Tag Archive | "Factors"

EURO CAR PARTS ACQUIRES NEW WAREHOUSES

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EURO CAR PARTS ACQUIRES NEW WAREHOUSES


Two sites, similar to this, have been acquired by ECP

Factor chain Euro Car Parts has acquired trade counters in Scarborough and Normanton, Wakefield. The acquisition was completed on behalf of American commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield; however, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Scarborough site is now open on Seamer Rd between Howdens and Toolstation, housing 17 staff and six delivery vans within its 3,356 sq ft warehouse. Meanwhile, the Wakefield branch will open in due course on Good Hope Close, located off Pontefract Rd near Junction 31 of the M62 motorway.

“We are delighted to have been able to secure both these sites for ECP, allowing them to expand their presence and better service their ever- growing customer base”, notes Henry King of the Logistics & Industrial team at Cushman & Wakefield. “These new locations are the first of an ambitious 2018 expansion plan
and signify a purposeful and positive start to the year.”

Posted in Blogs, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer News, UncategorisedComments (1)

THE GDPR LOWDOWN

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THE GDPR LOWDOWN


In part two of our GDPR guide, Hayley Pells explains how practical steps will help you be ready.

It hasn’t been a good month for the public’s perception of how companies use their data. You may have noticed that during the coverage of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on TV that Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner, would pop up to reassure the public that steps were being taken to regulate how their data was used and stored by companies, which was of course a reference to GDPR. If there was any doubt about how seriously the country is going to take the new legislation, this will be a wake up call.

Last month, we explored the background of GDPR and how it is going to affect your business, this month, we are going to explore a step-by-step guide to show you how you can become legally compliant yourself. If you are unsure of the process there is still time to get some professional help. There are independent consultants all over the country and there are larger organisations who are able to roll out a fast to access service. The average garage owner can do this in-house for themselves, but if you are busy, it could be a more cost effective solution to outsource.

STEP 1
Awareness

Following on from last month’s article, you need to make sure all of your team know about the legislation. In my case, trying to explain it to my father who I work with (and is in his late sixties) is a hoot, but we got there. The key area to get across is the impact this compliance will have on the business and acknowledging the time and cost it will require to implement. Do you have a risk register? It could be useful to have one. Compliance can be difficult if the preparations are left to last minute, especially if you then plan to outsource.

STEP 2 – Current situation

What personal data do you hold about your clients and staff ? Do you really need it? This is a good opportunity to “clean house.” Dispose of the unrequired information responsibly, ensuring that the data is inaccessible at the point of disposal.
What you should be left with is the information that you need. What do you do with it? This is how compliance with the accountability principles of GDPR are achieved. You need to know what information you hold, where it is held and how it
is held. It must be held securely. When sharing data, this needs to be done responsibly. For example, does someone else process your payroll? Now is the time to check that the information you share is being done so in a responsible manner and that your service provider is up to speed with their obligations.

Having assessed your current situation it is a good idea to record it and then outline your strategy for improvement. This is a very similar process to how you would complete a risk assessment.

STEP 3 – Communicating
privacy information
Do you have a privacy notice? Currently, when you collect personal data you need to give people the following information;
– Who you are
– How do you intend to use their information

That information you have probably done without thinking, to continue with the payroll simili “I’m Fred Bloggs, I need your NI number to process your pay.” With the GDPR, this is expanded upon, now there are a couple of extra things you need to tell people;

– Your lawful basis for processing the data
– Data retention periods
– The individual’s right of complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office

So for this I shall use the example of information that I gather for a MOT test. My lawful basis for collecting information about my client is that I have been tasked with performing a MOT test on their vehicle. I keep this data for one year and the ICO’s website can be found at ico.org.uk – they are the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights in the public interest. The GDPR requires that plain language is used, every step should be as clear and concise as possible.

STEP 4 – Individual’s rights

You should check and record your procedures to ensure they cover the following rights of the individual, include how you would erase personal data or provide personal data electronically in a commonly used format;
– The right to be informed
– The right of access
– The right to rectification
– The right to be forgotten
– The right to restrict processing n The right to data portability
– The right to object
– The right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling

Now bear with me, this all probably sounds like something completely new, but before spanners are thrown up into the year and “this modern euro nonsense is just taking over everything, I am but a simple mechanic” is hailed (or was that just my father?). Let us examine what this means practically. A lot of these rights are just basic common sense, you are probably employing them right now – the key areas that are significantly different are mainly within the right of portability, it only applies;

– To personal data an individual has provided to a controller
– Where processing is based on the individual’s consent or for the performance of a contract
– When processing is carried out by automated means With the Data Protection Act, you could, if you so wished, charge a fee for the provision of data to the individual, under the GDPR you cannot and the information provided by the ICO insist that it be provided in a structured commonly used and machine readable form.

