Have I Got a Deal for You!

This month's article is coming to you as a public service announcement from Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA). From its inception in 1943 as the National Auto and Truck Wreckers Association (NATWA) to its current "Automotive Recyclers Association," the evolution of the association has closely followed the evolution of our industry. As our business systems have grown from inventory by memory, "Sorry, I don't know if we have that, the boss is in the bathroom," to state of the art computer inventory and parts locating systems- "Yes, we can have that part shipped in for you from the dark side of the moon by tomorrow morning," so has our association grown from being staffed by volunteers that would have to chip in for coffee to highly skilled professionals that have to chip in for coffee (some things never change). So, what is this all leading to? I'm glad you asked.

ARA regional directors and the executive committee have recognized how difficult it can be to write a check for association dues when your insurance premium, business statements, payroll or the plethora of other bills are all due at the same time. Their solution is that great American standard, the installment plan. You are still in touch with the world of automotive recycling and all of the news and developments related to all of our sister industries. You have help and representation when you need it and a place to turn in troubled times. ARA is your international family.

This brings me to a very interesting email I received from Steve Johnson of Johnson Auto Recycling in Asheville, North Carolina. In February, FedEx Ground called Johnson Auto Recycling explaining that FedEx could no longer accept their air bags for shipping unless Johnsons contacted every auto manufacturer to get their exemption number for every air bag they were shipping. Steve and his staff could not imagine having to do this with each sale or even who to contact and how to reach them. Steve Johnson (being an intelligent and long time ARA member), called ARA headquarters— toll free— and explained their predicament. ARA told Steve that they had received a blanket exemption number for all ARA members. They also had ARA's Michael Wilson contact the safety manager at the Asheville terminal of FedEx. Within 45 minutes, Johnsons had received a call from the FedEx safety manager reporting that everything was fine and that they would be happy to ship their air bags at any time. What would they have done otherwise? What if there was no ARA to turn to? What if it was just us against big business, manufacturers, government, insurance and the rest of the world? Could we exist? Could our industry?

Now is the most important time for us all to work together and to strengthen our voice to the world. Renew your membership, become a member or look at new career fields. I am told Wal-Mart is looking for greeters.

Gary Wiesner is co-owner of Pro-Auto Recyclers, Williamstown, New Jersey

Visit their website at proautorecyclers.com

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