Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

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.