Friday, 9 March 2018
Automotive recycling technicians will soon need to be trained, accredited and participate in continual professional development if a new bill gains royal assent.
The UK government wants to show that the UK is a leader in automated and advanced vehicles to bring inward investment into the country. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill looks at the latest vehicle technology, how it will impact vehicle use and the changes in legislation that need to be made to accommodate these vehicles into normal use.
One amendment that has been proposed as part of the bill is a Licensing and Accreditation scheme for all technicians working on automated and electric vehicles.
The amendment states that the bill must determine which professional body will operate the licensing and accreditation scheme, how the scheme will operate, the minimum level of training required and continual professional development.
The impact of this amendment would be that everyone working on a high voltage vehicle must be trained and accredited - a necessary precaution given the dangers involved with these vehicles - and this will have implications for the vehicle recycling industry.
If this bill does come into UK legislation with this amendment included vehicle recyclers will have to train their technicians and dismantlers to a specific level of competence, maintain their continuing professional development and support their technicians to become members of the professional body that operates the scheme. As a rough estimate, the initial 2-day training course could cost as much as £1500 per technician (when the cost of taking a key employee out of the business for the 2 days is included), and up to £300 per year for membership of the professional body and ongoing CPD, and most automotive recyclers will need to train at least two technicians for each yard - this is not an insignificant cost!
Salvage Wire will be monitoring the progress of the bill and will provide regular updates to the vehicle recycling industry.
The Safe Handling of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles training course is a one-day, WAMITAB Accredited high voltage awareness course for all automotive recyclers, designed to protect you, your staff and your business when collecting, storing and dismantling an electric or hybrid vehicle. For more details check out www.salvagewire.com and contact Salvage Wire for available dates and costs.
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Helping Automotive Recyclers Become Leaders in their Industry
What is a Mastermind Group?
A Mastermind Group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members achieve their goals, create concepts, discuss ideas and solve their problems, with input and advice from the other group members.
There is synergy of energy, commitment, and excitement that participants bring to a Mastermind Group. The beauty of Mastermind Groups is that participants raise the bar by challenging each other to create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect, compassion and confidentiality; they become stronger individuals as they contribute and share; take and learn. Consider how much faster businesses can grow when they use a mastermind (or peer benchmarking) group when compared to businesses that innovate in isolation.
In a Mastermind Group, the agenda belongs to the group, and each person’s participation is key. Peers give feedback, help brainstorm new possibilities, and set up accountability structures that keep everyone focused and on track. A mastermind group is a community of supportive colleagues who will brainstorm together to move the group to new heights.
The concept of the Mastermind Group was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900's. In his timeless classic, "Think And Grow Rich" he wrote about the Mastermind principle as:
"The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony,” and he continued….
"No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind."
What Do Participants Get From It?
• Solutions and ideas, which come from brainstorming with the group
• Tap into the experience and skills of others, including the Facilitator
• Increased confidence that members have made the right decisions and are taking the right actions to achieve their goals
• Accountability and real progress in participants business and personal life
• An instant and valuable support network
• A sense of shared endeavour - there are others out there!
• A boost to everyday positive mental attitude
Who Should Attend a Mastermind Group?
• are leading, managing or running automotive recycling businesses.
• have a similar skill and/or success level
• have the desire and inspiration to make this year extraordinary
• want a supportive team of Mastermind partners
• want to reach or exceed their goals
• are ready to let their desire to be passionate about their life and work overcome their fear of change
• are willing to commit to the change required to grow, and willing to commit to the mastermind group members
How Does It Work?
The Salvage Leader Mastermind Group will meet in person twice a year, monthly through video or telephone conference, and access to a private Facebook group.
All conversations and discussions are confidential to the group, so participants are able to freely discuss ideas, concepts, goals, issues and concerns, and receive support, help, advice and input with the confidence that what has been discussed stays in the group.
There will be a monthly cost of £99 for each member of the group, for this they gain access to the group, training and development resources, monthly video conference, access to the facebook group and the twice yearly in-person meeting.
For more details, contact Salvage Wire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 22 February 2018
Helping vehicle recyclers become leaders in their industry
Salvage Wire are pleased to produce a generic power down process for high voltage electric and hybrid vehicles.
It’s always best to follow the OEM’s unique power down procedure when working on the HV system on any HEV or EV. However, below is a very thorough and safe method that will work with most HEV/EV vehicles.
1. Turn off ignition/press “Power” ignition button.
This will of course turn off vehicle and make the IP’s instrumentation go dark.
