Tag Archive | "Suppliers"

AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM HIGHLIGHTS 2017

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AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM HIGHLIGHTS 2017


This year’s Automechanika Birmingham show attracted over 800 exhibitors and 12,000 visitors including garages, motor factors and parts retailers.

With the extra hall space and longer opening hours meant aftermarket professionals had more opportunities to discover new technology, learn new skills and network with other industry experts.

For those who missed out  can watch show highlights in the video below and get a sneak peak into the third edition taking place next year.

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LATEST: BRAKEWORLD IN ADMINISTRATION

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LATEST: BRAKEWORLD IN ADMINISTRATION


Leeds-based supplier Brakeworld entered administration on January 31. The company had been trading since 1986.

The independently owned braking and filtration supplier started as Blaze Glow Ltd in 1981, but changed name and business model in 1986 to become Brakeworld. At the time of closure, the company supplied over 7,000 lines and stocked brands including Japanparts, FTE and Sofima.

We’ll bring more info as we get it.

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UP-SELLING ON OILS AND LUBES

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UP-SELLING ON OILS AND LUBES


There’s a profit to be made on oils and lubes if you have the right strategy in place

comma-oil

A market trend has started to form with the introduction of very low viscosity oil grades, designed to improve fuel efficiency and oil change intervals; opening up-selling opportunities for oils providing you can find exactly the right grade.

MARKET TREND
Mike Bewsey, Comma Oils Sales & Marketing Director, says that while 5w-30 remains a popular grade; this could be subject to change. “5w-30 products remain dominant as OE spec, but the future market trend as signaled in applications for the latest fuel efficient and hybrid engines is moving towards even lower viscosity oils in the 0w-20/- 0w-30 range” he said.
Chris Wall, Marketing Manager at Total Lubricants, concurs, saying: “It’s all about optimising engine efficiency: a balance between engine performance, engine protection and even fuel saving”.

INCREASING SALES
Our oil experts suggested a couple of ideas that will sweep those products off the counter and into the customer’s hands. Bewsey advises technicians to offer top-up cartons when the vehicle is being serviced, so the motorist will have a litre of the correct grade handy for service intervals, by recommending a ‘top up’ with the correct specification. He said: “As far as engine lubes are concerned, the most straightforward and profitable method is to offer your customer the correct top-up oil for their vehicle. Sell your customer the appropriate 1 or 2 litre top up oil pack (s) at the time of the oil change service interval, and urge then to check their vehicle’s oil level regularly, whatever its recommended oil change cycle”. Steve Dunn, Sales Director of Exol Lubricants, agrees, suggesting that workshops should be stressing the importance of buying high quality oil grades to customers. After all, the last thing a technician needs is a dissatisfied motorist returning a few weeks later to find they have poured in the wrong formulation, causing damage to the engine. “Garages should ensure customers check their oil regularly and raise the awareness to some of the pitfalls of incorrect oils”, said Dunn. “By encouraging garages to promote the importance of good quality oil, motorists are more inclined to use premium products of greater quality that offer long- term benefits rather than a cheaper alternative”.

OIL SELECTION
The influx of oils and lubricants available for petrol and diesel engines can cause a cloud of confusion among technicians when distinguishing the correct specifications for the job, particularly for businesses servicing a diverse range of vehicle models. To jump over this hurdle, most suppliers have a VRM look-up system in place to help choose the correct formulation first time round. Martyn Mann, Technical Director at Millers Oils, elaborated: “Our website has a facility called Which Oil? Users can enter the vehicle’s details in to find out the correct oil and quantity for the engine in question”, Mann continued: “We also have helplines where people can speak to a member of our technical team or alternatively, e-mail their query to us”. Similarly, Chris Wall from Total Lubricants says the supplier utilises a tool called ‘LubAdvisor’, what does what it says on the tin. He explained: “This easy to use tool allows technicians to look up the specific make and model in an instant, enabling them to make the right choice with confidence every time, with the information also available through industry cataloguing systems adopted by some of the big motor factor groups”. Les Downey, Managing Director of Lucas Oil adds: “The garage only needs the VRM, a PC and access to any one of a wide range of online tools and the specification is there on the screen. Alternatively, the motor factor can provide the advice”.

