Tag Archive | "Workshops"

HELLA WORKSHOP CALENDAR COMPETITION 2019

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HELLA WORKSHOP CALENDAR COMPETITION 2019


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA

HELLA is looking for workshops that have ‘something special’ to feature in the company’s 2019 “Experts At Work” calendar to celebrate the dedication and commitment that technicians make to the industry globally.

HELLA, a world renowned manufacturer of automotive components and lighting solutions, is giving workshops the opportunity to enter the competition to show what makes their business extraordinary. Whether it is a team of excellent employees, working with exceptional cars or perhaps it’s in the most unusual location – HELLA wants to hear from you!

To enter, workshops simply need to send in a few photos that really showcase their premises or what makes it different, along with a short description of why they have got what it takes to be featured in the calendar.
The winners will receive a range of top quality prizes including an exclusive photo shoot by a professional photographer, as well as the international “Experts At Work” award from HELLA, with their pictures used in the calendar, which will be distributed worldwide. Last, but by no means least, the winners will also receive a fantastic package worth almost £500 for their workshops.

The competition is underway, but closes on 6th November 2017, so don’t delay, apply today! https://www.hella-contest.com/en

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KEEPING TECHNICIANS AHEAD OF THE CURVE

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KEEPING TECHNICIANS AHEAD OF THE CURVE


Keith Stead explains how The MOT Training Centre is going from strength-to-strength since opening its doors 10 months ago.

Refurbished centre offers MOT training

The MOT Training Centre was once a dedicated workshop for Stamford College students up until two years ago, when it was replaced with a new facility. This left the old workshop building looking for a new use.

The eureka moment to open a training centre was prompted by a former tutor who worked with the college to get an MOT training centre off the ground. This led to the appointment of Keith Stead, who was brought in to manage the day-to-day operations due to his 20 years of knowledge and expertise in the automotive industry. “My experience covers vehicle electrics, MOT, air conditioning as well as MOT management work overseas”, Stead recalled.

The first thing you need to know about the centre is that it is separate from the college, albeit on the same premises. “We are completely stand- alone”, said Stead. “We only deal with the industry. Although this business was established on behalf of the college, we have no students coming here until they’re qualified and in full-time employment”, adding that the courses are for technicians ready to build on their skills for their careers.

COURSES AND STRUCTURE
There is a range of courses that garages can take advantage of. This includes the MOT Training for Light Vehicle and Motorcycle Testers courses as well as an MOT Training for Managers programme of which are all IMI accredited. There is also air-con DEFRA training and CPD for existing testers.

The courses are usually run in groups of four, which has proved more effective compared to running sessions with larger quantities of candidates, according to Stead. “We run a maximum of four people per course. This is because it’s easier to bond, ask questions and each technician can have their individual time with our trainers”, he continued. “For us, it’s not about how many people we can squeeze into a class, it is more for the longevity, keeping our prices and classroom sizes lower, and it isn’t about how fast we can make money. We’d rather have constant bookings because some people are shocked at what some places are changing”.

WORKSHOP LAYOUT
To make sure all amenities are available, the building contains a large workshop area comprising of an MOT bay, one ramp and lane setter, designed for class four and seven vehicles as well as catering to class one and two motorcycles. Technicians also have access to a mixed bag of diagnostic tools and vehicles to practice on, as Stead points out. “We have diesel and petrol vehicles from a variety of ages so they have the choice of using old marques or modern ones including Volvos and Renaults”.

In addition to the workshop space, the premises has a classroom and computer area for the theory aspect of each course, and being DV8 accredited means delegates can sit their exams on site while being assessed by a member of the DVSA during their final practical.

BUSINESS PLANS
A Hybrid course has recently been introduced that the firm is currently promoting to its trade customers. The business has also attracted interest from nearby dealerships.

With around 26,000 MOT garages operating across the UK, the firm will certainly not fall short of testers to train as they gear up the next generation of technicians making their mark on the industry.

 

The MOT Training Centre
Drift Road, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 1XA
01780 484332

bookings@mottrainingcentre.co.uk

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STAGE IS SET FOR AUTOMECHANIKA SHANGHAI

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STAGE IS SET FOR AUTOMECHANIKA SHANGHAI


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTOMECHANIKA SHANGHAI

Asia’s automotive industry is undergoing rapid technological changes, thanks to the world’s ever-growing consumer demand for new energy vehicles, faster workshop speeds, increased customisation options and improved in-car technologies. Many of the region’s aftermarket enterprises are subsequently looking for a more technological edge, more environmentally friendly products and processes, and superior repair and management standards.

