Blogs

J S AUTOS UP IN FLAMES

Fire at Empress Road, Southampton. © Daily Echo/Solent News & Photo AgencyUK

Family-run garage J S Autos, along with three other car repair businesses, were engulfed in flames after a fire broke out on Thursday morning.

The incident took place on Empress Road, Southampton where 79 fire fighters rushed to the scene to battle the blaze. No casualties were reported while police and ambulance services offered support to local residents and bystanders.

The family business, which has served the area for over 40 years, took the brunt of the fire suffering from smashed windows and broken vehicles when the roof collapsed in on itself.

Speaking to the Southern Daily Echo, Jhalman Rai, owner of JS Autos said. “It’s 40 years of business down the drain. It’s a family business and it happened so fast. I was coming back from a test drive and the business next door, people were working on a car,” he continued. “Smoke started coming from it and then all of a sudden it just went up, flames everywhere and we had to get out.”

Also speaking to the newspaper, Kevin Evenett, Incident Commander added: “There were multiple businesses affected and it appears that they were all interlinked. We had 79 personnel on scene and ten pumps and fortunately everyone was out and okay wn we arrived”.

“It’s definitely a reasonable size incident and that thick black smoke is tyres, grime and oil. Cars were involved in the fire but we don’t know how many, and the roof of the building has collapsed in on itself”.

The fire services  deemed the area ‘safe’ the next day (Friday 21st) at 9:25am.

The cause of the fire is still not known as the Hampshire Fire and Rescue continue their investigation.

Posted in Garage News, Latest News, News, UncategorisedComments (0)

MINI DUCTOR VENOM SHOWCASES AT AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM

PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF INDUCTION INNOVATIONS

The highly innovative version of the Mini-Ductor® induction heating tool, the Venom™, will be demonstrated on the Sykes-Pickavant stand, 17A9, at this year’s Automechanika Birmingham.

The Mini-Ductor® Venom™ generates Invisible Heat® to release ferrous and some non-ferrous metals from corrosion and thread lock compounds without the dangers of an open flame. The tool can be used for a wide variety of applications and 19mm nuts are turned hot in around 15 seconds.

Tom Gough, President of Induction Innovations, Inc. the tool’s manufacturer says, “Venom’s features allows users to repair vehicles and equipment faster, safer and more profitably, and to salvage parts normally discarded.”

Visitors to Automechanika will be able to see the tool in action, in a controlled working environment. Rob Hawker, Product Development and Training Manager for Sykes-Pickavant says, “This is a truly unique tool – a must have for automotive technicians. We’re looking forward to showing visitors how it will help transform the way they work.”

Special coils offer
All Mini-Ductor® Venom™ orders placed by the end of April 2017 will come with a free coil kit worth £125 + VAT. Place your order and claim your free coil kit by calling 01953 859138 or emailing info@theinductor.co.uk

To watch an overview of the Venom™ in action, visit The Inductor UK’s YouTube channel and view the product spec at www.theinductor.co.uk

Posted in Featured Sidebar, Industry InsightComments (0)

IFA TO JOIN ADI BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The IFA has announced that it has secured a position on the main board of directors of Automotive Distribution International (ADI), one of the ‘big four’ international trading groups.

Although the IFA has been a member of the larger group since November 2012, this will be the first time that it has sat at the boardroom table.

Steve Parker, the IFA General Manager said of the move: “It secures our relationship with ADI, but it also puts us at the table when any future key decisions are made”.

Parker added that the past few years have seen the parent trading group grow from strength to strength, increasing the membership all across Europe, as well as securing a major agreement with one of the biggest American groups to jointly form “1parts” in 2015. ADI and 1parts are now said to have a combined annual turnover in excess of $17bn

“It is essential for the future of anyone wishing to play a part in the future of the UK’s aftermarket supply chain, to be in control of what’s happening. Especially when there is so much uncertainty around currently with trading with Europe” concluded Parker.

Posted in Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

FURTHER ICO HOUSE RAIDS OVER BODYSHOP “DATA THEFT”

Two properties in the North West have been raided as part of an ongoing investigation into nuisance calls related to data theft from car body repair shops.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) carried out the searches on Tuesday 11th at private residences in Macclesfield and Droylsden. There is no word as yet about what, if anything, was seized, or if there were any arrests made.

The investigation centres on hacked data from crash repair shops used to make nuisance calls to people to encourage them to make personal injury claims. The same investigation saw a business and two homes raided in December.

Mike Shaw, Enforcement Group Manager at the ICO, said: “Many people get unsolicited calls suggesting they’ve had been involved in an accident, and wonder how the caller had their details. Calls can leave them feeling uneasy and frustrated”.