2. Remove the 12-volt (auxiliary) battery ground cable.
This will keep the vehicle’s low voltage system from powering back up. It is important to do this AFTER the ignition has been switched off. The DC-DC converter (doing the job of a conventional alternator to supply 14 volts) will work to power all the 12-volt components on the vehicle including the Hybrid ECUs that control HV operations such as keeping HV battery pack main relays closed. Even if the I.C.E. is not running, a powered up HEV will produce 14 volts with or without a 12-volt battery connected.
3. While wearing class 0/1,000 volt safety gloves, remove the vehicle’s HV battery pack service plug.
On Honda and GM intermediate voltage B.A.S. systems, a switch must be turned to the “OFF” position to achieve the same condition as removing the service plug on other HEVs/EVs.
4. Wait 10 Minutes Before Proceeding with R&R.
The 10 minute wait is for the vehicle’s HV capacitors to bleed down in case the normal capacitor discharge circuits are not functional.
HEV High voltage capacitors can have enough current to cause injury or death should they discharge while you are servicing a Hybrid. The capacitors are connected in parallel and typically are located in the area of the power inverter. NEVER attempt to discharge one of these capacitors in the service bay. Electrical shock and burns may result.
5. While wearing class 0/1,000 volt safety gloves check for High Voltage.
Remove any cover/panel required to access the HV electrical component (i.e. the HV battery pack) connections. Using a CAT III/1,000 volt meter, test for any DC voltage between the two orange HV DC cables.
Note: Automotive HV systems DO NOT use a chassis ground or earth ground as with residential/industrial electrical systems. Place your digital multimeter’s (a.k.a. voltmeter or DMM) leads across each of the 2 high voltage DC cables. Any voltage less than 12 volts is considered safe. On the battery itself, perform the voltage test between the positive and negative orange cables on BOTH sides of the battery pack’s main relays. The side of the relays that connects to the orange cables that exit the HV battery pack should have no voltage if the main relays are not stuck shut. The other side of the main relays should also
be dead IF the service plug/switch was successfully removed/switched off.
HV battery packs, regardless of their design and construction with their HV service plugs removed/switches turn to “OFF” will STILL contain high enough voltages within them to cause serious injury or death. Service plugs/switches ONLY cut the internal voltage of a HV battery pack in half. This means on most HEVs/EVs half of their normal voltage (330, 300, 271, 201, 144, etc.) is STILL over the 60 volt spec. for an electrical safety concern.
6. Perform required removal/replacement of HV components being salvaged or serviced.
Note: With the exception of the HV battery pack, hot and cumbersome class 0 safety gloves do NOT have to be worn at this time. Regular mechanic’s gloves (or bare hands) may be used to perform the remaining procedures of part removal. However, if the battery pack is being serviced/removed from the vehicle, class 0/1,000 volt gloves are still recommended due to the electrical energy still remaining in the HV battery pack.
After a HV service plug is removed, place it in a secure place to prevent someone from reinserting it into the HV battery pack. After the HV battery pack has been removed from the vehicle to be stored — made available for resale or remanufactured by a rebuilder — apply heavy duty tape across the service plug’s connector opening and tape/tie the service plug to the other end of the battery pack. These steps will help prevent the plug from being reinserted into the connection by an untrained person and help prevent the service plug from being lost or damaged during shipping.
Service plugs can be very expensive on certain HEVs/EVs.
For more details, or to book a place on our WAMITAB accredited Safe Handling of Electric and Hybrid Vehicle training course that has been specifically designed for the vehicle recycling industry then please contact Salvage Wire via the website www.salvagewire.com
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Teaching and training vehicle recyclers how to safely handle and dismantle high voltage vehicles is one thing, but how different is every day driving when you run one of these vehicles, how does it change your driving style and journey planning? I have just reached two and a half years of ownership of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Let me answer the major question first - would I purchase another plug-in hybrid vehicle? Yes, absolutely I would.
It is a major regret that we do not have access to the second generation Chevrolet Volt in the UK, if we did, then I would be very near the front of the queue. In the meantime I need to experience some of the newest vehicles over a normal working week to decide which onewill replace my Vauxhall Ampera, and love the look of the new Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi E-Tron, and if these fit my normal use then I will choose one of them!
For years I just jumped into my car and drove to where I wanted to go, done what I wanted and then drove back home, stopping as needed to put petrol or diesel into the tank and food and drink into the driver and passengers, but the last two years of driving a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has changed everything!