This opportunity is already being brought to life at Automechanika Shanghai, Asia’s largest trade fair dedicated to the global automotive service industry. This year, the fair will welcome around 6,000 exhibitors and 130,000 visitors, and is also expected to house some of the latest advancements from both the global and domestic automotive industries.

Take for example Astrace, a Chinese glass window film and paint developer which has various brands within the aftermarket sector. The company is exhibiting for the first time at Automechanika Shanghai 2017, with the goal of expanding into some of Asia’s most promising regions.

Mr Kris Yang, Manager of International Business at Astrace, explains how Asia has a huge role to play in the sector’s future growth: “Our operations are already very well established in China, and like many other players in the aftermarket sector, we’re looking to broaden our horizons to the likes of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. These regions are all experiencing a growing presence in the sector, and with the help of Automechanika Shanghai we’re hoping to capitalise on this growth.”

“Asia’s aftermarket industry, and its film sector in particular, is experiencing more and more developments in the likes of heat blocking, UV protection, reflectivity and safety. What’s more, the industry is looking to take these innovations a step further by adding even more value for consumers. This includes the likes of films which can harvest energy to power cars, and intelligent glass displays which can display information to passengers, for instance.” Mr Yang added.

Similarly, fellow exhibiting business KYB, a shock absorber manufacturer, says that the Asian market, and China in particular, is constantly demanding a higher level of technical products and expertise. “Thanks to the growing consumer need for smarter vehicles and electric cars, China is looking to continually grow in terms of design, research, development and component manufacturing,” says Mr Lijun Fu, Deputy General Manager of Marketing at KYB Trading (Shanghai).

Explaining how this can be a big opportunity for exhibitors at the fair, Mr Fu added: “For us players in the aftermarket sector, this is good news because it boosts and diversifies the demand for parts, components, repair and maintenance. Thanks to this demand, we’re exploring more advanced technologies. Our electronic automobile suspension system, for example, can lower a car’s body when it stops, and lift it up again when the engine starts. It can also adjust the suspension system based on road conditions – which can even be done through in-car control and mobile apps.”

Another company looking to take advantage of this trend is adhesives business Henkel, who says that Asia’s growing numbers in terms of car sales and ownership is also an attractive prospect for the sector. “Compared to the overseas market, the growth momentum in the Asian auto industry appears to be more obvious, with car ownership in China alone surpassing 200 million in March 2017,” says Mr Shaohua Fang, APAC Vehicle Repair & Maintenance Business Director for Henkel.

“Thanks to this, as well as the growing expectation for higher quality and improved service, the aftermarket sector in the region expects a 30% year-on-year growth in the coming years, becoming a trillion dollar industry by end of 2018,” Mr Fang added. He expressed how Automechanika Shanghai is an “ideal platform” for businesses to keep abreast of these trends and to gain stronger positions in the region.

Industry players look to magnify environmental awareness

The shift towards new energy and improved service in Asia’s auto industry is also part of a bigger market trend in environmental awareness. With new energy vehicles in China expected to represent at least one fifth of car sales by 2025, a growing number of industry sectors are looking to improve their carbon footprint – including many key players in the aftermarket business.

Eneos, a Japanese oil and lubricant manufacturer, says Asia’s role in providing a more sustainable industry is immeasurable. “In terms of automotive lubricants, things like pollution control and low carbon emissions are some of the key development trends in what is such a prosperous region,” says Mr Yukiyoshi Takahashi, Director & President at the JX Nippon Oil & Energy brand by Eneos.

The company says that consequently, regulations on exhaust emissions are expected to become even stricter in the region, along with increased requirements on environmental protection. Many exhibitors at the fair are already adapting to this shift in focus for the industry.

“ENEOS has been committed to introducing an environmentally friendly and low viscosity ‘0W-20’ motor oil, which can increase performance by 2% – 3%. For a car driving 50,000 km per year, this can save around RMB 1,000 in fuel costs,” says Mr Takahashi.

“It also greatly reduces engine friction, so that the engine can maintain a stable and efficient movement. This helps reduce the risk of engine failure and prolong the repair period. We firmly believe that these types of products, which offer both high quality and fuel efficiency, will draw more and more attention to environmental awareness at Automechanika Shanghai this year.”

