Tag Archive | "Supplier"

LKQ PLOTS GROWTH AFTER CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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LKQ PLOTS GROWTH AFTER CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC


Euro Car Parts owner LKQ Europe has stated that it is positioned for continued growth after the coronavirus crisis, with plans for further expansion and investment in its existing framework.

The Munich-based corporation, which acquired ECP in 2011 and owns more than 70 firms across Europe, has released the following statement:

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LKQ Europe, the European automotive Independent Aftermarket market leader, is positioned for continued growth after the coronavirus crisis. Acquisitions remain important for the company now, as the situation unfolds, and after the crisis. “We will of course continue to monitor the market and will also look for external growth opportunities again when the time comes,” said Arnd Franz, CEO of LKQ Europe, in an interview published today with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). “After the coronavirus crisis, we want to grow over proportionally again. Currently, the integration of the more than 70 European market-leading companies acquired since 2011 remains a priority throughout the current crisis. 

LKQ Europe is by far the largest and only pan-European automotive parts distributor. This market position will be maintained and further expanded upon with new services, explained Franz. In the past three years alone, LKQ Europe has invested hundreds of millions of euros into two new fully-automated central warehouses in England and the Netherlands, the latter of which will go into operation at the end of 2020. The acquired companies are clearly benefiting from the high level of investment, as the example of Euro Car Parts in England shows: since the takeover in 2011, the number of employees has tripled, the number of branches has quadrupled, and turnover has increased fivefold.

In the current integration phase, LKQ Europe is investing primarily into a uniform European IT infrastructure and into harmonized standards, for example in purchasing and inventory management. Arnd Franz said “the European integration will enable us to leverage our strengths even better in the interests of our customers.” LKQ Europe is already a strong partner, especially for European companies such as fleet operators. With new services and training in the areas of digitalization, networking, security and environmental protection, LKQ Europe is constantly expanding its offering. In the current crisis, the need for information has increased once again. LKQ Europe is responding to this with an increased number of digital training courses and is informing its customers about operational questions, health care, and financing.

Arnd Franz also spoke about preparations for, and managing through, the crisis. “We already started to prepare ourselves in January; for example, through higher safety stocks,” said Arnd. “We are able to deliver, even if our suppliers are temporarily unable to produce. Though this is the worst crisis in decades, LKQ Europe’s top priority is to ensure the reliability of its delivery for its customers, as well as the protection of our employees.”

According to Arnd Franz, automotive workshops, and especially the steadily-growing number of independent workshops in recent years, guarantee safe, clean, and individual mobility. “It is a system-relevant business and we support our customers by continuing to guarantee the fast delivery of vehicle parts.” In Germany alone, LKQ Europe supplies more than 15,000 workshops with automotive parts per day. “If we can ensure that hundreds of thousands of vehicles continue to be serviced in Germany’s workshops every day, our economy will come out of this crisis in better shape and we will avoid more accidents, broken-down vehicles and, last but not least, pollutant emissions.” 

“Therefore, workshops must remain open,” said Arnd Franz as he addressed politicians throughout Europe.

ENDS

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TOYOTA GB ADAPTS PARTS SUPPLY DURING PANDEMIC

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TOYOTA GB ADAPTS PARTS SUPPLY DURING PANDEMIC


Toyota GB has introduced a new parts-sourcing contact address to support critical workers, following a temporary downsizing of its aftersales workforce.

See press release below for details:

“Currently, the majority of the Toyota and Lexus Centres are able to support critical workers across the UK, however they will be operating with reduced staffing during this period.

As a result, TGB are introducing an additional centralised parts supply contact for all UK Mechanical Repair Operations and Body Repair Operations.

Should you require assistance identifying an operational localised Genuine Toyota and Lexus parts supplier, please contact PARTS-TOYOTA-LEXUS@MSXI.COM with details of your needs and location and we will swiftly provide you with a number of parts sourcing options to support.

As we outlined, Toyota GB (PLC) is operating an emergency, including NHS, and critical workers policy on all parts orders, so would respectfully ask you to ensure that your customer meets this criteria

 In addition, TGB will require you supply the following details

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is supplied
  • Vehicle Off Road (VOR) status
  • Parts List (Parts Quantity cannot exceed repair quantity per vehicle)
  • Reason/evidence supplied to establish emergency, including NHS, and critical workers i.e. ID Card, mail from work address etc”

ENDS

 

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FLEET MANAGEMENT WITH A MODERN TOUCH

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FLEET MANAGEMENT WITH A MODERN TOUCH


Hot industry news earlier this year was an £85 million cash injection from auto giants Hyundai and Kia into London-based Arrival, an electric vehicle start-up whose cubist Gen2.0-EV van is tipped for adoption by a raft of huge logistics firms including Royal Mail and UPS.