Jason Moseley, NBRA Director added: “Membership of our association promotes good data diligence and practices. This is something we have been working closely with the ICO for 12 months now, and we fully support that further actions are being taken against this criminal activity.”

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

OBITUARY: ARNOLD CLARK

Renowned car dealer Arnold Clark has died at the age of 89.

Clark set up in the used car business in 1954. His first sale was a pre-war Morris 10/4 followed by others, allowing him to open a site in Glasgow’s Park Road where he eventually opened a Morris franchise.

By the 1960s Clark had acquired a number of other dealerships, allowing his firm to expand into car finance, vehicle rental and crash repair. Today the firm has 200 dealerships representing 24 VM brands.

A statement from the family read: “He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and a great friend and employer to many.

“He was an inspiration and the family will continue to carry on his vision. He will be greatly missed”.

Clark had ten children from two marriages and passed away ‘surrounded by family’.

Posted in Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

MORE THAN JUST FILTRATION

We take a tour around Mahle’s plant facilities in Telford

Mahle’s Telford site

Say ‘Mahle’ to most garages and they’d think of the traditional blue and white livery, as well as its extensive filtration range. In fact, the firm produces up to 1.1 billion a year across 170 production sites worldwide. However, filters are just one of many lines produced by the firm. In fact, the total number of products is set to increase as it prepares for electric and hybrid technology coming into the market.

ACQUISITIONS
The parts manufacturer has made gains amidst market consolidations over the past few years. It acquired the majority of shares in Slovenia-based Letrika in 2014 and Mahle-Behr took over Delphi Thermal Systems in 2015. In addition, Mahle has added mechatronics and hybrid systems to its portfolio for the same reasons as Jonathan Walker, Managing Director of Mahle Aftermarket, explains. “There’s so much consolidation happening at the moment and we’re aware of it happening elsewhere”, he said. “What we’re doing is adding additional businesses technical capabilities to what we can do as the systems interrelate”.

This was clearly evident at the firm’s Telford-based facility, which used to manufacture Dunlop tennis rackets, but is now home to an operation employing 206 staff of whom 90 work on the shop floor producing up to 30,000 components a day. From filters and manifold systems to valves and thermostats for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, were just a few of many parts coming off the production lines.

SHOP FLOOR
With a vast space to operate, the management team has implemented a new lean strategy over the past four years, both to drive productivity, and also make it a safe and comfortable place to work. “Part of the shop f loor management is making sure people know what is going on hence why we have direct production data coming live onto the shop floor every hour”, said Walker. “The management team can then see how each area is performing so they can tackle any issues that may arise”, adding that the new structure has significantly reduced management meeting time to as little as fifteen minutes.

The factory is split into four sections with fast moving components placed at the front of the premises. We were keen to find out more about this setup. “We have high and low volume manufacturing areas because the positioning of the factory is all about cost”, Walker replied. “We’re always trying to add value for the customer rather than wasting money when it goes on additional resources”.
The plant also features multiple assembly stations where a filter is produced every 6.8 seconds. Walker elaborates. “The operators will solely focus on assembling the components that are delivered by the logistics team by their train systems. Once the rack becomes empty, he or she will drop it to the bottom one below, at which point the logistics team will walk over, grab the barcode at the back, which tells the people in the warehouse that the operator needs another box of components so they can then bring it back on the train system”.

PACKAGING AND DISTRIBUTION
Once parts have been built, tested and receive the green light, the final step is packaging them for distribution. Whether it’s an aftermarket or OE component, Walker points out that both products undergo the same rigorous manufacturing processes with only the packaging being the differentiator between the two.

BUSINESS STRATEGY
Recent launches include Caremetix cabin filters, with air conditioning compressors set to launch in the middle of this year. Walker concluded. “Not enough people know we’ve been in the UK since 1996. In the UK aftermarket, it’s filtration that we’re known for but it’s really important we change that perception to encompass all of our other products that we do by bringing our ranges that we make as a fit first to the independent automotive aftermarket”. We look forward to catching up with the Mahle team again in the not so distant future.

Posted in Out and About with CATComments (0)

NAMA REPORT INCREASE IN CONVERSION RATES

The National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA) has published its most recent car auction data report covering the month of February 2017.

The report shows that overall in February that average selling value decreased -4.8% from £5,296 to £5,041 while average mileage went up by 2.3% to 66,811 and the first time premium was £74.

Louise Wallis, Head of NAMA commented, “Wholesale activity in February was buoyant. It was clear that the excess volumes experienced in January had largely washed through auction centres. “Whilst there was no shortage of stock, demand led to an increase in conversion rates” she added.

