Archive | June, 2016


Euro 5 diesels could be operating with ‘pollution controls partly turned off’

Scrappage SchemePollution from many popular diesel vehicles gets much worse in cold weather, according to a report.

Information compiled by test data firm Emissions Analytics suggests that Euro 5 vehicles are the most affected.

Tests were done on 213 models across 31 manufacturers and the findings indicate that vehicles could be operating for much of the time with their pollution controls partly turned off. There is a suggestion on the BBC website that VMs are taking advantage of the rule to switch things off, even in mild weather, because it improves the consumption of the car.

“I would say from the Euro 5 generation of cars, it’s very widespread, from our data. Below that 18 degrees [Celsius], many have higher emissions… the suspicion is, to give the car better fuel economy”; Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden told the BBC.

“If we were talking about higher emissions below zero, that would be more understandable and there are reasons why the engine needs to be protected. But what we’ve got is this odd situation where the [temperature] threshold has been set far too high, and that is a surprise”.

The firm also recently tested a number of current Euro 6 engines and found in real-world applications all of the four-cylinder engines on test produced more NOx than the largest V12 petrol motors fitted to super-luxury cars.

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The Newly Designed Mini-Ductor® Induction Heater Has Real Bite

Summer 2016

Induction Innovations, Inc. announces the launch of Venom™: the third generation of the legendary Mini-Ductor® handheld induction heater. The 230V version will be released to the UK aftermarket later in 2016.

New Features

Venom w Blue flame shirt 2As with its predecessor the Mini-Ductor® II, Venom™ generates Invisible Heat® to release ferrous and some non-ferrous metals from corrosion and thread lock compounds without the dangers of open flame and up to 90% faster – ¾” nuts are turned red hot in less than 15 seconds.

Venom™ also includes the following enhancements over the Mini-Ductor® II:

  1. Angled Design with Trigger: Venom’s lightweight, ergonomic design allows for induction heat to access hard to reach places more easily
  2. Coil Twist Lock: coils now lock down with one simple turn (no more thumb screws) and Venom™ works with all Mini-Ductor coils
  3. LED Usage Indicator: a Red LED will light under fault conditions and Green LED lights while the trigger is active and the tool is heating properly
  4. Fault Override Delay: any event that causes the Red LED to illuminate will protect the tool by starting a three second lock out
  5. Fan Operation Enhancements: the fan continues to run after the trigger is released to aid in thermal cycle time reduction, and will stay powered when the thermal switch opens to aid in cooling the tool
  6. User Controlled LED Switch: as long as the tool is powered and the internal power supply is operating, the LED will remain lit when the switch is on
  7. Two Year Limited Warranty: Venom™ has a two year parts and labour warranty

Kit Contents

The Mini-Ductor® Venom™ includes the following:

  • Mini-Ductor® Venom™ handheld induction heater
  • 3 basic coils: (1) 7/8″ Preformed Coil, (1) U-Form Coil and (1) Bearing Buddy Coil
  • Rugged plastic carrying case
  • Operator manual
  • 2-year warranty that covers parts and labor


Venom uses include removing/releasing the following:

    • ABS sensors
    • Brake bleeder nuts
    • Corroded exhaust
    • Fuel tank straps
    • Heat treating
    • Heavy undercoatings applied over hardware
    • Inline connectors
    • Metal fabrication
    • Manifold bolts
    • O2 sensors
    • Seat belt bolts
    • Soft hail dents
    • Steering/suspension components
    • Tie rod sleeves/ends
    • Truck bed bolts
    • U-bolts
    • Zirk fittings
Oxy-Acetylene risks Induction Heating health and safety benefits
High risk of fire, explosion and can emit toxic fumes. Induction heating is a safer, more reliable, flameless heat
Created by high frequency magnetic fields, which heat ferrous metals. NB. The operator does need to take precautions, such as not wearing any metallic items and wearing heat resistant gloves for removing parts from heated surfaces.
Plastics, wiring, trim etc. around the part to be removed can catch fire, causing potentially costly damage. Naked flames and traditional tools cannot access hard to reach corroded nuts and other parts. Reduces collateral damage
The flameless heat is localised on the part and not the surrounding area. To cope with a variety of heating needs, different types of bendable coils can be attached to the unit to fit the problem part and these can be usefully shaped to fit into hard to reach crevices and tight spots. The Inductor does not heat rubber, plastic or glass.
Garages & workshops who use Oxy-Acetylene have, on average, 10-30% high insurance premiums than those who do not. Reduced running costs
Insurance premiums are lower if induction heating is used on site.
Traditional cutting and heating tools take time to work, reducing garage productivity Increased productivity & profits
Induction heat works fast (using the coil, a ¾” nut is heated red hot in 15 seconds). The heat expands the nut and breaks down any corrosion. This helps increase a garage’s productivity by around 50% and, because downtime is minimised, parts can be re-used.

