Tag Archive | "Supply chain"

DONE DEAL: SUPPLIERS SECURE LOCATIONS

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DONE DEAL: SUPPLIERS SECURE LOCATIONS


Three aftermarket firms have added to their networks.

■ Factor chain Euro Car Parts has agreed a ten-year lease for its new 20,700 sq ft warehouse, situated at the Cross Green Industrial Estate in Leeds. The location overlooks Pontefract Lane (A3), providing connections to the East Leeds Link Road and direct access to Junction 45 off the M1.

“We are pleased to have secured Euro Car Parts as a tenant for this highly prominent scheme”, said Mike Baugh, Senior Director of Industrial Agency at CBRE Leeds, “Solvgrin [the site developer] has constructed a very attractive unit at this gateway to Leeds”, adding that the organisation will construct a further 6,000 sq ft industrial unit adjacent to the supplier’s facility.

■ Tyre brand Michelin has invested £10m for its logistics operation in Stoke-on-Trent, with the opening of a new distribution centre in July. The upgrade also includes a new distribution centre for ATS Euromaster – where both units will store and deliver up to five million tyres between them per annum. The two sites combined have doubled its logistics team to around 150 staff in order to satisfy this growing demand.

Richard Whitehurst, Service to Customer Manager at Michelin Tyre, said. “The transformation of our logistics operation will allow us to improve service and ensure greater product availability”. In addition to this, the firm is stepping up manufacturing capacity at its Campbell Road headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent by launching another tyre production facility. The warehouse will open at the end of November allowing the manufacturer to produce up to 1,100 tyres a day.

■ Meanwhile,Ecobat Technologies has moved to a 15,000 sq ft premises in Bristol. “We needed to move to a property that will allow the business to continue to develop and provide support for our customers” concluded a statement from the firm.

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GERMAN VMs IN CARTEL ALLEGATIONS

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GERMAN VMs IN CARTEL ALLEGATIONS


The European Commission is to investigate several German VMs including BMW, Porsche, Daimler and VAG group over claims that the brands formed a ‘cartel’ to fix the price of a number of components from suppliers – including parts relating to the emissions systems.

An interesting detail is the allegation that the VMs colluded to deliberately make AdBlue tanks to be small in size, although it is not yet clear if there could be any competitive advantage in this detail as the effectiveness of the system is not affected by the size of the tank.

VW has confirmed that it has held a board meeting about the issue, but has declined to give any further details.
The OE parts industry has been hit with a number of cartel fines in recent years, with some bearing and A/C hardware manufacturers admitting their part.

Business magazine, Forbes has speculated that the latest scandal could turn into a ‘rat out race’ between VMs, as each might want to become a whistle-blower in order to escape the largest fine. This is backed up by cartel meeting minutes, apparently seen by Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper which suggested that Daimler may have been cooperating with the authorities since 2014.

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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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ACQUISITIONS NEED PLANNING

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ACQUISITIONS NEED PLANNING


Takeovers are in fashion in the aftermarket, but you need to find a company that’s the right fit, writes Adam Bernstein

The question of how to grow a business is one that has perplexed many for generations, namely: organic growth or acquisitive growth? It makes no odds which route is taken, the end goal is the same – greater profitability.

Acquisitions seem to be in vogue for the aftermarket at the moment. You’ve probably already read in this issue that Canadian parts giant Uni-Select has acquired The Parts Alliance, which has itself been on the lookout for smaller factors to buy. GroupAuto’s parent company AAG has made numerous acquisitions in the past year, including FPS and LKQ’s attempted tie-up between ECP and Andrew Page has attracted the attention of the Competitions and Market’s Authority, for which we await the decision in November.

There’s nothing wrong with organic growth, it’s just that it takes time. And compared to setting up a new unit from scratch acquisition takes less time, resources and finance that many firms struggle to provide. So how should firms acquire? What are the issues to be aware of?

DUE DILIGENCE
Understanding what is being bought is key. Although acquirers will usually be able to obtain warranties (think guarantees) from shareholders, there is no substitute for extensively checking the detail of the transaction through “due diligence.” The process falls into three distinct areas – legal which will be handled by lawyers; financial and tax which will be dealt with by accountants; and commercial which falls to the acquirer. If any skeletons in the cupboard are identified, these can be turned into indemnities and, as such, the risk stays with the vendors.