STEP 5 – Access Requests
Step four outlined the right the individual has, step five now examines how those rights are handled. It is good practice to have this recorded and share it with everyone in your organisation.
– No charge for information requests
– Information to be given within a month (under the Data Protection Act, this was 40 days)
– You can refuse or charge for requests that are manifestly unfounded or excessive
– If you do refuse a request, you are legally obliged to tell the individual why and that they have the right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a judicial remedy. You must do without undue delay and at the latest, one month.

If you have a large organisation or you handle large numbers of information requests this may be a good time to assess the implications of dealing with requests quickly. It may be worth considering the desirability of systems that allow individuals to access their own information online.

STEP 6 – Lawful basis for processing personal data
As individuals now have a stronger right than under previous legislation to access their personal data in order to achieve compliance with the GDPR, you should document and share your lawful basis for the collection and processing of this data. This is especially important now individuals have the right to deletion of their personal data.

STEP 7 – Consent
Consent cannot be inferred by silence and must not be an “opt out” (no pre-ticked boxes or assumptions). This is quite a broad area and will be explored further next month with detailed guidance. Consent cannot be thrown in with your general terms and conditions as it must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. In my opinion, post 25th May 2018, this is going to be the next big goldmine for all those companies that are currently benefiting from the PPI refunds, it will be an easy area to identify non- compliance if the correct procedures are not in place.

STEP 8 – Children
Before shoulders are shrugged that you don’t deal with children, first understand what is meant by the term “child”, although the consent given by children within this context tends to be more concerned with young children and internet related services such as social networking, it would be a good idea to consider how you handle apprentice’s (or any other employee or client who are under 18) information. Currently the GDPR sets the age at 16, this may be lowered to 13, being mindful of how this age limit may change and implementing into your policy documents for the younger people that you may deal with will be the best method to achieve compliance.

If your organisation does deal with children, you must remember that consent must come from someone with “parental responsibility” and has to be verifiable. Your privacy notice must be written in language that children can understand.

STEP 9 – Data Breaches
What to do if it all goes wrong? The legislation does consider that like locking the door to your home doesn’t stop thieves getting in, you may be subject to a data breach that, in under normal working circumstances, would not happen.

If you have a breach, determining the nature of the breach will direct your next course of action. You only need to notify the ICO if the breach is likely to risk the rights and freedoms of the individual, for example, if it could result in discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality or any other significant economic or social disadvantage. If this breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, you will also have to notify them directly.

In order to achieve compliance with the GDPR you must have procedures in place that detect, report and investigate personal data breaches. Having a good clear out at step two will reduce the risk in this area.

STEP 10 – Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments
Remember when you had to uncheck a prefilled box to opt out of things online? Now you have to check it yourself, this is what that is about. The chances are, if you collect data in this way, this is something that you are already aware of and I am personally at a loss as to why you would have a need to process information in this way within the automotive aftermarket, but I am sure there is someone out there who could enlighten me!

STEP 11- Data Protection Officers If it is everyones’ job, nobody does it. Identifying a person responsible for data protection compliance is now a formal obligation in certain circumstances. You probably won’t be one of them, but it is still good practice to formally appoint someone to oversee your compliance, that person should take proper responsibility for your data protection compliance and has the knowledge, support and authority to carry out their role effectively.

STEP 12 – International
If you are lucky enough to deal internationally with your organisation you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority and document this. The lead authority will be where your central administration is located but only relevant where you carry out cross-border processing. (This step doesn’t apply to my garage. Currently).

Hopefully, this article will be helpful in becoming compliant for yourself. The advantage in doing this yourself will enable your organisation to be familiar with the new legal responsibilities organisations have with respect to personal data. The next article will thoroughly examine the subject of consent and how it is applied in this context.

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AAG ACQUIRE FAST PARTS WALES AND MORE

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AAG ACQUIRE FAST PARTS WALES AND MORE


Newport-based factor chain Fast Parts Wales and Peterborough-based Hereward Car and Truck Components are among a list of businesses acquired by Alliance Automotive Group in the last quarter.

Fast Parts Wales is a three branch light vehicle factor business based in South Wales with depots in Abercarn, Cwmbran & Tredegar.  The business was started around 25 years ago by the Travis family and the deal also includes the FastRads cooling system business based in Abercarn. The annual sales are around £9m and prior to the acquisition the business was a member of AAG’s GROUPAUTO buying group.

Hereward Car and Truck Components is another family run business, started in 1983 by the Saddington family. The two-branch factor was a member of the IFA buying group prior to the acquisition by AAG. Annual sales have been around £2.8m.