A New Evolution of Induction Heating

“Venom™ is a new evolution of the Mini-Ductor® Series, which has been the leading hand-held induction heater on the market since it was launched in 2004,” said Tom Gough, President of Induction Innovations. “Venom’s feature set allows users to repair vehicles and equipment faster, safer and more profitably, and to salvage parts normally discarded.”

For more information call The Inductor UK on 01953 859138, or Sykes Pickavant on 01543 679900, email visit

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Branded workshop opens

Branded workshop opens

Oil Company Petronas Lubricants International (PLI) has opened a branded workshop for CVs. The new branch is in partnership with contract hire and fleet maintenance company Alltruck.

Since CAT reported on the opening of the first branch in Hamburg last year, the lubricant firm has been busy signing up 1,200 workshops of different types across the continent. However, the venture with Alltruck marks the first branded CV workshop in the UK.
Petronas has set itself a target of 3,500 workshops across Europe within five years. Each workshop is autonomous and works on a ‘soft franchise’ basis with the firm.

Alessandro Orsini, PLI Regional Head of Europe said: “We continue to grow our network of branded workshops and this time, with Alltruck plc, we have established another first, especially for commercial vehicles. As part of the Petronas branded workshops network, independent garages such as Alltruck plc will benefit from stronger brand recognition as an affiliate”.

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Pri Chauhan – Steps aftermarket hiring managers should take between offering a new hire the post – and when they actually start.

Pri Chauhan, Director at PG Automotive

Pri Chauhan, Director at PG Automotive

These days, even a firm agreement in the form of a signed contract isn’t enough to guarantee that a candidate will show up on their start date. With mass skills shortages in the automotive industry in general, and the power placed increasingly in a candidate’s hands, expert recruiters and employers are both finding it more and more difficult to secure excellent people for job vacancies.

As a recruiter, our job is to have ideally have multiple candidate options for filling a position. What is sometimes overlooked is how experienced and skilled candidates have just as many choices for which door they walk through next…
From the job offer stage, to the start date, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Here’s my three top tips on how to close a candidate on a job offer:

Knowing your audience is worth thinking about before you even think about prepare a job specification. Get to know the industry that your candidates’ work within, and ensure that any and all communications around the position use relevant language and buzz words to suit.
A Regional Manager will look for different benefits to someone seeking a job as a Parts Advisor. Yes, these are extreme examples, but the distinction should be that clear. Whatever you say and do now will have a lasting impact on your new employee; and we all know what’s said about first impressions.

Just like the old cliché, ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,’Your job adverts should be dressed up with convincing language that compels the right candidates to apply. Using the right tone of voice will also benefit your brand as a recruiter,
letting candidates know that you truly understand their industry and its requirements, too.

Once you’ve made a candidate an offer and they have verbally accepted…call them! Let them know how happy you are that they have chosen your business to continue their career and remind them again why you chose them in the first place. Arrange to take them out for a bite to eat. Make them feel valued, integral, and above all, important. This is their moment in the sun so let them bask in it. You will reap the benefits later, and this is but a small investment in a potentially lucrative relationship.

Put the whole recruitment process behind you at this point, and let the candidate look forward by keeping the momentum and excitement going about their new role. Make sure that any doubts your candidate may have are dispelled through warm and inviting language, and an excellent all round experience. Every part of the candidate’s journey, from the application to the start date, should reflect your brand.