DEVELOPING ADDITIVE PACKS
Developing additive packs in house is a very expensive and time-consuming business, but as the number of VM-specific oil references grows it is necessary for oil blenders to either develop their own additive packs (which then need to be approved by the VM) or buy directly from additive suppliers. One company that buys ad packs in this way is SCT, which produces and distributes the Mannol brand in the UK. Jevgenij Lyzko from the firm says: “Our factory uses Infineum as additive supplier, as we highly trust their quality and professionalism”. He notes that his firm now produces various VM-specific lubes, which are easily identifiable by the black packaging, which have seen strong sales in the UK since being introduced two years ago.

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A1 MOTOR STORES AWARDS AND SUPPLIER ‘SPEED DATING’


a1_awards

Salloway (middle) presented awards

There might be far fewer conventions and ‘jollies’ abroad these days, but we’re pleased to say that the A1 Conference took 85 delegates and 35 supplier’s reps to the delightful Grand Majestic Hotel on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Italy. Particular mention should be given to the five suppliers, which sponsored the convention, namely Tetrosyl, Comline, Trico, Platinum and FPS.

On the day of arrival, the guests enjoyed a trip on the lake, plus a decent evening’s feed. However, in the morning after breakfast it was down to work for the Supplier meetings. Members paired up and had strictly timed five-minute sessions with each supplier. Of course, if the discussions needed to go on longer then there was plenty of opportunity later, but the point of the exercise was to introduce members to suppliers that they may not have previously had a dialogue with.

AWARDS
a1_award_winnersThe evening event was a black-tie dinner. A1’s Head of Operations, Simon Salloway called everyone to order and announced the winners of the 2016 A1 Motor Stores’ Supplier Awards. There were only four to be made, and the accolade was taken very seriously by the suppliers as all the awards were voted for by the entire membership. See the side panel for who won.

Actually there was one more announcement to make and it was an emotional one too. A1 members Phil and Pauline Taylor from Motormania were retiring straight after the conference. Motomania has been a member of A1 for all but two years of the group’s existence and Phil had a few words to say before signing off. He said, “In all the years of being involved in membership and heading up the executive as Chairman in the past, I have never seen the group in such a healthy and exciting position. A1

certainly does have a part to play in our industry and I wish I could turn back the clock and still be part of it. I think Simon Salloway is bringing the changes and new initiative to A1 that we need and I’m sure the group will grow from strength to strength. Pauline and I would like to thank A1 members and suppliers, old and new, for allowing us to have such an enjoyable career and we wish you all success moving forward.”

We wish the Taylor’s all the best and look forward to another great event next year.

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AUTOINSIDER LIVE TURNS FOCUS TO MOT TRAINING


AutoInsider took place at Sandown Park

AutoInsider took place at Sandown Park

The most recent edition of AutoInsider saw a new focus on preparation for MOT training courses.

Although delegates at the Andrew Page-backed event at Sandown Park still had the usual meet and greet with suppliers, the highlight of the show was a seminar theatre which hosted an explanation of the new requirements for authorised examiners.

Paul Hall, Group Training Manager at Andrew Page, said: “People have heard so many rumours about how to go about undergoing MOT tester training”.

“The reason we put on the seminar here today was to set the record straight about what is happening and what we can do for the industry”.

Aside from the forum, key suppliers including Bosch, TRW, Mann Filter and Unipart were on hand to explain their wares. Under the theme ‘Tomorrow’s Garage Today’, tool makers and parts suppliers put on a show that related to modernising the workshop. “Whenever we do something like this, it’s always a success to talk with customers, key managers, people from supply chains and spend quality time with customers outside of the garage” said Rebecca Leigh Regional Sales Manager for Andrew Page.