But while due diligence is important, desktop research should be completed before any approach is made along with market and commercial due diligence. Research is much easier nowadays as so much information is available in the public domain through Companies House, online databases, the web, and other information gained discreetly through industry sources. But remember, financial information can be months out of date and cannot be relied upon to give an accurate view of a firm’s financial health.

Skimping here will mean the acquirer will have no idea about the veracity of what they are being told.

WORKPLACE CULTURE CLASH
Acquirers need to recognise that buying the assets of a firm is one thing, but businesses also come with staff already employed and they must get along with the acquirer’s own employees. There are countless examples where mergers and acquisitions have failed because of culture clash – Daimler and Chrysler, AOL and Time Warner, HP and Compaq.

Culture is something that should be looked at closely; compatibility is one of the key requirements. Inevitably there is a learning curve following acquisition, but many find that due diligence meetings usually indicate if the businesses can adapt. Others suggest looking at the top to board level for clues on possible culture issues.

TAKING PRECAUTIONS
Of course, some businesses are bought when they are in trouble and here the purchaser should be particularly cautious.

Firms in trouble often find themselves the target of creditors who can apply pressure; this must be considered when arriving at a valuation.

A question to ask is what is the reason for the decline? Is it the loss of a major client or a bad debt? Is the firm out of step with the market and unable to compete? Can the decline be reversed? Some buyers choose to wait until the target goes into a formal insolvency process before making an offer to the administrator or liquidator when the price the target can be acquired at should be considerably lower. But there is a warning – there will be no warranties and the acquisition will be on a ‘buyer beware basis’. Buying a business from an administrator is risky; their job is not to help the buyer but to realise the greatest possible value for the creditors.

It’s important to also look out for Crown debt arrears such as PAYE and VAT. If these exist a time to pay arrangement is crucial if a rescue is to be completed. But buying a failed firm may mean that existing customers may lack confidence in the business. Similarly, creditors who would have suffered due to the business failure – will be wary too.

ACQUISITION COST
Acquisitions involve significant costs and many are not insignificant. Purchasers should budget for the corporate finance finder’s fee, accountant’s costs, legal fees (legal drafting, due diligence and deal completion matters), insurance warranty payments and costs allied with any associated funding. These can be over 10% of the purchase price.

Also, buyers should not ignore property and any stamp duty that is payable. And just as importantly is the hidden cost of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 – TUPE – which crystallises if there is a staff restructure following the takeover. Employees involved in a business acquisition can sometimes have a significant level of protection under TUPE – which in practice means that dismissing employees following an acquisition can be restricted or costly. Acquirers also need to consider any changes that have to be made to accommodate staff with disability issues.

There’s also the threat of loss of business due to change of control, changing relationships and the possible loss of key staff following the takeover. But these can be managed by having close liaison with customers and offering staff revised employment contracts that come with incentives. Further, existing contracts and arrangements will need to be honoured once the former management leaves.

But there is one more expense that is harder to quantify – time. It is important to make sure that the acquisition doesn’t become a huge distraction and the underlying business is not neglected.

BOLD MOVE
An acquisition is not for the faint hearted – acquirers should consider if they are better off focusing energy on organic growth or proceed ahead by taking a larger risk with an acquisition.

The adage that “people buy people” applies to staff as much as it does to the seller and customer relationship. Ignoring and potential staffing and culture issue can do more damage than any over-valuation.

NOTABLE AFTERMARKET ACQUISITIONS

  • There have been thousands of takeovers in our sector over the years. Here are a few that sprung to mind:
  • Lookers PLC took the decision to sell FPS Distribution, BTN Turbo and Apec Braking to Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) in 2016.
  • American recycled parts firm LKQ Corporation acquired Euro Car Parts in 2011 after months of rumour and speculation around the aftermarket (much of it incorrect). More recently, LKQ has acquired Arleigh International, a large distributor of touring and leisure products.
  • In 1973 Burmah Oil acquired Quinton Hazell ltd from the man of the same name. Hazell didn’t take to working as part of a large corporation and took a stake in the Supra Group, where he started competing against his former company.
  • ZF and TRW came together in 2016, though Helmut Ernst, CEO of ZF was keen to stress to CAT that TRW as a brand was ‘an asset that would remain’.
  • Cash and carry chain Maccess was sold in 1999 in an MBO valued at £68m. It was a rare example of then-parent Finelist selling a company for profit. Finelist Group collapsed in 2001 while Maccess lasted until 2015 before it ran out of ‘time and customers’ according to the then owner Tetrosyl.