Make sure you show the candidate why they’ve made the right career choice. Most people just need a little validation to be happy with a decision that they’ve made.
Promote conversation, talk with the candidate, and explicitly ask them if there’s anything that unsettles or worries them about their new job. Good objection handling at this point can make all of the difference. Strive to market this new job in such a way that the candidate doesn’t even want to consider any other job interviews or offers.


Don’t play games with your candidate before their start date

Don’t play games with your candidate before their start date

Four to 12 weeks is a long time to wait for a candidate to start work. During that
time a lot can happen. They might have other interviews scheduled, they might be rethinking the job itself, or they might simply be worrying about starting in a new place.

Small things like a gentle email checking in can be of huge benefit to a candidate. Keep in mind that the end goal is to have a happy and contented new employee that will benefit your business for years to come; not just to fill a vacancy. Communication with your future employee doesn’t need to be extravagant. A brief phone call, or email will help put the candidate’s mind at ease. The unknown is always scary so provide your future employee with a road map of sorts, with a clear and easily defined idea of their eventual destination – your client’s workplace.

In the past a job offer was all it needed to be. It was the candidate’s (and your) end goal. But in an competitive job market, where the applicant frequently has more than one offer, it’s important to make sure that your business is marketed convincingly. Follow the above steps and you’ll go a long way towards guaranteeing that your candidate arrives punctually on the agreed upon start date, full of drive, passion, and enthusiasm.

The recruitment process doesn’t end when a candidate starts their new job. There’s still the probation period for your new employee to conquer to ensure that they feel secure. They are still very new to the company and your culture, and remain at risk of not settling in well or even getting a call back from their previous employer.

For more info on PG Automotive, visit or call 0845 643 0497

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Space at next year’s edition of Automechanika Birmingham is already 70 per cent reserved, according to show organisers.

The show, which finished yesterday, was deemed to have been a success, with the number of visitors meeting expectations. A visitor feedback survey was also conducted at the show, the results of which will be available in due course.

“I’m delighted with the visitor numbers – absolutely over the moon” said Simon Albert, Show Director. “We were always confident that this would be a success because the whole industry jumped at the chance to be part of the exhibition.”

“We had over 14,000 pre-registrations and we had quite a sharp increase on the Friday and the Monday before the show”.

Next year’s edition will take place in halls 17-20 of the NEC, with potential exhibitors offered an ‘earlybird’ discount before this week’s show had even started.

* Don’t miss our full show coverage in the July issue of CAT.

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Clare Butler shows us around an old-style factor open evening in Cornwall

Open evening enjoyed by all

Open evening enjoyed by all

There’s something in the air on this warm, late spring evening in St Austell. And that something is the unmistakeable smell of a barbeque, which is welcome indeed as Mike Best Auto Components is a long drive from anywhere and we are all very hungry.

We’re not the only ones. Dozens of local technicians have turned up with the promise of a free feed and a raffle at this traditional open evening. However, the point of an open evening is to introduce customers to its products and this factor (which is part of the six-branch Barum Autoparts chain) has recently signed several new suppliers.

Firstly and most significantly, the team from Motaquip have turned out in force to introduce the brand’s wares. Readers might be familiar with the name: Motaquip was formed in the early 1980’s when Chrysler sold Rootes Group to Peugeot, but retained the rights to the Mopar brand. Peugeot renamed the operation Motaquip and aimed it at independent motor factors. The brand was sold in 2014 and has enjoyed a period of investment since, which has seen it introduce new products and references. On our visit Chairman Peter Cox was busy explaining the benefit of coated discs versus the regular type to a group of technicians.


Grasstrack car brought along for the event

Grasstrack car brought along for the event

Barum Operations Manager (and Branch Manager of Mike Best) Clare Butler was also keen to introduce attendees to products from the A1 buying group, which the group recently joined. “It’s probably one of the best things we’ve done” she said, explaining that joining the buying group had already opened a lot of doors for Barum and had let the branches take control of the amount of stock that they order.