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STOCKIST DEALS FOR AFTERMARKET SUPPLIERS


stockist unipart Gerry O'Hara

Unipart picked up Fastest Growing Supplier Award from Page earlier in the year

The month gone has seen a number of supply arrangement deals signed by major aftermarket companies. Firstly, accessory distributor Saxon has made an agreement with Unipart Autoparts for distribution of Unipart branded products in the UK.

Neil Haines, CEO of Saxon stated that the deal allowed the company to add to its portfolio of bands and that it developed his strategy of working with ‘market leading quality partners’.

Gerry O’Hara Managing Director of Unipart Autoparts noted that the deal provided a ‘winning formula’ for working with their joint customers.
Meanwhile, A1 Motor Stores has added Bradford-based Autoelectro to its list of suppliers. Autoelectro is a large remanufacturer with a wide range of references.

Autoelectro’s Managing Director, Tony Bhogal said: “We have invested heavily in the latest test equipment to understand, test and check the newest applications, which incorporate complex electronics”.

Simon Salloway, A1’s Head of Operations, commented: “I know our members will benefit enormously from having them on board”. Salloway knows more than most about the rotating electrics market having joined A1 from AMK. Also in distribution this month, cooling part supplier Nissens received a gong from the TETMOT expo for being the supplier with the best logistics over the past year. A ‘proud and humble’ VP Klavs T. Pederson received the award on behalf of the company.

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EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS OVER MULTIPLE SITES


Andy Savva: Everybody needs a plan to develop their staff and businesses, but is it wise to consider a franchise or multi-site model?

Andy Savva

Andy Savva has run various large independent garages and has been a troubleshooter for underperforming franchise workshops.

 

Over the years many people have asked me about the business models of the independent garages I’ve owned. Specifically, the business I get asked about the most is Brunswick Garage, which was conceived, marketed and branded as a main dealer alternative. The question that I was asked most often is: ‘why don’t you consider franchising the model?’

Well, it sounds good, expand the empire, grow the brand and of course hopefully get a better financial return. However, I believe it’s one of the most difficult industries to turn into a franchise. About three years ago a workshop in Coventry opened in a blaze of glory with the stated aim that there would soon be one similar in 25 major towns across the nation.

The originator of this idea was not from within industry but from the world of white-collar recruitment. I remember when the second site was opened I was asked my opinion and I was then as I am now very clear now that it’s practically impossible for it to succeed. To date I think I’ve been proved right as the business in question called in the administrators not long after a third site was opened.

There are too many processes, procedures, and interactions between customers and staff members that you can’t just franchise. We are dealing with emotions and behaviour that just can’t be accounted for. What works in one area of England may not necessarily work in another, there are so many variables and barriers to consider, customer and vehicle demographics, land and property costs differ up and down the country.

Having said that, there is no reason why your ambition should be to only run a single garage. There are a lot of examples of aftermarket business owners who do have garages over multiple sites, often in different towns. Of course there is a crucial difference between being an owner-operator of multiple businesses and developing a model for others to emulate.

However, no matter what your goals are as a business owner, it’s important to review the pros and cons of growing your business in order to hone your vision and assess potential stumbling blocks before they arise. Believe me, owning a multi-unit business is hard work. Below I have tried to highlight some of the key points to consider if you want to expand into multi-site independent garage operator.

MULTI-SITE PROS

  • Economies of scale: When purchasing parts of equipment, you should be in a position to achieve better prices.
  • Marketing activities can be combined: Wider message at a lower cost – increasing brand awareness.
  • Pool of talent: Staff can work between locations depending on need.
  • Reduced management: One manager could be spread over two or three sites.
  • Equipment sharing: There is the possibility of sharing specialist tools and diagnostic equipment – depending what services you offer at different locations.
  • Make money: More profit achieved with multiple sites.
  • Plan retirement: A successful multi-site can attract a larger corporate buyer if an exit strategy is the final objective.
  • Family institution: If family are involved could be easier to expand – families tend to form a grounded and loyal foundation. In built support system. It could bring long-term stability and trust. Having said that…