It’s a significant breakthrough for commercial vehicles, which have lagged somewhat behind their passenger counterparts in terms of electrification and autonomous capability development. The high-profile tie-up could also be a promising sign of things to come for smaller fleet operators – particularly factors – in the UK, who are engaged in a constant battle with rising fuel costs, wage allowances and insurance premiums, as well as ever-stricter emissions regulations and MOT requirements.

Take Euro Car Parts as an example. As of August 2019, the Tamworth-based distributor has around 2750 cars and vans running between its 16 distribution centres, and making around 60,000 parts deliveries daily from its 200-plus branches. It’s quite an operation, and the man in charge of coordinating it, Ted Sakyi, said the key to things running smoothly is that “suppliers and their customers continue to talk to each other ”. It would have to be – the demand for ultra-fast delivery, which I call the ‘Amazonisation’ of today’s e-commerce sector, means customers (including garages) aren’t as willing to twiddle their thumbs for days on end while crucial components are delivered, and communication issues are less excusable than they were in the pre-smartphone era.

JUST IN TIME

Darren Wykes, Managing Director of nationwide supplier Motor Parts Direct (MPD), concurred: “The simple question of ‘when is it needed?’ is now a priority to avoid over-servicing customers.” MPD’s fleet consists of a mixture of vehicle makes and sizes and serves 128 stores across England and Wales, but is equally dependent on the justin-time business model that ensures no fuel or time is wasted by its delivery drivers. “Each branch carefully manages its own logistics, bearing in mind customer demands as regards arranging each delivery schedule,” Wykes added, ‘ensuring van runs are done in the most efficient manner’. Unnecessary delays brought about by garages returning parts or calling the factor out multiple times in short succession can threaten the firm’s ability to meet its quotas.

So how long does a factor of this size allow for each call-out? Wykes considers a case-by-case approach to be best practice: “At present, in line with competitors, there are no hard and fast rules. It is down to the branch team to apply a common sense approach.” It’s unlikely that a factor would consider sending a van and driver out for an hour just to deliver a £10 part to a remote workshop, but would more likely incorporate that delivery into a larger route with multiple stops.

ECP’s Sakyi elaborated: “Ultimately, we want to help independent garages deliver top quality repairs for their customers with the shortest possible wait-times. This means both parties need to communicate effectively – us asking whether they need anything and, if so, what time they need it, and them letting us know what they need, where possible, ahead of time.” The message is that efficiency is a two-way street, and factors can’t be held accountable for disorganisation on the customer’s part. 

ELECTRIFICATION

But just as important as timing deliveries right is considering which vans to use for them. ECP recently bought 300 diesel-fuelled Peugeot Partner vans, showing a commitment – at least in the medium term – to combustion power. Currently, there are only a couple of alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles on sale suited to the firm’s needs, which offer usable ranges and relatively low purchase costs, but would entail such significant investment in supporting infrastructure that they are presently an unrealistic option for any large distribution firm. Sakyi said: “While battery technology and charging infrastructure are still developing and improving, higher-mileage job roles will be best-served by the newest, cleanest diesel and petrol options.” He added, however, that ‘electric vans are already suitable for relatively low-mileage job roles, provided there is access to adequate charging facilities’. As electric commercial vehicles become more accessible and their ranges increase, it’s likely that factors will start to explore their suitability for use in urban areas, particularly where low-emission zones restrict the use of combustion engines.

For now, though, MPD’s Wykes said that “no suitable electric vans are available bearing in mind range and re-charge times,” adding that the Essex-based company is currently trialling a Nissan e-NV200, and looking forward to an electric version of Citroen’s Berlingo arriving next year. ‘Van choice is decided based on various criteria, such as fuel efficiency, overall running costs and initial purchase price,’ he said.

Amanda Brandon, Director of Fleet Services for the British Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, acknowledged the issues. “The lack of availability of suitable electric vehicles, inadequate charging infrastructure and significant up-front cost differential are all factors affecting the uptake of electric in the CV sector,” she said, echoing industry bosses who bemoan the slow roll-out of chargers and tax incentives. “In the van sector, the consensus of opinion is that the future is electric, but this transition will not happen overnight until the issues of availability, affordability and access to charging facilities are resolved.”

