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NEW DIVISION AND DATA FIRM FOR SCHAEFFLER

NEW DIVISION AND DATA FIRM FOR SCHAEFFLER

Changes at Schaeffler for the New Year

The Schaeffler group is expanding its company divisions with the announcement of its aftermarket subsidiary that will come into effect on January 1st.

The clutch maker will now consist of three separate divisions – Automotive OEM, Industrial and the newly appointed autonomous Automotive Aftermarket business, where all sites operating under this brand will report directly to the company’s head office in Langen, Germany. The full upgrade to division status has also prompted a shake-up in the senior management team appointing Michael Söding to the Board of Managing Directors of whom has been President of the AAM business since it was established in 2009.

“This upgrade to division status within the Schaeffler Group allows AAM to push forward necessary improvements and changes faster and more effectively – for the benefits of our customers”, said Jeff Earl, UK Marketing Manager at Schaeffler, “The UK AAM organisation will also reap the benefits from this stronger position within the group. We will continue to deliver the market leading range of LuK, INA, FAG and Ruville repair solutions, along with the unmatched levels of service that customers have come to expect.”

To further strengthen its position, the group has also acquired Autinity Systems GmbH for an undisclosed sum. Speaking of its latest purchase, Earl said, “autinity systems GmbH specialises in the digital collection evaluation and analysis of machine data in real time, and its acquisition allows Schaeffler to strengthen its data capture and status monitoring capability as key elements in the computer assisted production of its industrial and automotive components,” he concluded. “The acquisition is part of the M&A adopted by the Schaeffler Group, supporting the global concept of “Mobility for tomorrow” and providing additional technological capabilities to assist in the ongoing pursuit of its digital agenda.”

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FERDINAND BILSTEIN TO OPEN NEW SITE

FERDINAND BILSTEIN TO OPEN NEW SITE

New site will go live in January

Component supplier Ferdinand Bilstein has confirmed that warehouses in both Kent and Yorkshire will close as the firm relocates logistics to a new purpose built facility at the Markham Vale industrial complex. In responses to questions asked by CAT, the company confirmed that the closures ‘will unfortunately lead to redundancies’. However, 140 jobs will be created at the new site (see panel for the firm’s complete response).

The switch-on date for the highly automated facility is January 2018, with full operation of both Febi and Blue Print brands expected by the last quarter of the year. Head Office functions such as HR, finance and purchasing will remain in Kent.

A facility owned by Bilstein Group in Ennepetal, Germany, features a large ‘dark warehouse’ automated stock and picking system installed by Witron Integrated Logistics. A similar system is being installed at the new site.

Ferdinand Bilstein UK changed its name from Automotive Distributors Ltd (ADL) in early 2015, following the acquisition of ADL by Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH+Co (now known as Bilstein Group) in 2011.

Q & A: FERDINAND BILSTEIN

1) What date is the Markham Vale set to go live/open its doors for service?

Markham Vale will ‘go-live’ and be operational from January 2018. Blue Print stock will move in first, followed by Febi a few months later. However, full operation of both brands at the site will be from Q3/Q4 of 2018.

2) Have the previous Kent and Yorkshire operations already closed down? When did/will they roll down the shutters for good?

No, the offices in Kent will remain open, and so functions such as HR, Finance, Product Management, Purchasing, IT and Marketing will continue to run on this site. However, the warehouses in Kent will close during the first quarter of 2018. The Yorkshire operations will close during the later months of 2018.

3) What prompted the move to the Derbyshire business park?

Ferdinand Bilstein UK Ltd wanted to improve its efficiency and logistics capabilities in order to improve customer service. The site in Derbyshire proved a fantastic opportunity, with its central location offering excellent transport links just off junction 29a of the M1, as well as close proximity to customers.

4) Have or will there be any redundancies from the transition over to the new premises? If so, how many are expected?

The warehouses at the Kent site will close, and this will unfortunately lead to redundancies. However, we are working closely with training organisations, recruitment agencies and other local businesses to help staff find new positions in the local area. Staff in both Kent and Yorkshire have been offered the chance to relocate.

5) For those who have been kept on, will they maintain their original roles or take on a different one within the company?

Staff who have chosen to make the move to Markham Vale will be able to maintain their original roles and responsibilities from the new site, and some will be offered the chance to develop further, to fill the new requirements at the site with the installation of new technology and systems. Training will be offered to staff who wish to learn these new skills. Staff who are remaining in Kent will retain their current roles.

6) What does the Markham Vale site comprise of?

Markham Vale is to become our main distribution centre. With this in mind, the 14.4 acres site is largely taken up by a 215,000 square foot, state of the art warehouse, complete with manual racking and semi-automated machinery – the Order Picking system. There are offices upstairs, meeting rooms and a canteen.