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TRANSFER WINDOW: NEW SUPPLIER DEALS

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TRANSFER WINDOW: NEW SUPPLIER DEALS


Fram coming to ECP

Transfer season sees clubs scouting for talent and players looking for a comfy life, aftermarket brands have also been swapping sides over the last month.

  • First of all, The Parts Alliance has announced a five-year partnership with the AA. The products will cover batteries, vehicle parts and consumables in a supply contract for five years. “We are delighted to be a business partner and supplier to the AA, one of Britain’s most trusted brands”. said Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance.
  • Meanwhile, Sogefi Filtration has signed an agreement with distribution giant Euro Car Parts, which will see the latter stock products under the Fram brand from the beginning of July. This will include the full range of light vehicle filters sold through ECP’s outlets in UK and Ireland. Nigel Duffield, Sales Director at Sogefi said: “The cooperation with Euro Car Parts is very promising and will surely contribute to further develop the presence of the brand throughout the country”.
  • The CAAR buying group has also made some signings, with oil brand Mannol now being stocked by the group’s members. The lubricant producer has had a good month, because in addition to the supply deal it also won two awards from separate German car magazines for it’s Combi Energy 5w30 Long Life oil. Andrej Gaikov from Mannol said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by CAAR’s members to be stocked in their stores. I feel this is the start of a great partnership for both of us”.
  • The A1 buying group has introduced Warwickshire-based Compressortech into its approved suppliers list. The remanufacturer of A/C compressors can now be distribute its products across the chain’s members. Gary Stephenson, Business Development Manager for Compressortech said: “A1 is a significant and recognised buying group and our thermal cooling products will further complement their expanding product ranges.
    We look forward to working with the members.”

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

THE NORTH AND SOUTH DIVIDE

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THE NORTH AND SOUTH DIVIDE


Simon McMullen takes us around GSF’s new Bristol North branch.

A number of factor chains have expanded their networks recently. One in particular was GSF’s Bristol North branch, which opened three months ago. We decided to drop by the firm’s latest addition to see how business has taken off since the launch.

The first thing you need to know about Bristol North is that it is the third branch in that city, with the other two known as South and Central respectively. However, these branches are not a house divided, but that the three branches function effectively as one location and with a single manager, but are able to put in to reach wider across the city than would be possible from one location.

In terms of logistics, Bristol South is the regional hub, supplying North and Central as well as various branches across West England and South Wales with stock. Area Manager Mark Donovan notes that the system has been designed so stock is quickly replenished across the business. “Bristol North is supported by the two other locations so they can keep what we can’t keep. We have an hourly van going backwards and forwards to bring stock to and from other sites”.

Inside, the reception looks like a modern car accessory shop, rather than a trade factor’s satellite store with a variety of car care products for retail customers. The sales and front-of-house team appeared polite and busy while they dealt with customer queries both face-to-face and over the phone. “Both the independent motor trade and national accounts business proved very successful within the first six to seven Weeks of opening” explained Simon McMullen, Regional Sales Director, who also joined us on our visit. “We mainly opened this branch for logistical purposes as we found there was a big avenue of customers we could service in the area” he said, adding that the M5 motorway access has helped facilitate this.

DELIVERIES
The store delivers within a 15-mile radius across its network of delivery vans and is looking to add motorcycles to the fleet.

WAREHOUSE LAYOUT
Situated at the Aztec Business Park, the new 9,000sq ft. branch employs 14 staff and includes a mezzanine floor, stocking a range of fast selling lines. Braking and service items are a few of many wares occupying the upstairs space, supplied by reputable brands including Valeo, Bosch and braking brand TRW. The ground floor is home to LuK clutches, Banner Batteries as well as exhaust silencers hanging up neatly in single file.

With bulks of stock being delivered to and from its neighbouring sites, we were keen to find out how the firm keeps track of purchases and customer orders. “We have our in-house system called EDP, a tool for stock management and sales,” McMullen replied. “This allows us to go back to our stock hubs in Birmingham. If you have an item that doesn’t sell in a recognised period of time, EDP recognises it and withdraws the product from the branch in question, bringing it back to the central branch where it is distributed nationally”. Staff working the night shift can expect an overnight delivery from GSF’s Birmingham hub, followed by three more deliveries via its regional distribution centre throughout the day. To take on this task, the team receive enrolment and ongoing training to control stock entering and leaving the premises.