Keeping in line with exhibitors looking to showcase their sustainability credentials is coating supplier Oerlikon Balzers. The company says its coating technologies on display during the course of Automechanika Shanghai can help improve energy consumption levels and the overall performance of vehicles, as well as reduce wear and friction for parts. Visitors to the fair can witness a range of Oerlikon’s new coating solutions for ABS and ESP systems, which assist in reducing environmental impact.

Ms Fiona Chiew, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, says this aspect of the automotive sector has become one of the most important parts of the fair in recent years. “It’s exciting to see so many of our exhibitors looking to promote their work in creating a greener industry, particularly considering the growing environmental concerns in Asia. When these businesses are developing more and more technological advancements for the automotive sector, it’s important that they’re doing it in a responsible way.”

Automechanika Shanghai will take place from 29 November – 2 December at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai. With over 130,000 visitors and 6,000 exhibitors, this year will see the fair expanded to 330,000sqm. A new REIFEN zone will showcase the very latest tyre, wheel and rim products, while upgrades to the E-mobility & Infrastructure zone will see an even stronger focus on electronics, systems, and future solutions.

A number of key industry players, including Autoyong, ADAYO, Astrace, CARZONE, Eneos, Fangxing Rubber, Fleetguard, Fuchs, Henkel, Huitian, Isuzu, Linglong, NEXTEV, SINOTRUK, TEN-D Energies and Zhengao Auto will participate at the fair for the first time. Meanwhile, exhibitors returning to the show include the likes of ACDelco, Asia-Pacific Electrical, BAIC, BASF, Bullsone, China Changan, Continental Automotive, ContiTech, CRRC, Cummins, Dayco, DENSO, Interstate Batteries, Launch, MA-FRA, Mahle, MANN+HUMMEL, Mobiletron, MOTUL, SATA, Schaeffler, SINOTRUK, SK, Snap-on, SONAX, Valeo, Valvoline, VIE and ZF.

For more information about the show, please visit www.automechanika-shanghai.com or contact Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, +852 2802 7728 / auto@hongkong.messefrankfurt.com .

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT


The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published its 2017 annual review, which highlights changes to the MOT testing service and the association’s actions on tackling claims relating to MOT fraud.

According to the report, 511 garages and 483 testers were investigated by the organisation from last year while 45 garages and 111 testers have been stopped testing altogether. A statement from the review said: “With some of these cases there were administrative errors, the more serious cases involved testers who’d issued MOT certificates without actually testing the vehicle. In the most severe cases we took the testers to court, and some received prison sentences”.

In addition, the report outlines 25 new improvements for the MOT testing service with the integration of technical information made readily available for vehicles so testers can carry out the mandatory procedures correctly while being able to identify and remove any defects before retesting.

The agency will continue clamping down on illegal MOT activities within the trade and is in the process of developing an MOT Reminder service for motorists; encouraging them to get their vehicles serviced on time. The statement concluded. “We’re going to look at using new technology to provide streamlined processes for our commercial vehicle testing service. We want to improve our testers’ access to vehicle information at the time of testing, and capture and produce test results digitally. We also aim to improve the service to our customers by simplifying the current payment process, making it easier for them to make payments and view their account in real time”.

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TYRE DEALERS URGED TO CAPITALISE ON ‘BUDGET’ TYRE PRICE INCREASE

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TYRE DEALERS URGED TO CAPITALISE ON ‘BUDGET’ TYRE PRICE INCREASE


 

Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS) is urging tyre retailers to take advantage of unstable pricing at the budget end of the market and upsell mid-range tyres to offer consumers better value and maximise their margins.

The combination of rising raw material costs, Chinese pollution regulations and Brexit- fuelled exchange rate fluctuations have created a perfect storm for the budget sector. In recent months, budget tyre prices have been rising disproportionately compared with the mid-range and premium sectors, significantly reducing the cost price differential between typical budget and superior mid-range tyres in the same size.

Alan Baldwin, MTS Sales Director, comments: “With the difference between a budget and mid-range tyre now less than a fiver, it’s time for tyre retailers with a ‘that’s all my customers can afford’ attitude on price to change tack. With prices now so close, there really is a fantastic opportunity to offer a significantly better alternative for a negligible additional outlay. By doing so, garages are not only providing their customers with better quality tyres, but also improving their own profitability.”

