Tag Archive | "unipart automotive"


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Human capital is more than just a resource, it is your strongest asset – so look after it writes Adam Bernstein

Employees are a firm’s greatest asset and they’re probably the most expensive too. So why is it that some employers and managers seem hell bent on treating their staff so poorly? Why do they create ‘them and us’ divisions without a care?

Having a unified and happy work force is critical to success. Employees can make or break an organisation. Staff don’t have to go the extra mile, they can upset a customer base, and they will leave for other opportunities taking both knowledge and customers
with them.

Any manager worth their salt knows that recruitment of replacements is both expensive and disruptive.

Lee Ashwood, a Senior Associate in the employment department of law firm Eversheds, reckons that there are a number of common causes of employee malcontent.

In his experience, and in no particular order, there are five key areas of concern.“The first”, says Ashwood, “is company sick pay being withheld in situations where the employer has a discretion over the payment.” From his point of view, those genuinely unwell consider the withholding of monies as an arbitrary penalty.

Next he sees real and sometimes bitter disputes over pay “in relation to hours worked, what constitutes overtime and, of course, simply not being paid enough in their opinion”. The issue at hand is that the web has made salary and pay more transparent and staff consider it their right to be paid the market rate. A number of cases on this have been brought and won by employees.

Thirdly, and this is a big problem for Ashwood, is inconsistency in treatment: “I’ve seen on many occasions situations where an employee feels that they are always given the worst tasks to complete, have not been allowed time off at short notice when others have in the past, or have not had the perks that others have been given in similar circumstances.”

Fourth on the list, and one that many can attest to, is an employee thinking that their workload is too much or that work has not been distributed evenly. This disparity is a real cause of employee stress that can lead to an employer either paying for employee sickness and lost production or finding themselves in a tribunal.

The last cause for concern for Ashwood fits under the heading of bullying by managers and colleagues. Indeed, a recent report by the arbitration service ACAS has found that workplace bullying may actually be on the rise, with ACAS receiving around 20,000 calls relating to bullying each year, more than ever before.thinkstockphotos-627390700

Points raised about staff retention are true in to all businesses, but it is perhaps factors that rely most on having bright and committed individuals on their teams. However, it is exactly because these people are both bright and an asset, that rival firms will try and poach them… and if the employee thinks they are getting a raw deal at their current employer they will move. Interestingly, research shows that this rarely has much to do with money – more often than not it is to do with how they perceive themselves to be valued by the company. Consider the number of Unipart Automotive employees who ‘defected’ to other companies well before the firm went bust in 2014. If employees think there is a lack of opportunity then there will likely be a high turnover rate.

So with the scene set, why do employers make mistakes? Do they misunderstand the law? Do they deliberately ignore the process? Or are they simply failing to appreciate the value and views of their staff?

With his lawyer’s hat on, Ashwood thinks that “making mistakes in not following what the law requires is understandable as it is often complex” and not well-known. “However,” he adds, “if you treat staff with empathy and respect, you rarely give them a reason to check to see if you are treating them in accordance with the law. It is not appreciating this point that leads to very common mistakes which in turn lead to disgruntled staff, grievances being raised or, worse, Employment Tribunal claims”.

July 2013 saw the introduction of tribunal fees paid by claimants and although the number of claims has fallen from 50,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to just over 17,000 in the fourth quarter of 2015, an employee claim is not something that employers should welcome. Indeed, in a March 2015 report in the Daily Mail, The British Chambers of Commerce estimated (then) that the average cost to a business of defending itself at tribunal was £8,500 while the average cost of agreeing a settlement was £5,400.

The most obvious solution to counter discontent is for employers to take time to consider the impact of a decision on the employee in question; explain the reasons for the decision; and listen to any objection the employee may have about the decision. Following this course of action would make a number of employment lawyers very and distinctly unemployed.

Moving on, the better employer understands the importance of employee motivation, something that Richard Branson is well known for. In an April 2015 blog, How to keep your best staff, Branson underscores one of his key principles…that staff matter: “Making money or moving up the corporate ladder is no longer considered the be all and end all of career success. Today, one of the biggest indicators of success is purpose. And, in a world where purpose reigns supreme, it’s only natural for people to want to be heard and have their opinions valued.”

This logic is noted by Ashwood who understands that every staff member is likely to have different reasons and motivations for coming to work: “Just because you are solely focused on making your business as profitable as possible and would be prepared to work all hours to do this, does not mean others are or should be judged negatively because they are not. This means you should not take staff for granted and should try to tap into what motivates them in order to improve their performance.”