MULTI-SITE CONS

  • Dysfunctional families: Family businesses can create a lot of challenges too. Difficulties arise when it comes to succession planning, sibling relationships, promotion and leadership. This can result in dysfunctional behaviour affecting business decisions.
  • Increased capital investment: Opening a garage isn’t cheap.
  • Location is critical: Is it easy for customers to get to, and near transport links so they can leave the vehicle with you?
  • Local knowledge: What works in one area may not work in another. It is important to research and understand the customer type and vehicle demographics in that specific location.
  • Common policies: Multi-sites are difficult to manage if you don’t have rigid processes and procedures in place that are clear to all staff members.
  • Pay grade: It can be difficult to manage staffing levels and correct management structure with the right pay incentives.
  • Reputation spread: Poor customer service from one site can affect another site.
  • Cost control: Managing costs across several locations not easy. Controls need implemented. Cost can spiral out of control if other sites are not successful.
  • Personal touch: With attention divided amongst other locations there could be a distance created between stakeholders and staff.
  • Increasing difficult to attract competent, skilled staff – inherent with our industry.
  • Finding staff: It can be hard enough to get the right people for one site, let alone multiple locations.

Whichever way you may decide to take your garage – there are pitfalls and benefits in all camps – single site, multi-site and franchise. Ultimately it will come down to the desires and ambitions that you set yourself.

You can find out about Andy’s consultancy services by contacting savvaautomotive.com

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NEXUS DISCUSSES UK AFTERMARKET


Around 200 aftermarket suppliers met buyersNexusUK at the Nexus Business Forum held in Montreux, Switzerland in February.

The Nexus organisation was founded a couple of years ago by 14 European car part distributors, including the UK’s Parts Alliance. Describing itself as a ‘value focussed alliance of aftermarket leaders’ it has already achieved a total consolidated turnover of €7.25 billion in 2015 and has plans to extend this to €9 billon by the end of the next accounting period.

With sums of money this large floating about, it is perhaps no wonder that suppliers were only to keen to get a plane to the magnificent Montreux Palace hotel to engage in complex ‘speed-dating’-style sessions with the buyers. The event left plenty of time for less pressured networking and discussions as well.

In addition to the business meetings a plenary session was held to discuss the nature of the aftermarket including threats and opportunities that would likely happen over the coming months.

The event was well attended by many well-known aftermarket faces. We spotted Peter Sephton and Stan West of The Parts Alliance and GSF respectively, while on the supply side we met Laurence Bleasdale of TMD Friction, Nigel Cole from Denso and Andreas Habeck from Hella among many others.

We were particularly interested to note that an Iranian company, Alborz Yadak Trading, were among the companies competing for the attention of the buying groups. Iran has had a large manufacturing base for decades, but has been unable to trade with Western companies for years due to sanctions. Now diplomatic relations are open again, it will be interesting to see how products from the country are received into the aftermarket over the coming years.

There was also a panel discussion on the threats and opportunities that the connected car can bring.

Gael Escribe, Chief Exec at Nexus described how the reach of the organisation was to cover parts trading over the whole world. “Our vision is for one aftermarket and for Nexus to be a leader and not just a challenger” he said, reminding the audience that since foundation the organisation had achieved 59 supplier contracts and that places such as China that have traditionally been thought of as simply places where parts are made are now starting to consume components from around the world for their domestic parc.

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THE LAST UNDERSUPPLIED AREA


Jonathan Davies discusses the launch of the first CMF factor branch in Gwynedd

Stockroom ProductsIn these times where there seems to be a factor branch in every other industrial unit across the land, it comes as a surprise that that there are still parts of the UK that are undersupplied. However, this was the experience of Jonathan Davies, an entrepreneur from the Welsh village of Bontddu, Gwynedd.