Post-recession, the appeal of a Chinese budget tyre from a consumer point of view was clear; cheap raw materials, few regulations in Chinese factories and a favourable exchange rate meant budget tyres were often up to half the price of a mid- range alternative. With few consumers fully understanding the importance of their tyres,
the cheapest option is often the default choice, especially when that’s what the garage is recommending.

Baldwin continues: “Drivers are interested in their safety, longevity and quality but have become fixated by the cheapest option and too many retailers have become conditioned to appeasing this demand. With the price barrier all but removed, selling the benefit of a better quality tyres should now be a much easier conversation for retailers to have and customer retention is always going to be higher from giving the driver better value and a recognised brand.”

Confusingly, the increasing cost of a budget tyre has led some budget brands to position themselves as mid-range. Alan Baldwin suggests the simplest way to distinguish mid-range from budget is: “If it hasn’t got OE; it’s budget. Any tyre manufacturer that doesn’t produce OE tyres for major car marques is not mid-range.”

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DIAGNOSING AND FIXING FAULTS FIRST TIME AROUND

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DIAGNOSING AND FIXING FAULTS FIRST TIME AROUND


Dinos Christoforou takes us around his family-run garage business, ‘Spiros Motors’ in North West London.

Ex-F1 technician, Spiros Christoforou, opened his garage business in North West London 35 years ago, and has enjoyed steady growth ever since. “We have got contracts with HR Owen Sports Car, which means we get a lot of prestige sports cars coming through from the dealership” said Spiros’s son Dinos – who is also a master technician at the firm. “This includes Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati. We have our own USP of fast cars that we service on a regular basis”.

While some garages have been known to still use older diagnostics, coupled with the newer technologies coming into the market, technicians should be regularly updating their skills both in terms of equipment and training, according to Dinos. “It’s hard to stay up-to-date in this industry because everything is changing” he said. “If you don’t keep up then you will start falling behind and I think many garages find it difficult because they’re always trying to cut down their prices”, adding that his staff are fully up-to-speed with tooling, training and the technical know-how to repair these models correctly.

WORKSHOP LAYOUT
This was evident from the workshop layout, which has a new automatic tester lane (ATL) installed for MOT on the right hand side with five dedicated service ramps lined up on the left. The site also contains an engine room as well as a dedicated car park space outback, which Dinos notes, is the only independent to possess one in the Park Royal area. With a handful of garage networks operating in close proximity and JT Car Repairs next door, we were curious to find out if this has impacted business. Dinos said. “There are around eight to 10 local garages in this area but we’re all in different leagues with one another so there is no cross over or competition between us”.

DIAGNOSTICS
Being a diagnostic specialist for most car models, means the team is well equipped for whatever enters the ramp. For troubleshooting and detecting fault codes, Spiros technicians will use Launch UK diagnostics and for more complex issues, the Autologic or Bosch KTS tool is the preferred unit of choice. Being a Bosch Car Service member also has its perks, according to Dinos, which is noticeable in the foyer area where many Bosch training qualifications are framed and hanging on the walls. “The Bosch training is world class”, he said, “They provide us with training from diagnostics up to service and master level technician”, adding that himself and his uncle are the two qualified master technicians on site.

Workshop contains five service ramps

SERVICES
To say the garage only conducts MOT and general repairs would be an understatement as there are many other services within its remit including air conditioning, bodyshop repair and fitting AlloyGators, which we were lucky enough to see Dinos fit to a BMW Z3 fresh off the track. Explaining his reasons for offering this service, he said. “It started with my mother who had a Porsche Carrera. She kept hitting the kerb and had to change her tyres nearly every two to three months as a result. They should normally last up to 12,000 miles on that vehicle.” He adds. “We told her to get rid of the car because it’s costing thousands on tyres a year, but someone from the racing community suggested AlloyGators and we have been impressed with them ever since”.

However, after fitting AlloyGators for nearly 10 years now, the master technician has found a number of fitment errors among some tyre fitting centres. He elaborates. “I have found people have failure of alloys because they have gone to a tyre fitment centre, where they have pumped up the tyre, handed back the keys but haven’t gone back around them for the final fitment”. Dinos makes sure that every AlloyGator fitted has ‘sunk in’ properly by applying pressure with a rubber mallet around the wheel, once they’ve been trimmed and fitted accordingly.