One of these vehicles changes how you drive, makes you plan your journey, and alters where you go, and as sales of alternative fuelled vehicle in the UK increased by 34% during 2017 more owners and drivers are having to change how they use their vehicles.
Major benefits of Plug-In Hybrids include:
- Ability to drive short distances on electric power alone, saving a lot of money on the daily commute, shopping trips and children’s taxi rides.
- Pre-heating the cabin whilst plugged into the mains clears windows of ice on cold mornings, reducing risk, and cold hands
- Performance from a standing start is awesome because the electric motors produce instant torque, which means immediate acceleration.
Some of the disadvantages of Plug-In Hybrids are:
- Very high risk of running pedestrians over, especially in car parks, as they do not hear the vehicle
- Not always suitable for high mileage users
- in some vehicles the batteries reduce the amount of luggage space
- Regular battery charging is needed to get best fuel mileage
- Very limited access to qualified technicians who can service or repair the vehicles
- Extremely limited understanding of the risks posed by these vehicles once they reach end of life and are dismantled for parts
My car is a Vauxhall Ampera, the UK version of the Chevrolet Volt. It is a ‘range extender’ vehicle, which means that the vehicle is driven by the electric motors and once the battery has lost power an internal combustion engine then drives a generator that provides power to the vehicle.
As it is an older design it doesn’t have some of the sophisticated systems on much newer vehicles, so it does lack a rapid charging facility which rules out some of the high powered chargers in motorway service stations and some shopping centre car parks.
Unfortunately, GM Europe decided not to import the second generation Volt to Europe so we will not see the advances that GM built into the vehicle.
I love my car, the performance, how it drives, and also how rare the vehicle is - there are only 1265 currently in use on UK roads (howmanyleft.co.uk) which means that it is far rarer than a Ferrari!
It changes how I drive - outstanding performance aside, I am constantly looking ahead and watching what other drivers are doing. The Ampera, in a similar manner to almost all other hybrid and full electric vehicles has regenerative braking. This means that it could be almost a ‘single pedal’ vehicle. Regenerative braking is where the electric motor becomes a generator and whilst slowing the vehicle down puts charge back into the vehicle batteries, so I can manage the speed of the car by using the accelerator and ‘regen’ braking and rarely touch the brake pedal.
So far, I have covered over 80,000 miles and am still on the original brake pads; tyre wear is much decreased and my whole driving style is very smooth. There is one disadvantage however - the rear brakes get used very lightly, and it looks like I will have to replace the rear pads and discs before the fronts purely because they are corroding due to lack of use!
It changes how I plan my journeys - whenever I attend meetings I always ask if there is a plug in charging point at the meeting location, if not, I look on-line to find out if there is a charging point nearby that I can use (the Zap Map app is very useful). Whilst the car is stationary it is not doing anything - if I can use the time to re-charge the car then this gives me an advantage!
It changes where I go, having charge points at hotels is essential and I have been known to change hotel bookings because of the lack of a charge point! Again, this is one of the places where the vehicle stands still so it makes sense to charge it!
At home I have a charge point fitted by Polar, this plugs directly into the car and charges overnight. My electricity supplier also fitted a ‘dual’ meter, so I can charge the vehicle overnight on a rate that is less than 50% of the normal day rate, which means a full charge that gives between 32 and 45 miles of range (weather and season dependent) costs around £1.
My experience with the vehicle recycling community is that they are unprepared for these vehicles and the risks that they carry. Vehicle recyclers can book me to train their staff on the safe handling of electric and hybrid vehicles, and we can also design a bespoke ‘best practice’ document for their business that details all actions required to safely handle these vehicles from initial request to collect right through to dismantling and disposal.
For more details on this and all other services for the vehicle recycling community please take a look at our web site - www.salvagewire.com
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
Vehicles are changing more rapidly now than they have ever changed before, advanced driver assistance systems, advanced vehicle structures, various types of hybrid and full electric vehicles and hydrogen power on the horizon, now is the time for leaders to come to the top of the global vehicle salvage and recycling industry.
Every week we see announcements from vehicle manufacturers about new autonomous technology in their vehicles, light weighting, mild hybrid, full hybrid, electric and more. These vehicles are going to end up in a vehicle recycling yard very soon and vehicle recyclers need to have the knowledge and expertise to deal with them.
Do the drivers collecting these vehicles know how to handle a partly burnt out, or flooded high voltage vehicle? What about storing and dismantling these vehicles, how do you make them safe?