SERVICES AND TRAINING
Similar to the Snap-on tool van concept, McMullen highlights that GSF’s kitted out tool vans have proved a hit in this area where staff will travel to local businesses and demonstrate their latest offerings to garages, while picking up leads for MOT bays, four post lifts and diagnostic equipment. “We treat all our customers as people and not account numbers”, said McMullen. “It is important that we always try to build positive and long-term relationships with them”.

Reflecting on his employees progress so far, McMullen, said. “I’m very proud of the guys and what we have achieved here. We spent countless hours painting, decorating and putting stock away before the launch of this store. It’s been a general team effort and I can’t thank everyone enough”. Both McMullen and Donovan are now aiming to bring Bristol North up to the same success of its brother and sister sites and is considering to acquire a fourth store in the city. The branch will continue rolling out new product lines as it continues to grow within the GSF group. We look forward to catching up with the team and potentially visiting another Bristol store in the near future.

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AUTOMECHANIKA IN REVIEW

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AUTOMECHANIKA IN REVIEW


For us at the magazine, it is funny to think that 2017 was only the second time Automechanika has taken place at the NEC, such is the amount that we have written and speculated about it. Nonetheless, this is only the second time the show has happened here, and it seems much of the aftermarket holds an opinion about it.

For me, the proceedings started the day before the event as SMMT had invited a handful of journalists to dinner at a nearby country pile to talk about the show, the aftermarket and the motor industry in general. One interesting stat that Chief Exec Mike Hawes raised was that the British public now spend more online on car accessories than they do on cosmetics. I haven’t been able to verify this yet, and I suspect it includes replacement tyres and servicing booked online, but even so it goes to show that the new generation of motorists are less willing to do things the old way. A point to ponder perhaps.

After the show was opened, complete with ribbon cutting and the traditional comedy big scissors (I wonder where they come from?) the show got underway and we grab show organiser Simon Albert for a few words. As the show had only just opened, he didn’t have much to tell us that we didn’t already know, such as the longer opening hours, increase in aisle space etc. However, he did confirm his hit list of companies that he’d like to see attending in the future and, of most significance to us, confirmed that the show would return next year.

On the Valeo stand

This surprised me a little, as I’d assumed that the show would become biennial in the years that the Frankfurt show was not held. However, I was keen to get going as my appointment book was full and I was running late before I had even started.

The first visit took me across Hall 19 and into Hall 20 where I could have a quick look at some of the stands as I scurried past. Liqui Moly and Auto Repar had particularly amazing looking stands. Schaeffler had used a space right next to the main entrance to build a gleaming white stage where cutaway versions of various products had been mounted on plinths for the reps to demonstrate. Valeo meanwhile, had approached the concept of having a stand in a different way, as it had simply brought a huge truck and trailer kitted out with demonstration models of various things into the hall.

MEANDERING
I won’t trouble you with the details of every meeting I had or what everyone said, except that on the first day a number of stands reported that footfall seemed a little low, which could be down to appalling weather that day as well as a crash blocking one of the motorways near the NEC that may have put some off attending. I should add that if the attendance was low on the first day, I didn’t notice it. From my point of view, Hall 19, where I spent the bulk of the time, seemed annoyingly busy with meandering people with a tendency to stop in front of me filling the aisles.

It was pleasing to see that many exhibitors had brought in things other than their products to keep people amused. Sales-i brought an Out Run arcade machine for example (a game that I spent too much time on in my youth). Denso brought a VR racing car simulator, which I quite fancied trying out, but decided not to as the racing driver Rebecca Jackson was looking on, and I had no wish to humiliate myself. Other stands brought various cars and bikes from series that they sponsor as well as the usual show novelties.

Holding an event after the show is always a risk, because while there will be a ready supply of people in the industry who are in the same place, there is no telling that they will be in the mood to go somewhere else after spending a day at the show. Even if they do, there is every chance that someone else has invited them first. With this in mind, I was curious to see how many people went to an event held by Motaquip at Warwick Castle on the first night. The answer as it turned out was a lot of people as the event was full. It was one of the more fun events that we’ve been to, with two apparently empty suits of armour jumping off the wall and alarming diners by staging a battle between the tables.