Although there’s been discussions between Spiros and his son about opening a second garage, they have decided to put it on the back-burner for now due to the growing demand of vehicles entering its current site as Dinos points out. “The way our business operates, it’s very hard to open a second garage because me and my father are hands on. Every job that goes through the garage, goes through us so we will carry out the quality controls and road test the vehicles when jobs have been completed”. He concluded. “It’s difficult to expand for these reasons however, we want to continue providing that high level of service and be there for our customers”.

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KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES


With so many diagnostic tools available, when is the right time to upgrade? 

Nowadays with advanced vehicle technology, diagnostic tools have become an essential
piece of kit for garages whether the job involves re-f lashing ECUs to pulling out fault codes However, with the wide range of products and updates on the market, are workshops keeping their tools in check?

TOOLING UP
“There’s a lot more realisation now with anyone possessing old kit that they’ve got to look into upgrading” said Dave Richards, Managing Director at Launch UK. “The older kit predates the electronic park brakes where service resets were just a part in the dashboard. But on a Range Rover, it’s a programming function where you have to re-program five ECUs to reset all the service lights.” Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi, points out that there are some older devices being used by technicians. He says, “There are still old and out-of-date tools out there, however, with the coverage we provide, that is dependant on the workshops updating to the latest software”, adding that the firm is continually stressing the importance of using modern units to trade customers.

HGS Mega Macs tool

From a tyre dealer perspective, Colin Webb, MD at TPMS firm Bartec Auto ID, advises technicians to consistently update their diagnostic equipment and software, due to the ongoing growth of new passenger cars and sensors making their way off factory lines. “The market is moving very quickly so tyre shop technicians need to have their tools updated as soon any new car comes onto the roads, otherwise, they will have trouble repairing the next car coming over the threshold”, highlighting that this could incur loss of business to OE franchise dealerships.

PRICE DRIVEN
Neil Hilton, Head of Business Development at Hella Gutmann Solutions, notes that many technicians are driven by price when it comes to upgrading their toolbox and do not necessarily understand the differentiations and benefits between what a budget and a premium tool can bring to the workshop. A challenge the firm is consistently educating garages and bodyshops about, as Hilton explains. “The comparison is you pay a little extra and buy a better quality machine that has more capabilities from day one and also has a longer lifetime”. He continued. “A customer who buys price driven compared to a customer who buys one of our HGS devices, the HGS customer has spent less in the long term because he’s purchased a machine that’s seen him through five years plus whereas the alternative customer has brought two or three more in that space of time and had less coverage”.

Delphi’s Julian Goulding agrees and expands: “There are still some technicians driven on price and this feeds through to diagnostics. What we try to stress to people is look at return on investment, what price you pay and the capabilities it gives you across a wide range of vehicles”. Similarly, Bartec’s Colin Webb says the firm has developed a method to take the hassle out of reminding tyre technicians and fast fit centres through regular wifi updates. He explains more. “We offer wifi updates so the technician doesn’t have to remember to do the update so they will always be ahead”. He elaborates, “The TECH500 is our latest tool containing wifi and software updating on it as well as wireless charging”, adding that the gadget also allows users to detect vehicle faults and re-program universal sensors on a range of vehicle models.

BUYING TRENDS
Launch UK’s David Richards said the firm has spotted a buying pattern between technicians who are keen to upgrade their apparatus. Speaking about his findings, he said. “One of the trends which we are trying to address is that technicians are wanting to up their game but don’t want to wait around for the boss’s tool. Most of those guys are not looking to spend £2,500 so we have products in the £500 to £1,000 range, which are affordable for them because they’ll usually spend around £500 on a set of spanners”. He continued, saying, “We’re already seeing some cases where you almost get the tablet for free but you’re committed to five years of software updates. Launch UK doesn’t operate like that and instead, offers two years free software for the customer”.

Launch UK’s X-431 PRO 3

ADAS DIAGNOSTICS
It’s all well and good having a unit that performs general diagnostics, but garages may struggle if the system can’t detect faults on ADAS systems, according to Hilton, who says many workshops are unaware of the business implications this could cause in the future. “Through our ADAS awareness seminars, it is clear from the shocked faces that most of the workshops, bodyshops and to an extent, glass companies, are still not aware of these systems on the vehicles they’re working on and the risks it poses to their business by not carrying out the correct processes or procedures”. He concluded. “All of our HGS Mega Macs equipment is capable of calibrating ADAS systems (some vehicles require additional hardware). We also offer a diagnostic tool that is purchased as a standard tool but also incorporates the required software at no extra cost to have the capability to calibrate ADAS vehicles”.