As it was an open day, we were free to wander around the stock room as we pleased along with most of the vehicle repairers from the south Cornish coast. “It’s lovely to hold something in the branch and there were no areas out of bounds to customers” Butler said. “Already, customers that have looked around have said things like: ‘I didn’t know you did O-clips or bearings and seals’. It was beneficial for them to find all of the things that they didn’t think people kept any more”.

Wandering around the 6,000 sq. ft. store, we noticed that the stock of batteries included many of unfamiliar shapes and sizes. This is because the stock, all from local distributor West Country Batteries, includes a lot of marine and leisure references. “We’ve got deals with various harbour commissioners around here” explained Butler, adding that leisure batteries had a better margin than automotive. “Not everyone will think about stocking these, but if I think I can sell it I’ll ask to have it on the shelf and then prove the point” she said. “I think we have the highest battery turnover in the company here”.

The event is now in full swing and invited guests are swarming around some of the other stands at the event: Kilen Springs, BRT Bearings and the Draper Tools van are all attracting plenty of interest. There’s a raffle going on too – which might be of more interest to us if we had remembered to buy a ticket.

“I think it is fantastically useful” said Butler. “There are customers of Mike Best who have been dealing with the branch for years who have never physically been to the depot – so it killed two birds with one stone. We had visitors ranging from ‘Fred in the Shed’ right through to some of our busiest garages. Virtually all of my staff turned up to help and support and all we’ve had is positive feedback”.

She added that the open evening was both cost-effective and helped with the style of community engagement that has been a trademark of Mike Best since the branch was founded. “It only cost the suppliers a small amount of money for the refreshments” she said. “It’s the first major event that we’ve held here at St Austell and as Operations Manager, I think we could roll it out to other depots”. We’ll be sure to attend – and not only for the free barbeque.




Part of Barum Autoparts

Manager Clare Butler

Size 6,000 sq. ft.

Vans 5  Staff 12


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Andy Savva – What level of input should employees have on the running of your business?

Andy Savva

Savva has run various large independent garages and has been a troubleshooter for underperforming franchise workshops.

Here’s a question: If you are ever in a position to expand your business should you take full control or let your employees take charge?

This is not as straightforward as the question may suggest; let me explain.

In most garage businesses that I’ve encountered it’s very rare to find an established culture where employees are encouraged for feedback and ideas let alone allowing them to take charge of a new business opportunity that an owner may have recognised. So you can imagine the reaction of employees if they are asked to take control of a new business idea.

Let’s for a moment imagine you’ve decided to allow your team to take control, as with any a new business idea funding is required, would you seek financial assistance from your people? Why wouldn’t you? After all they are the ones who are going to drive this business opportunity forward.

Well here is where conflict may arise. Most employees are not in a financial situation to invest, and if they were, how much and what return will they seek? Or how much stake will the current owner be willing to give away? Do they have the necessary business skills needed for the project to succeed? There will almost certainly be a barrier from others or a lack of employee enthusiasm, these differences and expectations between stakeholders can create a split between the whole team. It’s natural for individuals to have varied assumptions and beliefs.

So it might sound that I’m arguing in favour of garage owners running their businesses in a despotic fashion, but this isn’t the point I’m making. What I mean is that it is unlikely that your employees will want to invest financially in your business, and that some of their ideas might not always make scene. Does this mean you shouldn’t ask employees for their input? Well, if you don’t consult your staff and customers then how will you know if you are making any business mistakes?

It’s my view, for a business to be successful whatever the scale it must have a strategy in place where all employees are encouraged for feedback and ideas.

At Brunswick Garage we called it ‘Employee Voice, Social Partnership and Reward’. This certainly applies to workshops that have designs to take on the franchised dealers at their own game, but it is also a pillar of Japanese-inspired lean management methods where all employees are encouraged to contribute suggestions to make the working day more efficient.

At Brunswick, it was important to encourage a forum of two-way dialogue and this was discussed at interview stage to prospective new starters and then constantly communicated with all staff throughout the year. This enabled staff to influence events at work and bring together a collectiveness.. It was important for me to explain this effectively in order to gain meaningful input and ideas. Everyone in my firm was aware of both our business and financial performance, tool needs, charity involvement, and of course challenges facing us in the aftermarket.