Many salvage vehicles are sold as repairable units and in some cases these vehicles will be repaired by the salvage companies - do they have the expertise to safely and adequately repair the very advanced structures that vehicles are now built of? Ultra High Strength Steel, Aluminium, Carbon Fibre , all require trained, skilled technicians, and access to researched repair methods to ensure adequate repair standards are achieved.
Parts is a different animal altogether; advanced driver assistance systems are adding complexity and cost to vehicle repair, and the possibilities for vehicles recyclers are enormous if they can understand the opportunities available to them.
Some of these items will also need to be calibrated after fitting to ensure correct operation, so in addition to opportunities to sell the costly items highlighted, recyclers that offer a calibration service will be ahead of the competition and able to attract more customers and increase their revenue with these additional services.
All requires more investment in training and equipment, plus a business plan that attracts, rewards and retains the talented people in any business.
Are you the leader who can rise above the current standard by making your business the first choice for employees and customers in your area? Attracting and retaining talented staff is one of your most important attributes as talented staff help your business grow by offering better quality service to your customers, by going the extra mile to achieve sales, by giving your customers the choice to tell their customers, their friends and colleagues all about your company and your talented employees and come back again.
Opportunities are out there for younger people to come into the industry, but they need the leadership, guidance and mentoring that true leaders can give.
For too long this industry has achieved the stereotypical image of poor service, poor quality, ignorant or untrained staff and patchy supply levels; we all want to see this industry rise above that stereotypical image, become professional, quality businesses that supply the insurance, fleet and vehicle repair industries; businesses that have influence in local and national government, have the respect and support of local residents, and set the standards that shows how bad the illegal, unlicensed and un-compliant operators are - this is your time, your opportunity to make a difference and become a salvage leader.
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
‘We want our parts delivered in 1-2 days, maximum, if you can’t do that then we are not going to buy parts from you” a car bodyshop owner told me yesterday.
I hope that this is not the normal working patterns for the UK vehicle repair sector, but if it is then there are problems.
He went on to say that the data from their vehicle estimating system isn’t imported into their bodyshop management system until the vehicle has been stripped out, hence the need for parts to be delivered in 1-2 days because any longer and the repairs on the vehicle will pause due to lack of parts.
My questions here are; how does this repairer plan their work? are they working from day-to-day without knowing what they will be working on tomorrow because they haven't planned it yet?
This is a scary scenario because it doesn't allow them to plan ahead, give accurate completion dates, maximise efficiencies, put the right technician on the right job, plan their courtesy car programme, get the best discounts from their suppliers and more.
Is this the norm for the UK body repair industry? I hope not. I would like to think that the industry is smarter than this, that they are able to plan their work schedules, order parts with the best discounts and margins, and process repairs through their shops with the minimum of delays, at the highest quality and get the jobs finished on time.
In the same conversation the bodyshop owner also stated that some parts are too expensive “I can get a brand new part with no damage for near enough the same price as your green recycled parts”. This is a valid opinion because some UK vehicle recyclers haven't done the maths on customer service.
Bear with me, because there is a serious business case here.
If a brand new part has a retail price of £100 the repairer could expect up to 25% discount from the local dealer giving them a margin of £25.
The price of a green recycled part (an original equipment part that has come off a vehicle of the same age or newer than the one being repaired) has been calculated as follows:
Additional labour £16 (assuming hourly labour rate of £32 per hour)*
Repairers margin £20 (smaller than the brand new part)
The figures above are a real life example, and this is not even a near miss - in this case it was cheaper to purchase a brand new part that gives a bigger margin to the repairer and comes with a full guarantee. This case fails to give any margin to cover extra costs that may be incurred such as additional damage to the green recycled part that needs to be rectified by the repairer before fitment, or a mark up from a parts search company that facilitated the sale of the part.
The greater the retail value of the brand new part the greater the opportunity for significant cost savings through the use of a genuine green recycled part, and if the part doesn’t need a full colour change (panel of the same colour, a lamp or a trim etc.) then the additional labour can be removed from the calculation and increase the savings.
UK vehicle recyclers need to do the simple maths on their parts and delivery pricing so they can show real savings to accident damage work providers and vehicle repairers; prove the case for green recycled parts becoming normal practice for the UK vehicle repair industry and then have the ability to delight and amaze their customers.
*as an example fitting a red painted wing to a white vehicle will result in additional labour to change the colour of 0.5 hours.