“The following weeks will see large numbers of part exchange vehicles enter the market following the plate change in March. The car demand should allow these vehicles to be absorbed by the market as they are brought to supply dealer forecourts to fulfill consumer demand. We look forward to seeing what the rest of the first quarter of 2017 brings.”

Posted in Blogs, News, UncategorisedComments (0)

ALL CHANGE ON BUSINESS RATES

Challenging times for ratepayers: Adam Bernstein investigates

The last two years have brought challenging times for ratepayers and there is little respite on the horizon. With the 2017 revaluation, rateable values are increasing substantially throughout large swathes of the country and the high street is in the front line.

According to Richard New, a real estate litigation partner at Eversheds LLP, ratepayers pay roughly half of what the Valuation Office assess to be the market rental value for each commercial property they occupy, whether or not they own the freehold or the leasehold of that property.

The last rating list was based on 2008 rental values and the impending revaluation came into effect on 1 April 2017, with rental values being assessed as of April 2015.

New says the 2008-2015 period was an especially volatile period for the property market. “However,” he adds, “many cities were over the worst of the downturn and had started to accelerate by 2015 so have seen sizeable increases in their rateable values.”

The Valuation Office published the new rateable values in draft late last year and is inviting representations from ratepayers as to any factual or other substantial errors. New advises ratepayers to instruct a RICS qualified rating surveyor to see whether there is any scope for challenge. “The list went live on 1 April 2017 and ratepayers can now appeal their assessments formally, but a new system was brought into effect which will influence which battles ratepayers wish to pick.” He says that the Valuation Office is hoping that the introduction of the Check Challenge Appeal process will reduce the number of frivolous claims and lead to more challenges being settled in the early stages, with fewer appeals being heard before the Valuation Tribunal. Under the old regime it was felt that too many appeals are being put in speculatively with little chance of success.

“In essence,” says New, “the changes to the appeal process should prompt ratepayers to be more diligent in their appointment of trusted, well- respected advisors because the process will now be more paper-heavy and forensic from the outset.”

Check Challenge Appeal places greater emphasis on the ratepayer ensuring that the appeal is well-founded. “Ratepayers will need to ‘frontload’ more than they currently do for the appeal process, both in terms of assessing opportunities and accumulating evidence,” says New. He warns that except for physical changes to the property or its locality, the ratepayer will only get one chance to appeal.

Under the first step of the new regime, Check, the sides will agree factual evidence regarding the property concerned. “The ratepayer will be responsible for the accurate presentation of information regarding the property and the Valuation Office will reassess whether an amendment is merited,” says New. He warns though, if ratepayers present false information they may find themselves fined.

Challenge follows if Check leads to no amendment. New says ratepayers should expect to state the detailed grounds for the alteration and provide evidence in support. “This might be market data or legal or factual representations which support a change to the rateable value. There will then be a period for negotiation.”

With, Appeal, it is likely that limited evidence can be brought in front of the Valuation Tribunal except for that disclosed during the Challenge phase. This is why New says that there is a real need for comprehensive thought to have gone into the submissions made at an early stage of an appeal. He notes that rather like an employment tribunal claim, those wanting to take an appeal to a hearing will have to pay a £300 fee.

“What is interesting about Check Challenge Appeal,” says New, “is that it will undoubtedly put more onus on ratepayers, both in terms of time and money they spend on preparing its appeals and in compliance with time limits.” He explains that if ratepayers fail to submit evidence by certain deadlines then their appeals will be terminated instantly, but how this will operate in practice is still open to speculation. “This would seem to be unreasonable given that the Valuation Office is recommending that it has 12 months to deal with the Check phase and 18 months in which to deal with the Challenge, so the prospect of an early decision is questionable.” It’s also important to note that the appeal can lead to a rise in the rates and not necessarily a reduction.

The lesson is clear. Businesses must make a point of checking their business rates valuation. If they feel that they have a genuine case to make they should engage an appropriate RICS qualified rating surveyor (see ricsfirms.com) and put together their case for an appeal. They only have one bite of the cherry and so the case needs to be well researched.

BUDGET AND THE CHANCELLOR 

In his March 2017 Budget, the Chancellor bowed to pressure to help those businesses most adversely hit by the April 2017 rates revaluation. “We cannot abolish business rates as they will fund local government,” Mr Hammond said, noting that he wants to find a way of taxing the digital economy. He added: “We will set out our preferred approach in due course”.