There is a reception area to greet visitors to the site. There is also a garden space outside of reception to provide a break from the office or warehouse during lunch. And a large carpark. A lot of time and effort was put into the planning stages to ensure the site had the best facilities for our staff.

7) There are currently up to 140 jobs at the Markham Vale site. When are you expecting to get all these positions filled and the new employees into the warehouse?

A recruitment open day was held on 14th October attended by 600 people to let people see the new building/site and what we have to offer them. The warehouse roles will be filled from October until the beginning of next year, allowing time for training before the site is operational in January. Once the site is fully operational, more job opportunities are likely to become available in the offices as well as the warehouse, as the site grows.

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QH NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY JP GROUP

QH NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY JP GROUP

QH Braking portfolio

DENMARK-based distributor JP Group will stop distributing Quinton Hazell brand products from 6th December 2017.

The move comes as QH brand owner Tetrosyl prepares to have its new distribution centre fully operational.

JP Group provided a relaunch platform for the QH brand since being appointed licensee for Scandinavia and Germany back in 2013. A statement on a Tetrosyl press release states: “It has now been agreed that in order to increase the current commendable distribution routes established by the JP Group that Tetrosyl Ltd will continue the development of these markets directly”.

JP Group are based in Viborg, Denmark and is best known for producing and distributing
League’s Southern Premier club and stadium sponsor.

Tetrosyl’s Distribution Centre is due to be fully operational in October 2017 and will combine the distribution of oils, chemicals, car care and now QH replacement parts all under one roof. This will enable all supplies of QH products within the territories to transfer to Tetrosyl as of the 6th December 2017.

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BILSTEIN GROUP TO HOST RECRUITMENT EVENT

BILSTEIN GROUP TO HOST RECRUITMENT EVENT

Distribution centre is now completed

German parts maker Ferdinand Bilstein is holding a recruitment open day, taking place at its Markham Vale plant on Saturday 14th October.

The event will run from 10am until 16:00pm where potential employees will be given a tour of its new distribution centre in North-East Derbyshire, plus a rundown of all the job opportunities available on site.

The component manufacturer said up to 140 jobs will be up for grabs with full training provided to  candidates that make the cut.

For those interested in attending should get in touch with a member of the Bilstein team as soon as possible through the company website.

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AUTOSUPPLIES ACQUIRES BUTLERS AUTOMOTIVE

AUTOSUPPLIES ACQUIRES BUTLERS AUTOMOTIVE

Autosupplies Chesterfield Ltd has acquired Barnsley based motor factor Butlers Automotive with immediate effect.

The acquisition is the first of its kind for Autosupplies, having grown its head office and Bolsover branch to be one of the largest single branch motor factors in the UK, occupying a 40,000sqft site and employing more than 90 members of staff and managing a fleet of more than 50 delivery vehicles.

Butlers Automotive has been trading in Barnsley for more than 40 years, but in the past year has suffered setbacks with the tragic loss of both its owners Philip and Nicollette Parkin.

Tony Porter, Butlers Automotive Director, said: “To ensure the business continues to move forward, it needs to be under the stewardship of a vibrant business that understands the values of Butlers Automotive and that of its customers. We are delighted that family run business Autosupplies Chesterfield Ltd will be taking the business forward.”

David Clarke, Autosupplies Managing Director, said: “Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to Tony and the staff at Butlers Automotive for their professionalism and courage during a very difficult period.

“We are delighted to have secured Butlers Automotive’s future and can’t wait to get started. The name Butlers Automotive is highly regarded in Barnsley for its customer service and it is a name and brand that we are determined to grow. The business is founded on traditional values and this, coupled with the backing of the UK’s largest single branch motor factor in Autosupplies, means an exciting future ahead.”

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IAAF CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED

IAAF CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED

The proceedings for the IAAF’s Annual Conference are well underway with a variety of industry speakers set to take centre stage and discuss the ‘real’ issues affecting the aftermarket, post Brexit.

So far, confirmed speakers include Dr. Julia Saini (Frost and Sullivan), Allistair Preston (whocanfixmycar) as well as Steve Nash (IMI), Olaf Heffing (Mahle) and more. The event will be facilitated by racing car legend Johnny Herbert who will help debate other topics on the federation’s agenda including the Connected Car and the government’s recent announcement for the abolishment of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

IAAF Chief Exec Wendy Williamson said, “The expertise, experience and insight provided by our speakers will, I believe, feature in the future strategic planning of all those that attend”, she added. “We’re looking to the future, but we also recognise the pressures faced by our members today and will aim to provide some clarity and insight into these challenges”.

This year’s conference will take place at the Players Suite, Double Tree by Hilton on Thursday 7th December. For those invited, don’t forget your black tie!

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VMs TO ‘DESIGN OUT’ HACKERS

VMs TO ‘DESIGN OUT’ HACKERS

DfT Minister Lord Callanan

A new set of government guidelines have been announced by Department for Transport Minister Lord Callanan to protect motorists from cyber attacks on the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles.