It remains to be seen how firms like EPC and MPD will be affected by the expansion of London’s ULEZ and the creation of low-emission zones in cities like Bristol and Oxford. One thing’s for sure, though – it’s unlikely the commercial vehicle parc will look the same in 10 years time.

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SDL MINORFERN TRIPLES HQ CAPACITY

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SDL MINORFERN TRIPLES HQ CAPACITY


Birch, Holland and Wicks

Birch, Holland and Wicks

Independent distributor, SDL Minorfern has started the New Year on an expansion drive with the purchase of a head office and distribution warehouse at Clay Cross, Chesterfield. The new 40,000 sq. ft site, known as Holland House, also includes a large loading bay for articulated lorries and freight in shipping containers.

Founded in 1978, SDL Minorfern, employs 260 people and operates nine branches across Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire.

Holland House, which also includes a retail branch, is three times bigger than the factor’s previous headquarters that were also located at Clay Cross.

SDL Minorfern MD, Nick Holland said: “The purchase of our new headquarters marks a formative milestone in the development of the company – and is instrumental in our growth targets and increasing efficiency”.

The funding was provided by Yorkshire Bank and commercial agent HLW Keeble Hawson did the conveyancing.

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RECYCLING AT THE CORE OF THE OPERATION


Mark Heaps gives us a tour of Mirfield-based core dealer S.S Components

S.S ComponentsEver since he was a child, John Smith always had a passion for cars and dreamt of one day opening his own garage. Little did he know his dream would soon become a reality, setting up a leading auto-parts distributor to supply re-manufactures across the globe. “I started as a dismantler because I wanted a garage and always loved cars as a kid” said Smith. “My friend and business partner used to have a little area at the side of his house where we had five cars. It was unsightly and people complained to the council who chucked us off site”.

It wasn’t all bad news for Smith when his mother’s friend found a solution, renting a plot of land to him for a nominal sum to start up his dismantling business. “Back in 1970, we only had an income of £3 a week because I had a job delivering meat from a butcher shop and my friend delivered groceries. We offered £1 a week rent and the guy accepted it”. Once the land was acquired, Smith’s dismantling business started to grow by purchasing excess stock and selling the core on to remanufacturers.

The operation is very different today with the component supplier now spanning five acres  with a multi-million pound turnover, we were keen to pay them a visit. Mark Heaps, Operations Manager for S.S Components, is a known figure within the re-manufacturing industry, having worked for S.S for over a decade and before that at AMK.

SITE TOUR

Inside WarehouseThe campus was as different as you could imagine from a traditional breakers’ yard with stock organised, packaged and labelled correctly with the part numbers assigned to each customer order. The main warehouses were breathtaking in scale with seemingly never- ending aisles of components awaiting a second chance of life. “The biggest part of the company is the component side that we supply”, Heaps explained. “Our four core products are steering pumps, steering racks, rotating electrics and brake calipers. Brake calipers are in high demand with our current stock totalling 261,911 and selling around 21,000 each month”.

With a large campus to operate, company founder and Director John Smith bought in a dedicated band of 13 remanufacturing professionals to classify and prepare the units accordingly.  They also collaborate with an external independent team who scout the most desirable dismantlers and scrap yards around the world to buy and sell the material onto the company. The fleet was also impressive, comprising two tractor units, two trucks and three vans delivering in and around the Mirfield area.

BESPOKE SYSTEM

As the tour came to a close, Heaps took me through to the main office, where we were greeted by company founder John Smith. Smith was keen to take us through their bespoke system. Through many revisions it has proved to be a valuable necessity for the organisation, keeping track of all the stock, customer orders and deliveries. “The system is unique to us because we’ve designed all of it and made it work”, responded Smith. “The USP of our business is that when people ring up we’ve got it in stock”. The system provides customers with a sufficient amount of time to prepare the correct transportation for picking up stock. Heaps added: “We tend to hit 98 per cent and above each shipment, hitting deadlines, supply fulfilments and material that we supply”.

ENVIRONMENT

The supplier has also been recognised for its eco-friendly practices, winning the gold category for the Green Apple Environment Award in 2014. Heaps elaborated: “The Green Apple Award is a very proud achievement for us. We save tonnes of equipment from going to landfills. Our business is to buy and sell on, but in doing so we’ve helped the environment”.

