Blogs

FPS WITHDRAWS FROM CAMPING AND CARAVANNING SECTOR

FPS Distribution is to withdraw from the camping and caravanning market. The changes take effect from November 30th and are in response to space pressure across its warehouse network.

Products affected include ‘canvas’ camping products such as tents, awnings and related accessories. Stowage and towing products including Mont Blanc racks, roof boxes and towbars are not affected and will continue to be stocked.

In a press statement, a spokesman said: “Our programme and everyone’s diligent work have provided growth in this sector. However, our market has changed and our core motor components business is growing so fast that we now have capacity challenges”.–

Space pressure on Sheffield DC influenced decision

“By withdrawing from caravan and camping, we will create capacity in our supply chain at both Sheffield, and in our HGV and branch transport fleet. This will allow us to focus on improving and growing our core business” read the statement.

FPS has been part of the Alliance Automotive Group since 2016.

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UNIVERSAL TYRES VISIT

The smart way of tyre dealing

 

General Manager Michael Jackson explains how Universal Tyres and Parts has grown in the face of change

 

 

Anyone with an old Beatles album must have noticed the ‘Hayes Middlesex’ address on the back, and affectionados of vinyl might know that part of the old pressing plant has been restored and once again, part of it is still pressing records.

However, just around the corner there is another part of the old site that has swapped vinyl for rubber as for many years it has been home to Universal Tyres and Parts, one of the largest regional wholesale distributors of tyres. The site looks reminiscent of a railway shunting yard as the cobbled courtyard had a number of rail tracks embedded in it.

 

“The rails are there because the records would be pressed over the road and then be stored in our warehouses before being shipped out on the canal” explained Michael Jackson, a Director at Universal. The tyre wholesaler rescued a clutch of buildings from a state of semi dereliction over a period of years. Apart from the deco-fronted warehouse the firm also occupies a suite of grand-looking offices that were once something to do with the record company, as well as a one-time storage area which is now a retail workshop offering the public around-the-wheel services as well as servicing and MOTs.

 

 Turnover

However, wholesale is the mainstay of the business and the last decade has seen turnover grow from £6m to almost £14m. That same period has been one of dramatic change across the tyre industry as a whole. “Before, tyre companies were a little world within themselves, and there was a bit of snobbery to anyone that was ‘outside’” said Jackson. “Now, we deal with a lot more service and repair garages (rather than just tyre fitters) because everyone is diversifying”.

 

Like the rest of the parts trade, it has been the advent of multiple daily deliveries that has been driving this diversification. Multiple drops mean that small workshops don’t need to hold a large stock pack in order to introduce a tyre bay. The garage equipment needed to change tyres is more accessible than ever these days, thanks to cheap finance and lease options – although Jackson cautions that not all beading machines are created equal. “Some garages see adverts for cheap tyre machines, but then realise that the equipment can’t take larger wheel sizes or are suitable for TPMS etc” he said, adding that Universal are always happy to put clients in touch with any number of equipment dealers that can supply the right kit.

 

Electronic trading

The greatest change to the business in recent years is the adoption of electronic trading. A decade ago, Universal received perhaps a third of orders electronically, and Jackson says that a survey at the time showed the prevailing attitude of clients was that they ‘prefered to talk to a person’. Today, the situation has reversed, with eight out of ten orders being made electronically. Hard parts factors who say that their customers will never accept online ordering should take note…

 

Another area where the trade has changed is the number of tyres in any one particular size. 205/55R16 is the most common size, but there are hundreds of different options. Jackson used an example of a customer who can’t quite get their head around the idea of how many choices there are. “The customer might say ‘oh just send me a Conti’, but we might have 15 different Continental tyres available with different brand fitment, run flat and speed ratings, and there might be 50 different options in total when summer and winter tyres are taken into account”.

 

To manage amount of inventory a particularly lean system needs to be in place. The warehouse has two full floors with a conveyor rather than just a simple mezzanine. The inventory is large, but as with most just-in-time systems, daily deliveries of stock are required to keep the profile up to date. Walking around, it is fascinating to see the range of tyres stocked. We notice a set of white walls for an original Fiat 500 alongside van tyres, mud and snow tyres tyres and everything in between. “We have tyres for everything, from a wheelbarrow, to these, for a Ferrari Enzo” Jackson said, showing us the Enzo tyres by way of proof. “We don’t sell many of those, but if someone orders a set, they expect them immediately” he beamed.

 

Special racking has been put in place to maximise every square centimetre of space and in recent years the firm has migrated to a cloud-based management system called TyreSoft, which has proved popular with customers because as soon as a van has a manifest, a message is automatically sent to the customer telling them of the time of arrival of their order and the invoice is emailed as well. “It’s a smart way of doing it” concluded Jackson.