With immediate effect, manufacturers and technicians developing smart cars and high tech vehicles must ensure crooks are kept at bay by designing out any cyber security threats preventing would-be hackers from obtaining personal data, stealing cars that use keyless entry and taking control of them with malicious intent through wi-fi.

“Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected” notes Callanan. “Whether we’re turning vehicles into wi-fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber- attacks. That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry”.

Although most of the weight rests on VMs’ shoulders, Steve Nash, Chief Executive of the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI), says attention must also be brought to independents repairing these models, which is yet to be addressed by government in their latest guidelines.

“Computer diagnostics, vehicle programming and software updates are commonplace in the motor industry today. However, with the sector currently unregulated and no national standards in place it’s not always possible to track the people who may have access to our personal information” Nash said. “We are working hard to get government to address this area as well as the creation of systems at the manufacturing stage, so that motorists have confidence that they are not at risk.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Exec commented: “A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology”.

The new guidance can be viewed on the DfT’s website.

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LDS ACQUIRED BY GROUPAUTO PARENT

LDS ACQUIRED BY GROUPAUTO PARENT

LDS website

South Wales-based motor factor LDS appears to have been acquired by Alliance Automotive Group, parent of Groupauto.

Neither party has issued a statement as of yet (AAG usually issues quaterly round- ups of its activities) however, Companies House Lyndon Smith, Louise Smith and Wayne Thomas were terminated as Directors in July, while John Coombes, the Finance Director at Alliance Automotive Group was appointed Director on the same day. Additionally, the registered office details have been changed to AAG’s Birmingham HQ.

LDS was formed in 1990 and the first branch was in Barry. Over the years the company grew to three branches, the largest of which was a new site in Barry measuring 19,000sq ft. A merger in 2014 with factor Normag led to the creation of a branch called LDS Normag. At the time of writing, the chain consists of 30 vans and 60 staff. It has enjoyed a good relationship with Groupauto, winning the coveted ‘Member of the Year’ award in 2014.

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WHAT WILL AUTONOMOUS CARS MEAN FOR GARAGES?

WHAT WILL AUTONOMOUS CARS MEAN FOR GARAGES?

Euro Car Parts CEO Martin Gray

We live in a time of regular announcements about trials of connected autonomous vehicles as manufacturers race to be first to offer self-driving cars. And the government, Automotive Council UK and other bodies are fully committed to making sure the UK is at the forefront of autonomous technology, with a supply chain able to deliver it.

While we may be a few years from when cars will drive occupants to their destination, one thing is for sure; modern cars are getting ever more sophisticated. Indeed, some automotive observers have remarked there will be more technological change in the next 10 years than there has been in the past 100.

In fact, connected technology is already with us, with such systems as adaptive cruise control, automated city braking and lane departure – a sign that Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are growing in number and intricacy. Even simple components, such as automatic full beam units, require technicians to acquire new skills and garages to invest in new equipment to replace windscreens, because systems need re-calibrating before returning a car to its owner.

Cars are also sophisticated in the way they alert a service is due and help an owner identify and reach the nearest garage to book an appointment. This is the brave new world made possible by the major advances in technology and presents a host of new business opportunities for the independent garage.

Consumers deserve and need choice in the market place and the aftermarket sector can continue to provide a great value, high quality, customer- focused solution in a technologically-changing world. With the right training and investing in key equipment, independents can realise a new range of business options.

“That’s why no matter how sophisticated the modern car will become with autonomous abilities, the essential nature of servicing and maintenance required remains the same. That’s why an entrepreneurial approach and ‘can do’ attitude mean the connected car of tomorrow will be welcomed at the forward-thinking independent garage of today.”

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KUMHO TIRE SALE BLOCKED BY WORKERS

KUMHO TIRE SALE BLOCKED BY WORKERS

Kumho Tires plant in Georgia

A deal between the creditors of South Korean tyre brand Kumho Tire and Doublestar, a Chinese brand could be in jeopardy as workers in Korea threaten a general strike.

Problems at Kumho go back to 2010 when the company made a number of acquisitions, including the heavy engineering business of Daewoo. However, the losses quickly started to mount and a sale of the company was mooted, with various tyre and parts brands rumoured to be interested. Doublestar was confirmed as the buyer in May.

In a press conference, the joint committee against the sale of Kumho Tire to an overseas company told the Yonhap news agency they will stop all production lines at the tyre maker’s local plants and stage a general strike.

“The ongoing process to sell Kumho Tire to Qingdao Doublestar Co. will result in the transfer of some production volume to China from South Korea and lead to massive redundancies of local workers” Kang Jeong-ho who represents the committee told the agency.

Kumho employs 2,900 people at its tyre plants in the Korean peninsula.

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