Finally, Heaps has some thoughts about the supply chain. “We want to educate the guys in the motor factors who sell new rotating electrics without surcharges” he says. Heaps explains that in this instance good core is going to waste because there was no incentive for garages to do anything with the old item. “Instead of scrapping the units potentially they could sell the units to us for far better income than what they’re probably getting” he added. “We’re all becoming more and more aware of being green, efficient and recycling and that’s purely the industry we’re in and I can only see it going one way”.

This is true. With ever more legislation on business practices, being mindful of the environment has to remain ‘core’ to all we do.

Mark Heaps

VITAL STATS

S.S COMPONENTS

LOCATION
Mirfield

MANAGER
Mark Heaps

VANS 3 TRUCKS 2 TRACTORS 2

FASTEST MOVING LINES
Brake calipers, rotating electrics, steering pumps and steering racks

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SAXON SIGNS DEAL WITH MOTIP DUPLI


Motip Dupli products

More Motip Dupli products on UK shelves soon

Accessory brand Saxon has signed a deal with Motip Dupli B.V. of The Netherlands. The contract means they will become distributors of Motip branded automotive paint and products across the UK.

Motip Dupli also produces the Dupli-Color and ColorMatic brands among others. Saxon is best known for distributing Little Trees, Ctek and Sonax.

Neil Haines, CEO of Saxon said “Motip Dupli is number one in the European aftermarket paint arena. This agreement will enable Saxon to introduce the Motip brand to the UK market. We see this as fantastic opportunity to work with a premium partner and further develop our strategy of distributing market leading quality brands”.

Otto Vallinga, International Sales Manager of Motip Dupli said “Partnering with one of the market leading automotive distributors in the United Kingdom is another important step in our growth strategy. Working with a major distributor such as Saxon further reinforces our position in the UK paint market and it’s our expectation that this partnership will prove long-lasting and fruitful.”

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HALFORDS’ SALES DIP DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS


HalfordsHalfords has reported a year-on-year dip in car accessory sales, blaming the mild winter. Overall, figures were down 1.9 percent, however this was partially offset by a strong performance in sales of wiper blades and bulbs as well as continued growth in fitting services.

Bike sales increased by 0.9 percent after a flat couple of years, although there was a drop in the number of cycling accessories sold. Click-and-collect now represents 14 percent of retail purchases across the store.

Chief Exec Jill MacDonald said: “We are pleased with the Group’s performance, given the unprecedented weather conditions. Particularly pleasing was the strong growth in service-related sales and a return to like-for-like (LFL) growth in cycling. We achieved a record day online over the Black Friday weekend, our highest ever day for total sales on December 23 and further improvements in customer service metrics. In Autocentres we achieved a 9th consecutive quarter of LFL growth. I would like to thank our colleagues for all their hard work over the busy Christmas period.”

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SHAFTEC SECURES BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP WITH LIVINGSTON AUTOPARTS


Shaftec's Chris Journet with Livingston Autopart's Tony Purves

Shaftec’s Chris Journet with Livingston Autopart’s Tony Purves

Transmission supplier Shaftec, has announced that is has secured a business partnership with Scottish motor factor, Livingston Autoparts. The new alliance has helped strengthen the Shaftec brand as a distributor of braking, steering and transmission components as well as highlighing the companies’ growing presence across the European aftermarket.

A complete range of both new and remanufactured Shaftec branded steering and transmission components will be available to garages across Scotland from the distributor’s main 10,000 sq. ft facility in West Lothian.

Shaftec’s UK sales manager, Chris Journet, commented: “Cementing this partnership with Livingston Autoparts is an important milestone for the Shaftec brand across Scotland. We are incredibly proud of our brand and are pleased that such a large number of garages will now have access to the depth and breadth of Shaftec’s range of quality products at a commercially competitive rate.”

Tony Purves, Business Development Manager Livingston Autoparts, added: “Our objective is to give our customers across Scotland access to the best and most reasonable choice of quality brands and products”, said Purves: “The Shaftec brand ticks all the right boxes for us and we are pleased to be able to confidently pass on this offer to Scotland’s garages”.

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WOODFORD GREEN OPENS A NEW PAGE


Ben Buchannan shows us around the latest branch in the Andrew Page network
Andrew Page Woodford Green

The newest branch of Andrew Page in Woodford Green has thrown up the shutters. In fact, on our visit the doors were wide open for business open in the most literal way as a motor fault meant they couldn’t be shut. Teething troubles aside, we were keen to take a look at the latest branch in Greater London.

