Consolidation has forced most recyclers to change the way they
sell, deliver, market and purchase salvage. The first article,
“Consolidation - How will we cope?” printed in the
September 2004 edition of American Recycler, focused on customer
service while this article will focus on consolidators in your
neighborhood. When we hear our competitor/neighbor sold to consolidators
we start wringing our hands, what are we going to do, how will
we stay in business, and how can we compete with the big boys,
with truck loads of money? Let’s face it; the consolidators
have forced our industry to do something we should have done years
ago, change, forcing us to move into the 21st century, improving
our systems, but mostly to become sharper operators. Worrying
about consolidators and not staying focused on your company will
cost you plenty, your business. Changing your image to compete
with consolidators could cost you your business, image is not
only your appearance, a company image is the combination of the
thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions and visions people have
about you, your products and services, or your company. Your premium
brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s
not going to get the business. Stay focused on your product, improve
customer service and concentrate on purchasing the correct vehicles
and your customers will continue to call. Do this not because
of the consolidators, but because it makes your business better.
Consolidators raise the bar for independents to compete, raising
their level of service, quality and reliability, consolidators
coming into this business have made the acceptance of salvage
parts by the customers a reality, forcing smaller facilities to
follow suit, washing parts before delivering, or having some type
of accreditation program (URG8000, Goldseal etc..).
Consolidators purchased recycling facilities coast to coast
giving them the availability of selling more parts and purchasing
more parts vehicles, we recyclers have the same opportunity with
URG, Car-Part, and Eden. We trade with independent recyclers without
the overhead of distribution trucks, employees, and expenses.
Join together with your competitor in your area. Sharing fees
for buyers, deliveries and employees, to lower your expenses,
or consider joining independent consolidation group in your region.
Independent recyclers can become stronger working together. For
certain consolidators forced independent recyclers to change for
the better, one thing consolidators can’t do is make changes
on demand while we independents have that ability, and we can
manage our business from our desk not having to hire managers
to manage managers to manage employees.
As we stated in the first article, being independent allows us
more flexibility to change our business and serve our customer.
Also, do you really think their size allows them an edge on buying
inventory, which is the single biggest component of our cost?
In closing, if we could have been around a decade ago, we have
lots of recycling friends that were around then), they would have
been wringing their hands about how tough things were. Their concern
was almost the same as today, but for different reasons. I was
around personally a decade ago, when salvage title laws were being
passed, and the cars at the pools, as well as pool fees, were
skyrocketing and all recyclers were concerned. I heard lots of
stories about how we wouldn’t survive, so on and so on.
I hear the concerns were here two decades ago as well. But guess
what, we are more profitable today than then, at least at my facility.
Sometimes it hard to see the solutions, we just want things to
be the way they used to be, and you don’t know what you
don’t know, so get help. Get your friends to tell you what
they did to lower cost. I know we have continued to lower our
cost year after year, using the same techniques we teach our consulting
clients every day.