In the meantime, the Chancellor promised to cap business rate rises at £50 a month for those leaving small business rate relief (currently set at £12,000 in value but rising to £15,000 from April). There is also to be a £300m discretionary relief fund made available to local authorities to tackle other rates- related issues in their local areas.

Overall, Hammond reckons that his announcements equate to a £435m cut in business rates.

Posted in CAT Know-HowComments (0)

PAGID REVEALS ‘BIG’ ISSUES FOR AFTERMARKET 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Pagid has released results of a survey looking at the thoughts and opinions of those working in the automotive aftermarket, revealing the big issues they face in 2017.

Take a look at their infographic below to see the issues that may affect you this year.


Posted in Featured Sidebar, Industry InsightComments (0)

KEEPING REMAN AT THE CORE

Tom Curtis shows CAT around Shaftec’s HQ in Hockley

Long-established brake and steering remanufacturer Shaftec has been on a multi-million pound expansion programme over the last few years, having relocated the majority of operations from its previous Nechells site to a modern 42,000 sq ft. industrial space in 2015. The move has since enabled the Tecdoc data supplier to double its production and stock capacity, supplying over 6,000 drive shafts and 1,300 CV joint references to the aftermarket, backed-up by a recent brand and website revamp. This is where we met with Shaftec Sales Director Tom Curtis who took us through the day-to-day operation.

CORE
Our first stop began at the delivery depot where staff carried out their daily runs to collect and return old core for a second chance of life. However, there is a mandatory procedure to undertake before products are restocked on the shelves. “Our drivers go and collect the core which is booked in electronically”, said Curtis. “Everything has to come back in Shaftec boxes for two reasons, one, it’s easy identification because it’s got our part number on it and we know what parts are in the box, which is checked with images when it comes back in. Separate to that, the driver’s sheet will tally up the return with what’s in the box so they can match up to each part”, adding that the firm will usually receive up to 20 pallets a day.

CHECK-IN
Parts brought back are checked- in individually through the company’s online booking system. With many components to get through, Curtis and the team have adopted a quick and efficient process that incorporates separate check-in points for each product category. A check-in station is also utilised for stock not fit for remanufacturing which is something crucial that Curtis is trying to make customers aware of. “We’re traing customers to look for the right returns. In turn, our customers are training garages to make sure that when something comes back off of the car that it’s fit for remanufacturing” Curtis continued. “Things like this can carry a £100 surcharge and if you reject them, it’s going to cause upset so we try to educate our consumers as much as we can from that perspective”.

Calipers await a second life

PRODUCTION
The next phase involves bringing components to the production benches where operators will strip down driveshafts and calipers to bare metal, before adding in new pistons, seals and CV joints later on. Before this can be executed, parts must first enter a deep clean process via the Shot Blasting Machines to remove all traces of rust and grease. “The Shot Blast Machines will take rust off to make it a clear part and we’ll use a Soda Blaster System for more intricate parts where rust gets into certain areas of the component”, said Curtis. After this, the casing gets a fresh coat of paint.

ORDERS
The firm can process up to 300 orders a day managed through Shaftec’s in-house production system. This provides staff with a run down of all the components required for each customer purchase. The system follows a similar set up to core check-in whereby operators will construct driveshafts and calipers at separate assembly points along with computer systems, assisting them with the essential CV and outer joints needed for each customer order. Curtis elaborated. “Our IT system tells operators what they have to build and what model the CV joints are. Our programme also tracks the status of who’s building it and how many are being built each day”.

Before ending up in Shaftec branded packaging, calipers are pressure tested in all car conditions and receive a part number after the all clear. “We have three testing machines to test each caliper before it’s boxed up” said Curtis. “Like a traffic light, it either passes or fails and typically 1/100 will fail and end up in scrap”.

MOVING FORWARD
Once our tour finished, Curtis explained that the firm’s next agenda is increasing stock capacity further by building another mezzanine floor to cater for its steering portfolio. He concluded. “We almost have all of our wares in-house but eventually, we want to bring the remaining units from our Nechelles site into this space with the addition of a new mezzanine floor for steering racks and pumps”. The supplier has also said it has taken on more electrical steering systems as hybrid and Connected Car technology becomes more commonplace in the years to come.

Posted in Braking, Factor & Supplier News, News, Out and About with CAT, Steering & SuspensionComments (1)

Advertisement
  • How a devastating flood left difficult decisions for wholesalers
  • Air con? Cartel exposed: European Commission metals out huge fine
  • When is the best time to expand your business?

more info

    • Given rising costs, do you think the number of van runs from factor branches will decrease?

      View Results

      Loading ... Loading ...
    • Popular
    • Latest
    • Comments
    • Tags
    • Subscribe