So in summary, I would suggest that you take any suggestions put forward by your staff seriously, even if you ultimately reject them. Some form of suggestion box, rather than expecting them to tell you face-to-face is also a good idea.

The main advantages of

developing employee voice are:

  • You will be more aware of what’s going on in your business
  • It increases employee engagement
  • It encourages effective decision making and drives innovation
  • It helps employees to feel that their opinions are valued
  • It encourages employee retention because employees feel valued
  • As there is better communication, it helps with organisational change
  • It’s fun doing it this way
  • You can reward the right person for an idea that works

Some evaluation criteria

developing employee voice are:

  • Cost reduction
  • Generating business income
  • Increasing market share
  • Improving customer service or relations
  • Improving the working environment or work/life balance
  • Enhancing the reputation of the business
  • Improving decision making or reducing risk

The relationship between my people and successful strategies was paramount in the success that Brunswick Garage had achieved. Creating a climate where people strived to achieve success and the motivation of individuals were crucial for me and central part of their involvement in our strategy. People are not like other resources; they influence strategy both through their competence but also through behavior both individually and collectively.

You can find out about Andy’s consultancy services by contacting:

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Independent garages are increasingly facing the same challenges; lack of complete and accurate service and repair information, complex automotive technology, cost and time to get information from the manufacturer, acquiring and paying for technical skills, competing with authorised dealerships, and low revenue and profits.

ALLDATA Repair meets automotive business needs

More than 300,000 technicians worldwide use ALLDATA Repair on a daily basis. As the only source of original OE diagnostic repair information, ALLDATA Repair provides garages with access to the most comprehensive and in-depth level of repair information saving time and money, and improving profitability.

ALLDATA Repair is a single-source of OE licensed information containing 22 vehicle brands and more than 23 million articles, wiring diagrams, and dynamic service intervals. With an easy-to-use common navigation structure and search function, technicians can quickly find trouble codes or search for any vehicle part or diagnostic test chart. By using ALLDATA Repair,garages and their technicians can fix vehicles faster, increase productivity, meet manufacturer quality repair standards, and improve customer service.

Getting results

A garage recently spent six hours to strip a vehicle and trace wires to an anti-theft system fault.After contacting ALLDATA, the solution was identified in 10 minutes, and the repair was completed in less than two hours. ALLDATA has 30 years’ experience in helping the automotive aftermarket complete heavy diagnostic work required to stay competitive, improve customer satisfaction, and increase revenue.

With over 85,000 customers worldwide, ALLDATA understands the independent workshops’ needs, and provides solutions to everyday automotive business challenges.

To learn more or to request a free trial, visit us at, or call 01216982068

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stockist unipart Gerry O'Hara

Unipart picked up Fastest Growing Supplier Award from Page earlier in the year

The month gone has seen a number of supply arrangement deals signed by major aftermarket companies. Firstly, accessory distributor Saxon has made an agreement with Unipart Autoparts for distribution of Unipart branded products in the UK.

Neil Haines, CEO of Saxon stated that the deal allowed the company to add to its portfolio of bands and that it developed his strategy of working with ‘market leading quality partners’.

Gerry O’Hara Managing Director of Unipart Autoparts noted that the deal provided a ‘winning formula’ for working with their joint customers.
Meanwhile, A1 Motor Stores has added Bradford-based Autoelectro to its list of suppliers. Autoelectro is a large remanufacturer with a wide range of references.

Autoelectro’s Managing Director, Tony Bhogal said: “We have invested heavily in the latest test equipment to understand, test and check the newest applications, which incorporate complex electronics”.

Simon Salloway, A1’s Head of Operations, commented: “I know our members will benefit enormously from having them on board”. Salloway knows more than most about the rotating electrics market having joined A1 from AMK. Also in distribution this month, cooling part supplier Nissens received a gong from the TETMOT expo for being the supplier with the best logistics over the past year. A ‘proud and humble’ VP Klavs T. Pederson received the award on behalf of the company.