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HELLA COMPLETES €395m MEKONOMEN DEAL

Hella has successfully concluded sale of wholesale businesses FTZ and Inter-Team

The Danish and Polish wholesale businesses were transferred to Swedish wholesaler Mekonomen after approval by the cartel authorities

 After approval by the antitrust authorities responsible, both companies were transferred to the Swedish wholesaler Mekonomen. Subject to the terms of the transaction, the purchase price amounts to € 395 million.

“We are delighted about the successful conclusion of the transaction. From now on we will be able to focus our aftermarket activities even more on the two strategic columns independent aftermarket and innovative workshop equipment,” says Dr. Werner Benade, Managing Director of the Aftermarket and Special Applications segments at HELLA. “In particular, we are thus going to advance the interaction between both areas and accelerate the development of new digital business models.”

FTZ and Inter-Team employ a total of around 2,500 people. In the last fiscal year 2017/2018 the two wholesalers achieved total sales of around € 500 million. This corresponds to approx. seven percent of HELLA’s group consolidated sales.

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PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS

Promoting your business

By Adam Bernstein

Do you really know how valuable your customers are to you? Have you ever stopped to think if they actively promote or harm your reputation?

Of course, it is entirely possible to run a business on a diet of ‘one-hit wonder’ customers, but it’s a wasteful, time consuming and expensive way of generating business. It’s much better to win and keep customers by understanding their lifetime value through studying their loyalty. One way of doing this is to generate what is termed a ‘Net Promoter Score’.

 Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a loyalty tool used to monitor and gauge the loyalty of a business relationship, irrespective of whether it’s business to consumer or business to business. The key benefit of NPS is that it gives insights into elements of a relationship such as customer satisfaction, effectiveness of communications and how well customer service is judged.

For some, it can be a very effective way of measuring customer experiences precisely because it’s possible to see if customers would recommend you to others, with answers based on a zero to 10 scoring method.

Calculations

From a business perspective, understanding how the scoring is calculated is essential as this drives communication with those who might buy from you. Essentially NPS asks a series of “why” and “would” questions which return scores of between zero to 10.

And over time NPS allows firms to regularly canvas customers for their opinions, asking numerous questions via a 20 – 30 second questionnaire which can be answered quickly. Because of the ease of answering NPS questionnaires the response rate can be high.

There is a standard to scoring NPS responses:

Those reporting nine to10 are labelled as a promoter. They are likely to buy again and promote the business to others as a recommendation. They are a great advocate for the business to have and they will be a loyal customer in the future.

A score of seven or eight labels customers as ‘passive’. These people fall in the middle of being a promoter or detractor. They are undecided and do not want to commit and so do not give active responses to the questions and try to remain impartial.

Customers giving a response under six are labelled as detractors. A detractor can be detrimental to a business as they can become negative, give comments that will influence others, and they may not complete business transactions.

The problem for businesses faced with detractors is that the web feeds the subconscious. This is because consumers often look online for comments made about the products and services of a business and this can have a negative or positive effect and may well influence their own buying decisions.

The actual calculation when measuring NPS is a function of the total number of respondents who reply, the total number of promoters and the total number of detractors; the percentage of detractors need to be subtracted from the percentage of promoters. The closer the result to 100, the better it is and anything with a negative should be dealt with quickly.

 Best effect

It should go without saying that NPS needs to be used properly if the right result is truly wanted. Having a score for a product or service will give an insight of how well a job has been done. If the scoring is poor, a business can see the areas that need work and take proactive action to improve them.

NPS can be used generally or specifically, depending on the strategy being deployed. For example, after a customer has purchased a simple automated email can be sent asking for feedback. It’s important to note, however, that for NPS campaigns to work a business-wide strategy needs to be implemented and it needs to take into consideration factors such as making all staff aware of what NPS is, how the measurements work and what they mean; not ignoring or failing to respond to negative comments; and actively seeking to engage with those classified as promoters.

Think also about how you will communicate further with promoters. They have given you a good score but how will you continue to communicate positively with them now that you have their goodwill? And negative scorings should also create the same thought process – think about how you will work with those customers that give a low score? Everyone needs to communicate effectively to customers and the key is to keep monitoring the scoring results and act upon them.

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GET SMART: SURCHARGE-FREE CALIPERS BY REMY

Paid promotion from Remy Smart

Remy Smart caliper

 

Remy Smart brake calipers are less expensive than their OEM counterparts, but meet the same superior specifications and quality requirements that Remy customers place on parts. The Remy Smart product range includes spare parts for price-conscious consumers with vehicles that are eight years or older.

Remy Smart brake calipers are brandnew and come fully assembled with new parts. Remy has tested all components which are validated, safe and reliable. Remy Smart brake calipers have been tested under extremely high and low pressures and temperatures during realistic endurance tests.