Although suppliers seem to hold a certain level of responsibility to encourage workshops to keep up with the times, it is crucial in this day and age for technicians to take charge by familiarising themselves with not only the diagnostics and software available, but not allow pricing to get in with the way of potential ROI opportunities.

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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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WHICH INDUCTION HEATER DO I NEED?

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WHICH INDUCTION HEATER DO I NEED?


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF INDUCTION INNOVATIONS

Induction heaters use magnetic flux to quickly heat ferrous metal and some aluminium parts, but which one is right for your application?

Our portable induction heater, the Mini-Ductor® Venom™, uses 1,000 watts of power, so when you do you need 2,000 watts of power provided by the Inductor® Pro-Max™?

To answer these questions, we’ve developed this handy guide to give you clarity.

Induction Heating Applications

The entire line of induction heaters from Induction Innovations® is ideal for removing parts that are corroded, rusted on, stuck on with adhesives or threadlock compound, or are otherwise sealed. Some examples:

• Agricultural & Farming Equipment (e.g. combines): Inductor Series
• Bonded Trim: Inductor Series with the Fast-Off Pad
• Brake Bleeder Nuts Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• CNC Machine Repair (spindles, rotary tables, nuts, bolts, etc.): Mini-Ductor Venom
• Corroded Exhaust Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Door Skin Removal: Inductor Series with the Fast-Off Pad
• Exhaust Manifold Bolt Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Flywheel Bolt Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Graphics Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Inline Connector Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Lug & Wheel Nut Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• O2 Sensor Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Rusted Nut Removal Near Fuel Lines: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Seatbelt Bolt Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Soft Dent Removal: Inductor Series with Concentrator attachment
• Spray-On Bedliner Removal: Inductor Series with Concentrator attachment
• Steering Bolt Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Tie Rod End Steering Nut Removal: Mini-Ductor Venom
• Trucks or Heavy Duty Equipment (including king pins): Inductor Series
• Windshield Removal: Inductor Series with Glass Blaster attachment

The thickness and type of ferrous metal determines how much wattage is needed to heat the part. For removing parts in the application below, more than 2,000 watts may be needed. This where the Pro-Max™ tool is ideal:

• Aerospace
• Construction
• Marine
• Military
• Rail

PROMAX Kit

Additionally, induction heating can be used to harden automotive parts to decrease wear and increase their lifespan. It can also be used to expand bearings so they can be mounted on an axle or other type of rod. These applications require either a service, hot plate or more sophisticated induction heating equipment.

Need help?

If you need to remove ferrous metal parts and still aren’t sure what you need, contact us and we’ll point you in the right direction.

12 month’s interest free on purchases over £500

To help spread the cost of your Inductor order, you can now receive 12 month’s interest free credit on purchases over £500. For more information, please call 01953 859138 or email info@theinductor.co.uk or visit www.theinductor.co.uk

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EURO REPAR PLANS 600 UK WORKSHOPS

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EURO REPAR PLANS 600 UK WORKSHOPS


The PSA Groupe’s Euro Repar garage network is to expand across the UK.

Colin Start, Head of Marketing for Parts & Service for the PSA Groupe told CAT that there were bullish plans to open 600 centres over the coming years. The first of these will be in spare bays of existing Peugeot/Citroen franchises but the plan is to extend the network on a ‘soft franchise’ basis across independent garages.

“Ours is a proposition unlike any other in the UK, with a partnership approach that has deliberately kept the cost and complexity of entry very low: garages are not even required to change their name” Start said.

Requirements for membership are minimal with two manned ramps and a separate reception are the main points, although there will be a minimum spend amount on PSA’s new line of aftermarket parts which are set for introduction later in 2017. These will be supplied through 28 parts distributors that have signed as partners. These Distributors are all located within easy reach of the new network the company is looking to enrol.

Smart adds: “Euro Repar Car Service has built a reputation on consistent standards, transparent pricing, local convenience and especially, trust. We are seeking to work with forward-looking owners who not only share these values, but who are prepared to take the next step and benefit from the huge experience and support we can offer – being part of a growing network with national and international, business and marketing support.”

The first outlets are set to open later in the year and Start’s team are looking to meet perspective garage owners at the upcoming Automechanika Birmingham exhibition.

Posted in Blogs, Garage News, News, UncategorisedComments (0)

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