So let’s look at motivation. In simple terms, people work because they are either extrinsically or intrinsically motivated. The former is the poorer relation. In essence, it uses bribes to get staff to work harder – pay, holiday or some other reward. The problem is that the efficacy of an extrinsic motivator wanes given time and once the employee becomes disgruntled with the amount of tax charged to the ‘bribe’. Alternatively, and more preferable, is the pursuit of intrinsic motivation where staff do something because they want to do it. It’s the very reason why someone will willingly work through their lunch hour or will go beyond the call of duty to help a customer.

To be a successful manager that can instil intrinsic motivation within employees requires an ability to understand what an employee can do and also what they like to do. These goals can be matched in a number of ways.

Firstly, managers should help staff to develop themselves so that they maintain their market potential. Ignore this and they’ll leave for a firm that will. Next consider that staff now want a good work-life balance because after all, there’s no point being the richest man in the cemetery. Not everyone works for money – it’s the ‘eat to live’ rather than the ‘live to eat’ perspective.

Of course, businesses are not democracies, but nevertheless, staff like to feel that they have some level of input to decisions that affect them. The web has clearly exacerbated the importance of this point and firms that keep employees in the dark will eventually lose out to rumour and gossip.

Firms that don’t treat staff like automatons and who instead offer interesting tasks will keep employees more firmly engaged. It’s a sad function of modern life that people nowadays have shorter attention spans, something that can be squarely blamed on smartphones.

And lastly, staff bask in the glow of recognition for their efforts. Positive feedback and constructive criticism will do wonders for keeping an individual within a firm with velvet handcuffs.

To sum up the mantra for managers must be to look beyond the balance sheet and to those that are the backbone of the business. Get it right and employers will be on to a winner. Get it wrong and it’ll surely be the death knell of the firm.

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


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Parts distributor Euro Car Parts (ECP) has acquired 27 former Unipart Automotive branches.

Following negotiations with Unipart’s administrators, Mark Orton, Will Wright and Jonny Marston from KPMG, Euro Car Parts has been able to secure the future of sites across England, Scotland and Wales, taking the ECP network to 194 branches.

Martin Gray, CEO of ECP, commented: “We are delighted to have acquired these 27 branches and may yet acquire more. Over the last few days we have been working hard to identify which locations fit into our growth strategy. We are optimistic that many ex-Unipart employees from these locations will now join Euro Car Parts. We look forward to helping them to continue their aftermarket careers and bring an end to the uncertainty and stress these past weeks have brought them and their families.

“In addition to the site acquisitions, we are also thrilled to announce that last week alone we made offers to over 100 ex-Unipart employees. During the next 12-18 months we will create 1,500 new positions, so I meant it when I said last week that we would go the extra mile to assist them. This proves we are serious about attracting, developing and growing the very best talent within our sector” he concluded.

The 27 locations are as follows:  Acton, Avonmouth, Ayr, Bangor, Bath, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Dundee, Dunfirmline, Elgin, Enfield, Folkestone, Grantham, Guildford, Keighley, Kendal, Llandudno, Loughborough, Newark, Norwich, Perth, Sittingbourne, Sunderland, Swansea, Wigan, Worthing and Wrexham.

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KPMG has been confirmed as the administrator of Unipart Automotive. As reported, the majority of branches will close with immediate effect, with the loss of around 1,300 jobs.

However, 33 sites have been bought by Andrew Page and The Parts Alliance in a deal announced earlier this morning. Branches that remain open and sites that are to close are listed below with the corresponding number of redundancies.

Mark Orton, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Despite intensive efforts over recent weeks, a sale of the whole Unipart Automotive business could not be reached, and a buyer could only be found for 33 of the sites on a going concern basis. Unfortunately, the business had been experiencing financial stress for a number of years, so the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business posed too much risk for most interested parties.

“Our team of employment specialists will be supporting all staff on completing redundancy forms and putting them in touch with job seeker services. We will now be reviewing what options are available for the remainder of the business, such as selling leasehold interests.”

The company also directly supports over 700 independent, owner-operated garages through its Unipart Car Care Centre programme, in addition to having 19 franchisees. These companies fall outside of the administration and will continue to operate as normal.

Branches that remain open as part of the Andrew Page/Parts Alliance deal are as follows:


North East and Yorkshire:

Barnsley (Branch)

Northallerton (Branch)

Sheffield (Distribution Hub and Branch)

Stockton-on-Tees (Distribution Hub and Branch)

North West and Cumbria

Carlisle (Branch)

Lytham St Annes (Branch)

Southport (Branch)*

Warrington (Distribution Hub and Branch)

London and Home Counties

Luton (Branch)

East Anglia

Colchester (Branch)

Felixstowe (Branch)

Great Yarmouth (Branch)

Ipswich (Branch)

Wisbech (Branch)

Kent and Sussex

Chatham (Branch)*

Deal (Branch)*

Dover (Branch)*

Hastings (Branch)*

Greater Manchester and North Wales

Macclesfield (Branch)*

Stockport (Distribution Hub and Branch)