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We keep it clean with a trip to the place where Swarfega is made

Swarfega Visit

We reckon that every person reading CAT will know what we mean by Swarfega, but just in case you’ve never seen a tub, it’s a sea green gelatinous flubber that has been used for cleaning hands and arms after work. For years it has been a staple sold by accessory shops and used by the trade and by the public alike, but have you ever wondered where it comes from – or why it looks the way that it does. Well, we did – so we headed to Derbyshire to find out the story.

The product was developed in 1947 by an industrial chemist named Audley Bowdler Williamson who was apparently searching for a product to extend the life of silk stockings. However, the story goes that one formulation turned out to be great at shifting grease without damaging skin (mechanics had previously used petrol, kerosene or whatever was available, with inevitable consequences). Williamson already produced a product called ‘Deb’ for the silky legwarmers so it seems unlikely that Swarfega was ever really intended for this purpose – but what is certain is that the factory, based out of a number of buildings in Belper, Derbyshire were soon producing thousands of gallons to keep up with demand.

By the twenty-first century the maze of units around Belper were over half a century old and an update was needed. In 2005 parent firm Deb Group reorganised the 21 brands that it owned, and planned to build a new 150,000 sq ft HQ and production facility on the site of a former colliery a short distance from where the company was founded. By 2007, the new plant was finished and capital investment came from Charterhouse Investment Partners who acquired the firm in February 2010 for a reported £335m. The company was sold again in 2015 to SC Johnson (best known for household cleaning products including Mr. Muscle and Pledge) for an undisclosed amount.

We’ve seen a few factories on our travels, but we’ve never been to a soap plant before. Inside, the vast reception and atrium is – almost predictably – dazzlingly clean and shiny. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that this is a truly self-contained facility. Everything from marketing and admin through to product re-formulation and manufacturing is housed in here.

Moving from reception into the production site involves a change of clothes. Non-woven hair-nets, overshoes and smocks have to be worn as production of hand cleaners by definition has to be clean. This also means no personal items are allowed in the plant – which from our point of view means no note pads, voice recorders or cameras.

As might be expected from a modern ISO14001 plant there is a lean management process in operation and core to this is traceability of everything. The system used by this firm is Datastor Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) that is used to control and monitor the whole production process. Raw materials are coded on arrival and this code is logged when a batch of product is made. Things with romantic names such as ‘Sea Kelp’ and ‘Freshly Baked Baguette’ adorn the shelves – although these are stored for the most part in particularly unromantic-looking bulk containers. As a note, the plant is ‘bunded’ so in the event of a spill, no chemical would be released into the water table or to the sewers.

The mixing plant itself is a sight to behold. Rows of giant steel silos get on with turning raw ingredients into products. From there, the finished goods are pumped into a tank farm ready to be packaged on one of a number of production lines. On our visit the Swarfega line wasn’t running, but a foaming soap was being filled into special bottles designed for wall dispensers. These cartons fold in on themselves as the soap level runs low, so that no great amount of product is left inside.

It is these types of dispensers, and not the tubs of traditional Swarfega that Deb are keen to sell to the trade. This might sound counter-productive as each measure is just 4.5ml, but the firm explain that it is the best way. Chris Brooks, Technical Product Manager at Swarfega, commented: “Using a dispensing system and not a traditional bulk bucket product can help to make significant savings. A simple change in cleaning routine could also see better results and reduce the required amount of cleanser used”.

He added that skincare is also improved as dispensers mean that garages are far more likely to use barrier cream and skin restorer as well. “A third of technicians can wash their hands as often as ten times per day – which might be because they need to move a car without getting the interior dirty or dealing with a customer. That’s a significant amount of washing and if you are using the wrong product it can do a lot of damage to your hands.”

So even the way that garages wash their hands is changing – surely there has got to be some commercial opportunity for factors open a conversation with their customers?


SIZE 150,000 sq. ft
SITE SPEC Bunded Plant, brownfield site

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Out and About with CAT, Retailer NewsComments (0)

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