As we entered the reception area, staff seemed friendly and professional, dealing with customer queries face-to-face and over the phone. South Divisional Manager Ben Buchanan and Branch Manager Gareth Jones welcomed us, both of whom are old hands in the aftermarket. Buchanan joined AP from Allparts having previously worked for Bosch, Cosworth and even a spell in a Lamborghini franchise. Meanwhile, Jones worked for arch-rival ECP for 12 years before transitioning to Branch Manager for the AP store in December.

Once we ‘d been properly introduced, we were keen to find out how the store has taken off since the launch: “Within four weeks of service, daily rates are up and targets have been met already”, Jones said. “We are hitting between 80 – 100 deliveries a day and I’d expect to double this in the next five weeks”. The warehouse currently operates six agency scooters and four vans delivering auto-parts to independent garages and national businesses across the area.

Stockroom

Andrew Page WarehouseThe 5500 sq. ft stockroom has been reconfigured to include a large mezzanine giving it a holding capability equivalent to 11,000 ft. “We have five miles of shelving running down the warehouse. We have managed to do this because of how we packed the stock”, Buchanan explained, adding that the number of SKUs range between 26,000 and 50,000 as the branch adapted its stock profile for the local area.

However, the fringe between Essex and London is a highly competitive patch – and not one where this factor really had a toehold in the past. Explaining the decision to open there, Buchman said: “We came to the Woodford Green because the main factors are under represented here”. He added that ECP dominates the area and there was a feeling that local garages might buy into the added-value services offered by Page, such as IMI training. There are also a number of the national accounts covered by the firm nearby, including an F1 Autocentre in an adjacent unit and a Kwik-Fit a short dStockroomistance away.

Prior to starting, the Woodford Green staff had to undergo an intense six-week training programme provided by various managers from the company. The store’s training services for their team and external businesses is something thats helped the branch rank against the competition.

As our tour came to an end, we asked the team what they’d hope to achieve by the end of 2016: “The forecast so far is looking good and by the end of February, we hope all our sales guys will have met and established professional relationships with all our customers”, Jones responded.

“We are looking to engage with more independent and national businesses within a five mile radius of the branch. We are not focusing so heavily on products in the spring and summer, but more about releasing as much bandwidth within their business. The more the technicians can do and work on is how they will increase on how many parts they can buy, and therefore buy from us”, Buchanan concluded.

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DfT rule on ‘flawed processes’ at Klarius Products Ltd


Klarius Products Ltd

The Department for Transport has ruled on its investigation into allegations of malpractice by exhaust
and catalyst manufacturer Klarius Products Ltd.

The main allegation made against the company was that replacement catalytic converters were being placed on the market that didn’t meet type approval standards as they bore invalid approval numbers taken from old stock.

WRONG NUMBER

VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency) carried out the investigation on behalf of DfT. It found that 5127 products were produced bearing the wrong approval numbers. Of these 87 percent were recalled, while most of the rest had already been fitted to cars.

The body found the issues at the company to stem from ‘flawed processes’ that allowed these ‘serious mistakes’ in not controlling parts and approval number inventory adequately. This was made worse by a ‘lack of understanding of Type Approval’ at Klarius.

DRY WRANGLE

However, a fairly dry wrangle over EC numbers has turned into a wider debate for the aftermarket with industry figures voicing their views.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “Following a near 12 month investigation, we are disappointed to see that Klarius have been found to be using grossly inadequate processes. The investigation has identified some very serious mistakes by Klarius and breach of regulations, both of which damage the reputation and integrity of the independent aftermarket.”

A spokesman for DfT also voiced concern that the “replacement catalyst approval process is not providing the level of confidence in product performance that it should”.

For its part, Klarius admitted to the error when it was revealed in December 2014. It said that it had been working with the VCA and back in Feburary it attributed the long legs that the story seemed to have on a ‘UK competitor who is continuing to run around trying to reignite bad news.’

“We would urge others to join us in taking a sensible view on the matter and continue to take positive action to improve the reputation of the automotive aftermarket, rather than conspiring to denigrate it” Paul Hannah, Business Development Director, Klarius noted at the time.

The perceived ‘denegration’ might stem from a joint statement issued by competitors BM Cats, TP Cats, Euroflow and EEC. The statement warned that anyone who knowingly supplied or fitted a non-approved device ‘could be subject to a fine of up to £5000 per part and should seek legal advice before doing so’.

With the matter now resolved and the VCA happy with practices put in place, let’s hope the aftermarket can put this ugly row behind it.

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