East Midlands and Lincolnshire


Chesterfield (Branch)

Louth (Branch)

Scunthorpe (Branch)


Wales and West

Carmarthen (Branch)*

South West

Barnstaple (Branch)*

Exeter (Distribution Hub and Branch)*

Penryn (Branch)*

Taunton (Branch)*

Tiverton (Branch)*

West Midlands

Shrewsbury (Branch)

Stafford (Branch)

Walsall (Branch)

South Coast and Surrey

Isle of Wight (Branch)

The branches and hubs which have closed with immediate effect, with the corresponding number of staff redundancies, are:

Branch Number of Redundancies
Aberdeen 15
Acton 6
Ashford 7
Avonmouth 27
Aylesbury 5
Ayr 4
Bangor 12
Barrow-In-Furness 4
Basingstoke 6
Bath 5
Bedford 5
Belfast 7
Berwick 4
Bicester 16
Birkenhead 6
Birmingham 12
Birmingham South 19
Bishops Stortford 6
Bletchley 5
Bolton 6
Boston 9
Bournemouth 12
Bradford 11
Brierley Hill 7
Bristol 13
Burton on Trent 6
Bury St.Edmonds 9
Cambridge 27
Cardiff 14
Carlisle 3
Chard 6
Chelmsford 8
Chester 4
Chichester 6
Coventry 9
Crawley 10
Crewe 7
Croydon 11
Dagenham 6
Derby 9
Dundee 9
Dunfermline 5
Durham 11
Eastbourne 7
Edinburgh 8
Elgin 9
Enfield 12
Falkirk 17
Fareham 21
Field Based 32
Folkestone 7
Frome 7
Glasgow 11
Gloucester 12
Grantham 3
Grimsby 4
Guildford 12
Hamilton 4
Harrogate 5
Hayes 4
Head Office – Birmingham 35
Head Office – Bicester 40
Hereford 9
High Wycombe 4
Hove 7
Hub – East Anglia ( 3
Hub – East Midlands 3
Hub – Greater Manchester 1
Hub – London and Essex 3
Hub – North East 2
Hub – North Wales 2
Hub – North West 2
Hub – Scotland 4
Hub – South Coast 3
Hub – South East 3
Hub – South West 4
Hub – Thames Valley 1
Hub – Wales and West 3
Hub – West Midlands 4
Hub – Yorkshire 1
Hull 10
Inverness 7
Keighley 4
Kendal 4
Kidderminster 5
Kilmarnock 5
Kingston Upon Thames 7
Kirkcaldy 7
Leeds 9
Leicester 11
Lincoln 5
Liverpool 8
Llandudno 13
Llanelli 5
Loughborough 4
Lowestoft 10
Luton 1
Maidstone 27
Maldon 5
Mansfield 11
Morecambe 4
Newark 14
Newbury 5
Newcastle 14
Newhaven 4
Newport 7
Newton Abbott 5
Northampton 7
Norwich 12
Nottingham 10
Oldham 5
Oxford 2
Peckham 3
Perth 6
Peterborough 4
Plymouth 14
Porthmadog 7
Portsmouth 9
Preston 9
Ramsgate 13
Rayleigh 13
Reading 5
Redditch 4
Salford 12
Salisbury 5
Sittingbourne 6
Slough 5
Southampton 14
St Albans 8
Staples Corner 6
Stoke 8
Sunderland 7
Swansea 7
Swindon 9
Torquay 7
Tottenham 20
Trealaw 6
Truro 5
Wakefield 5
Watford 6
West Bromwich 2
Weston Super Mare 7
Weymouth 11
Wigan 8
Wolverhampton 8
Woolwich 11
Worcester 8
Worthing 4
Wrexham 7
Yeovil 8
York 8

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (1)


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Car parts giant Unipart Automotive will appoint administrators this morning, with predicted job losses estimated to be between 1,200 and 1,300.

CAT understands that KPMG are to be in charge of winding the company up. Attempts to find a buyer for the whole company over the past two weeks have failed. However, Andrew Page in a joint deal with The Parts Alliance to save 33 branches and around 350 related jobs from the former group.

We’ll bring you more news as it breaks.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (7)


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A report in The Daily Telegraph suggests that struggling component supplier Unipart Automotive may be acquired by LKQ Corp – the US-based firm behind Euro Car Parts.

A spokesman at ECP declined to comment.

The newspaper also linked a possible rescue package with Better Capital – a business turnaround fund. Better Capital has been responsible for the buyout of the UK division of Reader’s Digest magazine and for obtaining Fairline Boats in 2011. However, he may be best known to CAT readers as the man behind Alchemy Partners’ unsuccessful bid to buy MG Rover in 2000. The company ultimately went to the Phoenix Consortium.

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