Friday, 22 January 2016
Return on investment can be calculated in many different ways, however there is some investment that can be considered priceless, and this could certainly be the case for the eleven UK and Ireland auto recyclers who visited the ARA Convention in Charlotte during October.
Together the group of yard owners, managers and staff along with developers of yard management software invested over $22,000 to visit recycler yards across Virginia and North Carolina, hear from the best trainers and teachers at the Annual Convention and network with the global recycling family; one of the group said that his yard “was going to be very different in nine months time as a direct result of what I have learnt this week”.
Our trip started in Washington DC where some of the group were able to sightsee the capital city; the following day we travelled to M & M Auto Parts in Stafford and Fredericksburg meeting the owners and staff as we toured both their facilities.
This first visit set the tone for the rest of the week’s travels; a very warm welcome awaited us all along with an openness that few expected.
Since 1960 M&M Auto Parts has been a proud family owned and operated recycler and now has over 50 acres and 205,000 square feet of warehouse space.
With the majority of their business being wholesale, they are a full service recycler that dismantle and store parts at both locations and the group were privileged to be given tours of both of these, very different, facilities - one being a sprawling yard with lots of space, the other a large warehouse with limited outdoor storage.
The quality of both sites reflected the owners standards and highlighted to the group how important customer service is to the US auto recycling industry.
Following an overnight stop in Richmond which served as the capital of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War we travelled to Chesterfield Auto Parts.
Chesterfield Auto Parts was formed in the 1930’s and purchased in 1947 by the family who, after three generations, continue to own and run the business.
Chesterfield Auto Parts is a self-service operation and felt very different to the previous visit, with much quicker vehicle turnover, much more customer interaction and an operating style that felt similar to how the majority of UK and Irish yards operate. Again a full tour was given, lots of questions asked and answered with plenty of information to digest at a later time.
Lacy Auto Parts provided yet another perspective on the best that the US has to offer, a business that started in 1940, is now run by the grandson’s of the founder, and recently moved to a large site near Charles City in Virginia. We were all amazed by the expanse of the site, the landscaping out front and that from the road it did not look like an auto recycling facility at all.
This state-of-the-art facility continues the legacy started back in 1940, Lacy Auto Parts are developing new strategies, raising quality and utilising new computerised methods to continue their development and provide the highest quality service for all types of used vehicle parts.
A quick switch of states found the group at an overnight stop in Goldsboro, North Carolina and a visit to Wayne Auto Salvage.
Founded in August 1970 Wayne Auto Salvage are now located on a 25 acre site and they combine a full service and self service yard into one operation with a dismantling and crushing facility separating the two sides of the yard.
Again, a full tour was given to the group where we were able to see vehicles entering, going through and exiting their process. Like all they yards we visited, very efficient, clean, tidy and well run.
Each evening of the trip the whole group could be found in a restaurant going over each days’ events, the yards visited and what had been learnt.
Two of the major ‘take aways’ that our group had were Cores and Warranties.
All of the businesses visited in the US were much more advanced in how they dealt with vehicle cores, especially adding core charges to the sale of used parts, and the up-sell of extended warranties. Neither of these are a strong focus for UK recyclers currently. We were also very impressed by the facilities available in the full service yards for packaging and despatching of the parts. This reflects the very high standards that all yards have for customer experience, making certain that the parts arrive on-time, with no additional damage, and in a manner that gives customers confidence to return to that recycler for future purchases. The US has a lot to teach the UK here.
We were also very aware that our yard management software is more advanced on the integration with E-Bay when selling parts, so I am sure that we can return a favour or two.
Another group member who brought two of his staff members with him said that “over the course of the trip we are re-defining how the business should be run and updating all the processes we currently follow,” and a third member said “my staff will be hiding when I get back to work on Monday because they know what I have learnt this week will mean changes.”
However, this was just the beginning as we reached Charlotte and joined up with the rest of the global auto recycling community gathered for the annual convention.
As a group we would like to thank our hosts at M&M Auto Parts, Chesterfield Auto Parts, Lacy Auto Parts and Wayne Auto Salvage for their hospitality, kindness and openness to share during our visit, and offer an invitation to them all to come and visit our businesses the next time they are in the UK, and I would like to finish with one final quote from another member of the group. “Visiting the yards along the way to Charlotte and the conference itself has given me a wealth of knowledge and ideas on how to take my business and yard forward, both in selling quality recycled parts and offering a better customer experience along with improving my workplace environmentally and for the good of my employees and customers.” I call that Job Done!