STAGES
Back at the show the following day I would have liked to have had more time to attend some of the industry and technical seminars that were taking place on a number of stages across the halls. Big names from the world of diagnostics including Frank Massey and James Dillon had been brought in as a lure to get technicians to the show (which by all accounts worked) while the heads of the garage associations talked about the various threats and opportunities du jour in the aftermarket. I did manage to get over to hear the winner of the Garage of the Year announced, which turned out to be Motorserv UK, which readers who have been paying close attention might recall we visited this time last year.

One notable absence from the show was TMD Friction (who are on record saying that they have ‘no plans’ to exhibit). However, the company did rent a plaza suite just outside of the main halls to hold a Pagid Live event in association with Euro Car Parts where a number of garage owners and technicians (the majority of whom had been brought down for the event) who, after a day at the show spend a couple of hours enjoying presentations on the benefits of the Pagid Expert programme and on ECPs garage scheme (see Hot Story).

If your reason for visiting the show was to find new products, you wouldn’t have been disappointed. Delphi brought a new bit of diagnostic kit for high- pressure injectors, European Exhaust and Catalyst introduced a 6-in-1 fuel system cleaner at the show and in a similar vein, Forté launched a 4-in-1 cleaning machine. Essentra Components launched something called a ‘High Tech Fluid Absorption Plug’ and I’m sure there were many other things never before seen at the event.

Throughout the show, I spent most of my time in the three aftermarket halls, but on the final day I had a meeting with Stericycle (a company that manages recalls for the VMs) and so I spent a while exploring the area dedicated to the automotive supply chain. It was markedly quieter than the aftermarket halls, although it should be noted that while the supply chain market as a whole is huge and worth big money, the number of buyers within it is relatively small, and stands dealing with VM services were of little interest to technicians, so it might be unfair to judge its success on the amount of feet in the room alone.

‘Billy’ character on Bosch stand

However, the highlight of the show for me came late in the afternoon on the final day when Helen Watkins from Bosch, who was manning the Extra stand, was accosted by a strange small man who kept offering her some of his special ‘home made’ sweets, much to the amusement of onlookers – apparently he’d been coming on the stand and doing this at various points throughout the show. However, just when Helen couldn’t stand the embarrassment anymore, the fellow took off what turned out to be a wig and false teeth to reveal himself as a well known customer of the firm. Apparently, his alter-ego ‘Billy No-Mates’ is a character that he regularly performs for some of his unsuspecting suppliers, and it was much to the amusement of the crowd that had built up.

It was almost time for us to leave in order to high-tail it back to London while there was still time to vote (remember that?) One point that is inescapable is the topic of the show frequency. As a conservative guess, I reckon I spoke to 40 company bosses during the show and the overwhelming majority said that they thought the show should run once every two years, preferably during the non- Frankfurt years in order to keep costs reasonable and keep the momentum of the show. From the point of view of the whole CAT team, we could have happily stayed there for a month if we could – there were so many people to see. However, I’m always curious to know the experience of our readers. Did you go? Were you exhibiting? What were the highlights, and what would you have liked to have seen? Give me a shout at greg.whitaker@haymarket.com.

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THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS FOR AUTOMECHANIKA ISTANBUL


EVENT PREVIEW ON BEHALF OF AUTOMECHANIKA ISTANBUL

Automechanika Istanbul is preparing to host world leading manufacturers and suppliers allowing trade buyers an exclusive opportunity to network with exhibitors and industry experts from all over the world. Doors to this indispensable business platform open from 6th – 9th April 2017 in TÜYAP Fair, Convention and Congress Center (Beylikdüzü).

istanbul openingBuyers can discover the latest innovations in Parts & Components, Electronics & Systems, Accessories & Customising, Repair & Maintenance, Management & Digital Solutions and Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning.

Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt Istanbul, Tayfun Yardım said “Automechanika Istanbul, the automotive industry’s third largest trade fair after Frankfurt and Shanghai, will meet its visitors with many innovations and features of different activities this year.”

The show offers an extensive programme of lectures covering a wide range of subjects.  Returning in 2017 is the Automechanika Academy whereby top professionals from the automotive industry will discuss the latest topics of the sector. Tomorrow’s Mobility, Alternative Drives, Connected Mobility and much more will be discussed from from 6th to 9th April. in the e-mobiility and seminar area.