With the closure of the local Unipart Automotive branch, the closest parts factor was 30 miles away. Davies decided enough was enough: “Once Unipart went that was it,” he said. “There was only CES but their prices were expensive. All the local garages and everybody was complaining because there was no competition within a 60-mile radius and that’s what made us go for it. As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them join them”.

The new Clogau Motor Factor’s (CMF) branch comprises five 20ft-shipping containers along with a 25ft office unit, stacked on top of one another. We were intrigued to find out where the inspiration for this eccentric design came from: “We were waiting for a property to become available but we couldn’t find any in the area” said Davies. “My friend Mike Webb from the Car Buying Group said he knew a guy from Bristol who trades out of shipping containers and is doing very well. That’s how we decided on the layout”. Apart from being a factor CMF is also a retail shop and as Clogau Motors, is also a garage with MOT bay.

Davies needed an extra pair of hands and bought in Paul Merrick as Branch Manager. Merrick is one of Clogau Motor’s experienced MOT Testers, carrying 10 years of service at the garage. “Paul was happy just cleaning and valeting cars at Clogau Motors, but I thought he was too clever for this. After some convincing, he has transitioned over to Branch Manager and is doing well – he’s been really nailing it”, responded Davies.

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Merrick and the rest of the staff were required to complete a four-day training programme, learning the new MAM software. Davies explained Products and servicesthat the system has played an important role in organising the stock within the shipping containers while increasing customer accounts: “It took us a while putting all the stock on the system, but it’s good system I have to praise it. We also have an alliance with the Car Buying Group and a website with them. The Click and Collect service with the CBG has slowly built up our private customer accounts and is growing organically”. The system also caters to the general public who want to purchase spare car parts, Davies elaborated: “A lot of people are coming in and buying bulbs and wipers. People are more and more trying to service their cars themselves to save the garage expenses”.

The branch has got off to a good start with the recent purchase of their second van and the opportunity to increase the fleet to as many as six vans later this year. CMF currently hold 46 trade accounts stocking products from brands including ALCO Filters, Varta Batteries, Juratec brake discs and others.

Since the doors opened for business, the branch has secured a great amount of support from local garages and agents along the coastline: “The business is growing more and more every week”, Davies explained: “We’re getting more people not just trade customers but also more private customers now as well. People are having to travel 30 miles away to Aberystwyth to their local car parts place, so we’re getting more and more of them as well”.

FUTURE PROOF

Stocked-up Shipping Containers Planning ahead, the factor chain discussed their future business goals: “As Paul says to me, we are growing organically. We’re not like the big
chains, but we’re starting slowly. We don’t get deliveries from FPS everyday whereas a lot of other factors do. If the business grows, what we hope to achieve next year is going from little containers to a purpose-built unit for the place”.

The distributor hopes to expand its delivery radius to 30 miles. However, Davies believes this could be an issue because of changes in the vehicle parc: “You’ve got to remember that we’re very rural. We’re in Snowdonia. The closest drive is half an hour to the supermarket, and an hour drive to your closest McDonalds. We’re being very careful building up our stock to suit the vehicles we’ve got in the area”, he concluded.

 

Jonathan Davies And Paul Merrick

VITAL STATS

CLOGAU MOTOR FACTORS

LOCATION:  Bontddu, Gwynedd

MANAGER:  Paul Merrick (Pictured right with Jonathan Davies)

STAFF:  4    VANS:  2

FASTEST MOVING LINES:  Oil filters, car batteries, braking

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LEGISLATION LOOMS FOR SUPPLIERS


Neil Pattemore – The Spectre of type approval for many more aftermarket parts looms large but is it safety issues or the VMs lobbying politicians that drive this change?

Neil Battemore Business Analyst at XEN Consultancy and FIGEFA representative

Neil Battemore
Business Analyst at XEN Consultancy for the aftermarket

Let’s talk about Europe. Recently the aftermarket’s offer of replacement parts has come under threat from draft European vehicle type approval legislation in Brussels. This draft legislation contains proposals aimed at ensuring that vehicles continue to comply with their original type approval requirements throughout their life, by approving replacement parts to ensure that they function to the same standard as the original parts used when the car was originally manufactured.

