won't say much about the vehicles or the exam as I don't want to give any clues away to others who will take the exam in the near future.
4 hour drive home allowed time for reflection, don't know if I passed but feel OK about it.
One thing is for sure, I will complete vehicle inspections differently in the future as a result of the training and development, there is a need to make sure that vehicle repairs being suggested are possible and safe, and qualified technicians and experts are required to assess and repair these very complex items so that they are safe and will perform as intended in all circumstances.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Vehicle Damage Assessor - day 3

2 vehicle assessments completed, marked and feedback received. Why can’t vehicle manufacturers work together to give consistent data and information?
Most vehicles that have Curtain Air Bags fitted have a symbol on either the ‘A’ or ‘B’ pillar, Renault put them on the headlining above the rear passenger head restraints!

Accurate vehicle data capture and damage assessment is of paramount importance, is the vehicle equipped with airbags and supplementary restraint systems? How many and have been deployed?
Again, inconsistencies between the manufacturers mean that SRS Control Systems are treated differently; some ECU’s will work through numerous airbag deployments whereas others have to be replaced after every accident and airbag deployment.

The Motor Insurance Repair and Research Centre, otherwise known as Thatcham, is able to provide most of this information. Over the years Thatcham have crash tested, repaired, stripped out, and rebuilt hundreds of cars, and their world leading research is available to subscribers the world over. Included in this research is all the data on types of metals used in the vehicles, repair techniques and methods, parts availability, SRS information and much more. Details available at

Any business that is repairing body damage on cars has a need to access this information and the qualifications that go along with them, this is the only way that they can guarantee a safe, quality repair for their customers, by ensuring that the vehicle is repaired to a standard that means it will perform as intended in the event of another accident occurring.

Tomorrow is the test day, 3 assessments in 7 hours!

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Vehicle Damage Assessor Day 2

40 MPH into a deformable concrete block doesn’t sound much, but when you look at crash tests of vehicles from the 1990’s it is amazing to think that anyone ever survived an accident.
Comparison with crash tests on European cars designed in the last 5 years shows the incredible advancement in vehicle design and technology, the same 40MPH test results in almost minimal injury to the vehicle occupants.
This has been achieved with the major advancement of High Strength and Ultra High Strength Steels that are much stronger than mild steel with less weight.
This advancement compromises the reparability of vehicles and highlights the role of the vehicle damage assessor in making sure that any vehicle repair is completed in such a way that the vehicle will perform as intended in the event of another accident.
The Vehicle Damage Assessor is only one part of the process, all the Technicians in the repair centre need to be suitably qualified before the body repair centre achieves the required standard.
Day 2 of the course looked at some of the resources available that show how a vehicle has been designed and built and, more importantly, repair methods. The whole afternoon was dedicated to producing a repair assessment on one vehicle, capturing important safety critical repairs along with the method of repair.
Tomorrow we assess 2 vehicles in preparation for the full day assessment later in the week.

Monday 12 December 2011

Vehicle Damage Assessor

Having been involved in vehicle repairs for over 30 years what more could I learn?
Vehicle Damage Assessors must ensure that they select the correct method of repair to ensure the vehicle is repaired in such a way that it will work as intended in the event of another accident.
Failure to do this could result in serious criminal charges against the Vehicle Damage Assessors if another accident results in injury or fatality because the built in safety features failed to work correctly.
With the ever increasing complexity of vehicles currently on sale and coming to market over the coming months the course is very relevant and necessary, especially when looking at the use of High Strength and Ultra High Strength Steels in the vehicle structure as well as all the passive safety systems such as airbags and seat belts.
As the owner of a number of cars I am pleased to know that in the event of an accident my cars can be repaired to the highest standards and my wife and children will be driving safe vehicles in the future, but what about vehicles repaired in the motor salvage market where these standards do not apply?
Poor quality repairs can endanger the lives of our customers, customers who are looking to us in the salvage industry to provide them cheaper motoring, we must make certain that the salvage vehicles we repair are repaired to the highest standard using manufacturers guidelines and appropriate parts.
Does this mean increased cost? Yes! Does this mean that we cannot make as much money? No!
There is now so little difference between most businesses that the only differentiation is very minor, a salvage operation showing that they can repair vehicles to the highest standards and ensure the safety of the vehicle occupants immediately has a major difference to other operations, a difference that they can use to bring more customers to them with the potential for more profit. It will be short term, as competitors can catch up quickly, but a head start that could prove critical.
2 more days to go, with a full day assessment to finish, more postings to follow.

Thursday 8 December 2011

ELVs take centre stage at first ever Canadian forum on vehicle recycling

Movers and shakers in the automotive recycling industry and beyond came together from across Canada over two days in November to discuss the challenges and issues surrounding end-of-life vehicles.

This meeting was the very first National Forum on the Future of Vehicle Recycling in Canada, it was two days of solid information and trend forecasting, presented by some of the best and brightest minds in the automotive recycling world.

The first day’s session focused on the importance of a strong end-of-life vehicle management systems. One of the goals was to enhance stakeholder knowledge of the approaches used in various jurisdictions. Topics included successes and challenges of various provincial ELV management models within Canada, international best practices and approaches to ELV management and the current status and future of ELV management across the country.

Speakers for the first day highlighted how, although this was a Canadian forum, it draws on expertise from around the world. Speakers included Kasper Zom of Auto Recycling Nederland Advisory (ARN); Minoru Gouko, Acting Director of Japan Automotive Recyclers Association (JARA); and Michael E. Wilson, CEO of the U.S. based Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA). Canada was well represented too, with speakers including Krista Friesen, Stewardship Director for Summerhill Impact; Jamessee Moulton, Environmental Specialist with the Nunavut Department of Environment; Colin McKean, Executive Director of the B.C. Automotive Recyclers Environmental Association; and Claude Bourque, a socio-economic research and planning agent for Recyc-Quebec.

After the close of the day’s session, attendees were bused to AADCO Auto Parts in Brampton for a reception and tour of the facility. It was an eye-opening experience for anyone unfamiliar with how a fully modernized auto recycling works. As one OEM representative was heard to remark “If a picture is worth a thousand words, visiting here tonight is worth an entire days worth of discussion and presentations. This is unbelievable.”

Speakers for the second day included Steve Fletcher, Executive Director of OARA and Managing Director of ARC; Mark A. Nantais, President of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association; Ron Watkins, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association; David Creighton Adams, President of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada; and Dr. Leonard Shaw, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries.

The second day’s session focused on successfully implementing responsible ELV management in Canada. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs are some of the most commonly discussed methods for this, but those systems also have their disadvantages. Europe is often held up as an example of how well those programs work. However, during the Open Dialogue portion of the day’s event, it was noted that EPR is not working in Europe as well as some people would like to believe.

“EPR is not necessarily working in Europe,” said Kaspar Zom of Auto Recycling Nederland Advisory. “More than half of the member states are not meeting their targets.”

The very concept of having targets came under fire as well, for a variety of reasons. Although one delegate did point out that having a target gives you something to aim for, others noted that there are difficulties in establishing exactly where the baseline should be in the first place. There’s also the possibility that, if peculiar targets need to be met, then remote communities may be left out of the loop.

“I’ll say this: If I’ve got to hit a target, I’m not going to go to Nunavut,” said Colin McKean of B-CAR.

This National Forum did not layout the exact plan that recyclers, repairers, government and other concerned stakeholders will follow regarding end-of-life vehicles, nor was it supposed to. However, what was achieved is an excellent first step along that road.