Smart replacement for OEM parts

During intensive exposure to long-term exceptional circumstances, the brake calipers continued to function optimally. Thanks to aging-resistant rubber seals, the brake pistons smoothly retract into the brake calliper even after a long duration and exposure to dirt and moisture. Remy Smart brake calipers are, just like the OEM versions, resistant to moisture, salt and dirt. By virtue of all these crucial features, Remy Smart brake calipers are suitable for all conditions.

Remy places high demands on the Smart range of spare parts and does not compromise on quality. This ensures that Remy Smart brake calipers always fit perfectly and perform at least as well as the original parts.

Remy is convinced of the quality of its Smart range, which is why we have a 12 months guarantee on brake calipers. With over 180 references, we cover the vast majority of the current European car fleet.

 

Remy Smart Brake Calipers characteristics:

  • New

  • Safe

  • Reliable

  • Affordable

  • Surcharge free

Remy Smart caliper

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RAPID GROUP FOUNDER SOLD TO GROUPAUTO PARENT

Carlisle-based motor factor chain TMS has been sold to Alliance Automotive Group (AAG), the parent company of the GROUPAUTO and UAN buying groups.

The 24-branch factor is active over Northern England and Southern Scotland. Terms of the deal have not been announced.

TMS Motor Spares Ltd started life as Teviot Motor Factors Ltd in the 1970’s when two of the current Directors bought a factors franchise.  A change of ownership led to TMS Motor Spares being set up in 1996 with a single branch (Annan). The business’ approach to trade factoring was a success and lead to expansion, resulting in the formation of the Rapid buying group in 2005.

AAG also announced the acquisition of three other Scottish single-branch factors that were already existing members. These are Livingston Autoparts Ltd, WD Motor Factors based in Dunfermline and Alloa-based Bridge Motor Factors.

 

 

 

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EURO CAR PARTS DIVESTS NINE AP BRANCHES

Following the ruling by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after the acquisition of Andrew Page, Euro Car Parts has confirmed it has now sold the required nine branches to Hilco Capital Limited.

The deal, which also includes two commercial vehicle sites in addition to the nine Andrew Page sites, will see all 11 branches rebranded as Auto Spares and Parts (ASAP) throughout this month. ASAP registered it’s current name at Companies House on Monday. Previously it was known as AP Tradeco Ltd. ECP’s CEO Martin Gray had been listed as a Director of AP Tradeco, but resigned on September 3rd.

The ASAP brand name is currently used by ECP for part of it’s Marine division. 

Employees will transfer from Andrew Page to ASAP as part of the sale and will be managed by Tom Clegg who has joined the ASAP business as MD.

Hilco is a financial investor across a range of sectors and hold a diverse range of investments across the UK.

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BOOKINGS TAKEN FOR AUTOMECHANIKA B’HAM 2019

A number of suppliers have been confirmed as exhibitors for the Automechanika Birmingham show to be held in 2019.

Big names already booked include Schaeffler, ZF, Denso, Delphi Technologies, Valeo, Bosch, Hella, Bilstein Group, NGK and Yuasa.

The 2019 edition will be the last annual show before it switches to a biennial format. This was in response to a number of larger visitors expressing concerns that exhibiting at both Frankfurt and Birmingham in the same year was too much of a stretch.

Show bosses are predicting more than 600 exhibitors and as many as 12,000 delegates for show, now in its fourth year.

Jack Halliday,  Head of Sales for the show, said: “The event will go biennial from 2019 – we’re already experiencing a high demand from companies wanting to exhibit to ensure they see the market before 2021.”

 

 

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ECP OPENS MAIDSTONE HUB, PLUS TWO BRANCHES

Factor giant Euro Car Parts has opened two new branches and a distribution hub.

The new branches include a regional 5,000 sq ft outlet in Scarborough and a 6,800 sq ft store in Bow, East London.

New ECP distribution hub opens in Maidstone

Meanwhile, the new 53,000 square foot Maidstone distribution hub stocks more than 50,000 parts and has created 74 new jobs in the local area. Complete with a specialist paint facility and a training room, the hub gives ECP even greater coverage in the region. The opening comes in the same week that the signs came down at the former Andrew Page hub in Markham Vale.

Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, commented: “Our new branches and Maidstone hub are part of an ambitious 2018 expansion plan as we invest in our considerable branch network. By opening new outlets in strategic locations around the UK, we are giving customers a faster, better service with an unbeatable off-the-shelf range of parts.”

 

NOTE: Story has been updated to correct an error on the original company statement

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CAT AWARDS 2019

We’re back in the Lowry, Manchester for 2019… Watch this space!

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