You might argue that the MOT test is there to verify that a vehicle and its systems continue to work correctly, that it’s safe and secure, with acceptable emissions levels, but this is not how TA parts and components would be checked.

TYPE APPROVAL

To be fair, there are some key replacement parts that already need to be type approved. You’ll know most of them: windscreens, tyres, headlamps, catalysts, DPF’s and brake parts. These are all marked with an ‘E’ mark to show that they meet type approved requirements (the number after the ‘E’ denotes the EU Member State where the type approval was conducted – e.g. 11 is the UK). However, the legitimacy of the ‘E’ marking is the responsibility of the workshop that fits the part – who if challenged, needs to be able to show an audit trail from their parts supplier back to the original manufacturer’s certificate to prove that the part is legitimately type approved.

For just about every other part or component of the vehicle, many of which are not so easy to inspect, there is no current requirement for ‘E’ marking or any form of direct assessment. If a part is replaced and the vehicle remains safe, secure and roadworthy, it is perfectly acceptable.

It is not that the aftermarket has stopped offering quality parts and components – in fact it is just the opposite – there is probably more competition and choice of quality parts than ever before, but that simply being able to offer various parts and components is now coming under threat, even when some parts or components are of a higher specification than the vehicle manufacturer’s original parts. OEM parts and components are made to a price, not necessarily the highest possible specification.

The background to this issue is partly coming from the vehicle manufacturers who consider that although they are subject to type approval, aftermarket parts are not and this is deemed unfair. It is also emanating from ‘L-Category’ legislation – which is motorbikes, where there is a wish to control the (unregulated) replacement performance parts but in doing so can also impact the emissions, noise or safety of the bikes.

REAL THREAT

Meanwhile, VMs conduct ‘whole vehicle type approval’ which includes all parts and components fitted to the original vehicle, for the aftermarket this is much more difficult and expensive – each replacement part would have to be tested for each of its applications, meaning not only finding examples of the actual vehicles, but also the test centres that can conduct the type approval testing.

This creates a real threat to the aftermarket parts suppliers, who at best will have to comply with significant and burdensome type approval test requirements, but there is also a significant cost attached to this process. The result will be fewer and more expensive parts.

Critically, there is a huge question over the ‘proportionality’ of this proposal – there is little evidence that aftermarket replacement parts and components create any significant safety or emission issues. Additionally, if they did not fit and work correctly, then the vehicle would not function or perform correctly and may fail an MOT.

TILTED FIELD

The claim is that by type approving aftermarket replacement parts it creates a level playing field between the vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket parts and components suppliers, but I don’t see it that way – the European legislators seem to have been swayed by arguments from the VMs that the type approval of replacement parts is necessary – but this seems to ignore the point that the vehicle manufacturers have the most to gain and that it will ultimately be the consumer who suffers through having a reduced choice of more expensive replacement parts.

To enforce this type approval requirement, there is a proposal to conduct ‘market surveillance’ on replacement parts and components, although it is not yet clear exactly how this may be conducted, there have already been ‘dawn raids’ on parts distributors in some European countries.

These proposals in the revised type approval legislation have been vigorously challenged by FIGIEFA (the European association of spare parts distributors), who have claimed that these proposals are both unnecessary and disproportionate. Additionally, they will create unfair competition, rather than resolve it and will raise costs with little proven benefit. At worst, it will increase costs for legitimate European manufacturers, whilst obliging repair workshops to buy original parts from their local dealer – undermining the competitive choice of the aftermarket and increasing consumer costs. Just remind me – who will benefit from all of this?

So supporting one of the aftermarket organisations that help FIGIEFA fight this challenge is more important than ever – your future choices are worth fighting for.

You can find more about Neil’s aftermarket consultancy at: xenconsultancy.com 

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