The 2016 show boasted an astonishing 38,000 square meters, with over 1,200 international exhibitors from 34 countries presenting their products and innovations to 42,000 visitors. For the 2017 edition, 80% of stand space has already been rebooked, and these exhibitors will showcase their products and services across 13 halls. The 2017 edition is a must-visit for anyone looking to grow their aftermarket and OE business in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa.

“In recent years, many foreign exhibitors as well as domestic companies have continued to grow with intense interest and demand, and many new participants will be present this year.” said Alexander Kühnel, General Manager of Hannover Fairs.

Register for your visit today: registration-automechanika-istanbul.tr.messefrankfurt.com/Home/OnlineDavetiyeFormu?FID=14&lng=en

For more information: automechanika-istanbul.tr.messefrankfurt.com

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EARLY MORNING AND OIL’S WELL


We’re in West Lothian to learn more about hidden link in the oil supply chain with Andrew Salton

CERTAS_FRONT

Certas Energy Headquarters

We are in the hilly outskirts of Edinburgh on what is turning out to be a beautiful spring morning. However, we haven’t come here to admire the scenery. Instead, we’ve come to take a look at a depot belonging to Certas Energy that distributes oil-based products to trade customers.

In case you are not familiar with the name, Certas started in 2001 when DCC acquired a company called Scottish Oils from BP. The firm then acquired the Shell Direct business and Emo Oils as well as many brands for the fuel side of the business. The fuel part of the business boasts 140 ‘wet’ depots, while the mainland lubes division operates from six sites around the UK. However, it is the firm’s most recent branch, opened around 18 months ago, that we are here to see today.

Andrew Salton, General Manager for the North explains that the pre-packs and lubes side of the business has enjoyed a period of growth: “In 2007 when I joined, people were doing 300,000 litres of lube, packed fuel and adBlue per year” he said. “Now we’ve topped 8.5m litres of the same product range, so there has been significant growth, not only through a lot of acquisition, but also through organic growth”.

As most readers will be aware, the lubricant market has become far more complex in recent years with the number of oil types and VM approval codes greatly increasing. Salton made the following observation: “I noticed in CAT a few months ago that someone had written in to ask why lubricants haven’t come down in price in line with oil prices. The simple answer to that is that lubricants today are complex synthetic chemicals and not mineral based. If you tried putting a mineral-based oil in a Euro-VI engine you wouldn’t
get more than 4,000 miles before it starts to deteriorate,
it just can’t deal with the temperature regime”.

Tank Farm

The tank farm

TANK FARM
Inside, the large depot is what you might expect: bulk quantities of oil are neatly racked in 1,000-litre pallet tanks known as ‘IBC’s while other shelves are full of barrels of grease and pre- packed fuel. On our visit, the team were in the process of upgrading from a basic barcode- scan stock control system to a more elaborate QR code system which when operational will include useful extra points of reference. Other isles contain smaller quantities of pre-packed items, but central to the whole operation is a ‘tank farm’ designed to quickly and cleanly take bulk quantities of product directly from tanker lorries.

It is an installation of which Salton is clearly proud. “The tank farm has been especially made for our purpose” he explained. “Really, it is not a tank farm but a specialised decanting tool. The trucks come down with 30,000 litre loads, we decant it and measure it into 1,00 litre lots using a special measuring system into IBCs and then we go out and deliver 1000 litres at a time. It’s a good system and it works really well. It cuts down lead-time and customers get what they want”. The company deals with many top-name oil companies, including Castrol, Shell, Valvoline, Total and Gulf Oil.

SERVICE LEVELS
We can’t deny the efficiency of the operation, but we can’t help wondering why trade customers don’t simply buy directly from the oil companies. However, Salton has a simple explanation. “The UK is a mature marketplace. The oil companies understand that they are good at dealing with the VMs, and they make sure that they are developing the right oils for the engines, not just for today but for five or ten years down the line. Where our expertise at Certas comes in, is listening to and dealing with customers. We give [oil companies] an on-the-ground, fast response for the products that the customers need there and then”.

The extra legwork includes understand remote customers, such as those on Scottish islands, stock profiles so the products they need are in stock at the local depot before they have even been ordered. “We’ve won DOFE awards from Shell and Valvoline due to the great effort from all of the branches to make sure the deliveries go on time” said Salton.

Andrew Salton

Andrew Salton

VITAL STATS
CERTAS ENERGY LIVINGSTON

SIZE 33,000 sq, ft.

TANK FARM CAPACITY
150,000 Litres

PALLET SPACE 2,000

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