Single branch factors Macclesfield Motor Factors, DMFX (Darlington) and GD Components (Anglesey) have also been acquired by AAG.

There’s more info in the January issue of CAT Magazine.

Posted in Blogs, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer News, UncategorisedComments (0)

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QUICK, CHEAP AND GOOD… PICK ANY TWO


Mike Owen Is a consultant with many years industry experience in the independent and franchised motor trade

Mike Owen Is a consultant with many years industry experience in the independent and franchised motor trade

Mike Owen: Introducing a Service Level Agreement between factors and garages could stop the current race to the bottom

As you would expect, generally I’m quite well organised, have to be, but sometimes we all get caught out – to quote Robert Burns, ‘The best laid plans of mice and men….’ your intentions go wrong or an emergency happens that, by its nature, causes a meltdown in the vision that you held for your project. This is the stuff of the Independent Repair Industry – we manage crisis; in fact we are so adept at that most don’t bother with the plan in the first place favouring ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ modus operandi that sees the garages working late in the evening and
most weekends.

The motor factors find themselves in an even worse situation; once removed from the scene of the disaster you pick up the shock waves that are, of course, no fault of the repairer – in their opinion. Of course you then still have the exertion of pressure in that you are expected to have the stock on the shelf and to have a van and driver to deliver the requisite parts at ‘warp-speed’. Once that van has left, have another on standby to deliver the parts they forgot in their haste in ordering the first parts and you have to be prepared to do all of the above without the need to turn a profit!

I was working with a parts wholesaler recently and was truly amazed at their costs of distribution, staff, vans, fuel and stock required to run a ‘phone and go’ service.

CHOOSE TWO High Quality
This puts me in mind of the Chicago printer, who after a lifetime of working hard and earning little put a notice up in his shop window. It read: “We have three basic elements that we can offer you, there are ‘Good’, ‘Cheap’ and ‘Quick’ – you can choose any two but never all three; you can have a Good job Quick, but it won’t be Cheap. You can choose a Cheap job Quick but it won’t be Good or lastly, you can have a Good job Cheap but it won’t be Quick”. Perhaps we as an industry are guilty of loosing this perspective?

If you were to visit your doctor and have been referred to someone who knows what they are doing and been told that your life threatening condition needs urgent surgery, do you say ‘hold on, I’ll look it up on the ‘net and see where I can get it done cheaper?’ I suspect the answer is no, more likely your next question will be, ‘Today, tomorrow or when?’ and the answer will be at some future date not ‘…sew up Mrs Jones and get her off the table, this guy needs help’; now turn this scenario into a situation in our industry?

I hear the term ‘exceeding expectations’ coined regularly, especially by VMs, but there is another level that surpasses this which is ‘exceeding common sense’. We must remember that the vehicle owner/user will take all we can offer but will expect that as a minimum next time; do they offer this to their clients in their walk of life – in that case you are the customer, do they? The motor industry in not being more professional does little for our perception in the eyes of the customers who, because of the way we conduct ourselves think that we are all desperate for their business and that we will jump through burning rings naked and work for free.

Despite the sheer volume of vehicles on the roads lead times at most garages varies and this over availability leaves the vehicle owner spoilt for choice. A direct comparison can be levied at the feet of the parts wholesalers who, in order to court business have moved away from the old business maxim of ‘Sales for vanity, profit for sanity’ in favour of business at any cost.

PROFIT CLINIC
I run business ‘Profit Clinics’ on behalf of parts distributors for their garage customers and one of the first exercises explore how they are performing currently against their potential. Invariably there is room for improvement, the clinic goes on to explore where their best profit lies – their best profit is within labour, but only if they manage it properly, up to 70 percent gross profit or more. In truth a garage requires parts to make their product, labour, saleable and to this end they need the right parts on time – price is almost (but not quite) immaterial.

As stated in previous articles, I work for both dealers and independents alike and I yearn for the day when the relationship between independents and parts sales becomes formalised as it is with the franchised dealers and VMs. Yes, I would like to see Service Level Agreements (SLA) – not as draconian as the VM’s impose but some form of terms and conditions, not every nut bolt and split-pin being haggled over on an individual basis but perhaps with rebates based on turnover thresholds –
Why? Because it would help take the ‘amateur repairer’ out of the equation but also call for the garages to negotiate with customers rather than their suppliers as their ultimate cost price would be volume driven.

There is a lot of spin-off from SLA’s not least of which are relationships, loyalty and parts planning rather than the ‘jump- and-dart’ that we see currently, it would also allow for the parts suppliers to go the extra mile on the occasion that it is needed – but don’t worry it will never happen because we still worship the one great God, which
is turnover.

Posted in CAT Know-How, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

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